What is a Virtual Book Tour?

The rise in self-published books has also given rise to the virtual book tour. Whether an author is working with a publicist, publisher, book promotion firm or independently, it behooves them to understand the nature of a virtual book tour as a useful part of book publicity.

If planned and promoted properly, virtual book tours can be a wonderful addition to a book promotion plan. Like the name implies, the virtual book event allows the author to promote their book and answer questions via an online presence from home or anywhere else they may be. Social media is the heart of what makes virtual book tours possible as Facebook and other platforms provide ways for authors to both promote and conduct the event.

Authors can set up an Ask Page that is connected to their Facebook Book Promotion page. This page can contain a video introduction that welcomes the potential readers and introduces them to the author and the work via excerpts or readings similar to the book promotion page. In the pre-event stage, this can be used to ask the potential reader questions that appeal to the target audience's interests and tie into the book. This can become the basis for the focus of the actual event.

Blogs are an ideal way to begin building a rapport with the target audience for the virtual book tour event. The author must do their homework and build an audience with their target group via guest posts on popular blogs as well as on their own blog. This builds credibility as subject matter expert and draws in the target audience based on their interests. They can then be invited to the event via Facebook or Twitter where they can interact with the author.

When a person signs up for a virtual book event, the author has the email address and can begin building a relationship. This benefits both the author and the reader by forming a personal connection.

Virtual book publicity events can be conducted via Skype as well to bring the element of real-time question and answer interaction into play. Creating podcasts that will allow the author to speak on the topic of interest to the target audience and answer their questions gathered from the event can also be valuable book publicity tools.

The virtual book publicity tour is an ongoing tool that allows the author to begin creating a database of potential buyers in their target market. Once the relationship is formed, it can be maintained with information updates on the author and any upcoming works. Authors can utilize the podcasts and interviews recorded via Skype for ongoing promotion to secure radio interviews by showing their command of a subject, abilities in a radio interview format and audience interest based on questions asked on the author’s Ask page.

Virtual book tours are worthwhile for any author whose target audience is online. They allow them to connect with readers personally and share book information that helps them decide to make a purchase. The key to moving an interested party to fan and on to purchase of the author’s work is to always include links and information back to the author page where the book can be purchased or outlets such as Amazon or other book sellers where the author is making the book available for sale.

Any author that is doing their homework on book publicity understands that virtual book tours are not enough to successfully promote a book. Virtual book tours and events are already dependent on social media outlets like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and others. It is important to maximize the use of social media and SEO before staging virtual book events. The same holds true for blogs, podcasts, press releases, and articles.

Conventional book promotion events such as book signings and readings at local book stores as well as regional and national book events are integral to a book publicity and marketing plan. Harnessing and pitching to traditional media such as local and regional print, radio and TV outlets remains the core component of a well-orchestrated book publicity campaign. Collectively, all of these components work together to help build the author’s brand, connect with target audiences and over time, convert members of the target audience into buyers.

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