And do I need one?
Authors once toured the country, promoting their book. Think of it as the regular book tour. However, instead of you traveling the globe to promote your book (while fun, it can get quite expensive), with a virtual blog tour, your book does the traveling for you. During a set period of time, a group of bloggers will feature you and your book on their blog—giving a review as well as posting other information about the blog tour (such as fun parties and or giveaways), contests, book trailers, author interviews or other features.
A virtual book tour has many benefits, the first being cost effectiveness. While traditional book tours were fun, it got quite expensive and took lots of valuable time. As mentioned before, traveling the globe can get rather expensive – food, lodging, and airfare all add up quickly, and that’s not to mention the time and money required to promote the tour stops to get people to book signings. Now that so many people shop online, turnouts at book signings are often disappointing. With the virtual book tour, expenses are limited to shipping costs and a few prizes as incentives to participate.
As for the time required, once you ship the book to the blogger, you can sit back in your fluffy slippers comfy and cozy in your own home (which also gives you some time to work on that next great novel).
Virtual book tours also happen to help with a little evil thing called SEO (search engine optimization). In a nut shell, this just means traffic—and traffic improves the visibility of your website or blog. (Hopefully you have one of those by now!)
For debut authors, virtual book tours are very effective in getting your name in front of