I think that marketing and promotion—of either existing or future books—is a concern for most authors. How do we maximize exposure? What can we do to make sure people know about our books? Book tours have become quite effective at getting the word out about a new release, but with so many tours vying for our attention, how do we make ours pop? Jo Linsdell has some great tips on what you can do before a book tour even starts to maximize its chances of success.
Whether you want to launch your new release with a bang or put some life into an older publication, virtual book tours can be an effective marketing strategy. They can be done from the comfort of your own home and at little or no cost. The benefits of doing a virtual book tour are numerous. They do however need to be done correctly in order to see good results.
For your tour to be successful it’s important that you work with your hosts to promote each of your tour stops in order to reach as many people as possible. As with any other kind of marketing campaign, you need to put together a plan and create a schedule for each activity.
Here are some of the ways you can promote your virtual book tour and maximize your chances of success:
- Do social media posts, blog posts, newsletter articles, etc… prior to the tour. Let your fans know that you have a tour coming up and the sort of thing they can expect. Get them excited about what’s to come.
- Write up a press release about your tour and submit it to press distribution sites.
- Post invitations to follow the tour in relevant groups that you’re a member of.
- Make an event page for your tour on Facebook and invite people to join. Here you’ll post the links to each of your tour stops. Posting some exclusive extra content for those who follow the tour can be a good way to get people involved.
- Make an event page for your tour on Google+ and invite people to join. Giving people a variety of options for how to follow you tour can mean you reach a wider audience.
- Create a board on Pinterest to pin all your tour stops. This is a nice alternative way for people to follow your tour and gives them another way to share your posts.
- Create a tour banner and post it everywhere with a link back to your book’s landing page. This doesn’t have to be anything fancy. A simple tour banner with your cover art, author pic, the dates of the tour and your website url is enough.
- Create a hashtag (# symbol followed by your keyword) for your tour and announce your upcoming tour letting people know they will be able to follow it using that hashtag (you’ll use the hashtag during your tour on posts too).
- Create banners for your social media profiles that promote the tour. Make both page banners for the top of your profiles and smaller banners to use in status updates.
- Record and share some videos letting viewers know about your upcoming tour and why they should be part of it. Post it to YouTube so it can easily be shared and embedded.
- Post behind-the-scenes content of you preparing for the tour. Photos of you working on guest posts or interviews, how-to videos showing what you’re doing to prepare for your virtual book tour, or status updates letting your readers know what you’re doing (with a picture of the book’s cover art attached).
- Create a media kit for your tour and make it available for download on the media/press page of your website. Include as much information as possible. A few things you might want to consider adding are: your book cover pic, book title, author name, book details (publisher, ISBN/ASIN, etc….), purchasing links, links to the books page on review sites (e.g. Goodreads, Shelfari, LibraryThing, etc…), your book blurb or synopsis, an author photo, your author bio, links to event pages you’ve created for the tour, your social media links, a selection of the best reviews your book has received, a sample interview, an excerpt from the book, and some click-to tweets and easy copy-and-paste status updates for other social media sites to make sharing about your book and tour simple. You should also include your full tour schedule.
These are just a few ideas to get you started but, as you can see from this list, the goal is to let as many people as possible know about your tour. By reaching out in different ways and giving them a variety of options for how to follow your tour, you increase your chances of them getting involved.
If you have some ideas of your own ways to promote a virtual book tour I’d love to hear from you so please leave a comment below so we can discuss them further.
Jo Linsdell is a best selling author and illustrator, award winning blogger, and freelance writer. She is also the founder and organiser of the annual online event Promo Day (www.PromoDay.info). Her latest release, Virtual Book Tours: Effective Online Book Promotion From the Comfort of Your Own Home, is now available from Amazon. Find out more about her at her website.
Angela is a writing coach, international speaker, and bestselling author who loves to travel, teach, empower writers, and pay-it-forward. She also is a founder of One Stop For Writers, a portal to powerful, innovative tools to help writers elevate their storytelling.
John Yeoman says
But does a book tour – ever – sell any books? 🙂
ANGELA ACKERMAN says
I think it all depends on the book tour and whether the author has worked at creating a decent platform to launch from. If a person does a good job of being creative and standing out, then yes, they can sell a lot of books!
Click here says
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keep us informed like this. Thanks for sharing.
dd Lucas says
I hope I win.
Jo Linsdell says
Thanks Tracy. Hope you like it. I love reading feedback on my books and so would love you to post a review once you’re done reading it 🙂
Angela Ackerman says
That’s great Tracy–I know it’ll be helpful!
Tracy Campbell says
Just purchased Jo’s e-book based on the info provided in this excellent post. 🙂
Becca Puglisi says
Marking and Promotion is nerve-wracking for so many of us. I LOVE these ideas. Thank you so much for posting, Jo!
Jo Linsdell says
Thank you all for your wonderful comments. Glad you like the post 🙂
Wow. This is chock full of lots of great advice. Thanks for the post.
Susanne Drazic says
LOTS of great tips! Definitely bookmarking this post.
Martha Ramirez says
What a nice surprise to see Jo here! Great tips, Jo!
Kelly Polark says
Very timely advice!Thanks for the great advice!!!!
Angela Ackerman says
Really great advice, Jo. Some of these things I’ve done, others I haven’t! You rock 🙂
Bish Denham says
Wow! Lots of good stuff!
Melissa Sugar says
Excellent tips. My fingers remained crossed that I will one day have the opportunity to utilize all of these wonderful ideas for book launches and promotions. I have to get there first.
Thanks for the advice.
Jo Linsdell says
Thank you all for your comments and to my wonderful host for having me here today.
Johanna, I battled for ages to stop myself from opening an account on Pinterest. I’m a complete social media junky and whilst every site has its benefits it can be all to easy to spread ourselves too thin by taking on more than we have time for. I loved the idea though and slowly began using it as a source for blog content (it’s a great place to find infographics and other inspiration for blog posts). I only have a few boards at the moment but since I started using it I’ve seen an increase in traffic to my pinned blog posts. The board I set up for this tour has been getting some repins too which helps spread the word. It only takes a minute to pin a post so it’s worth it.
Southpaw, People like to have a choice. Giving them various options for how to follow your tour means they can pick the one they prefer and are therefore more likely to engage.
Angela Brown, I love Goodreads. There’s loads of opportunities to be found in the groups section there. I actually got emailed by a few people to host me on this tour after I posted in a Goodreads group. It also has the advantage that the members are all book lovers. The event pages and giveaways can be quite effective and if nothing else often result in people adding your book to their “to read” list (which in turns give you some more free exposure).
Thanks for taking the time to comment Stina and Jenn. All the best with your launches.
Natalie, giveaways can be a great way to encourage people to get involved. Whether you set one up via Goodreads or BookBuzzr, etc… or do your own rafflecopter giveaway, they can help motivate people to take action. Although often the prize is a copy of the book, it doesn’t have to be. I’ve seen some great giveaways where the prizes were related to the book in some way. They can be a nice way to play on the interests of your target reader and get them excited about your book. If the prize is a copy of your book, often the winner will post a review.
Johanna Garth says
Great thoughts. I’m curious if you’ve had a lot of success using Pinterest? I’ve sort of neglected that account.
I hadn’t thought about creating different ways to follow a book tour. Great tips.
Angela Brown says
I really enjoyed the tips. I’ve used Goodreads to set up an event here or there but I see I can really use it for so much more.
Scribbles From Jenn says
Wonderful tips! I, like Stina, find them very timely since I’m about to begin the query process. Thank you!
Stina Lindenblatt says
Great post and perfect timing too. I’d never thought of doing that with Pinterest.
Natalie Aguirre says
Great tips on creating excitement for your blog tour. Giveaways during the tour are also a way to get people to shout out about it and to create excitement for your book.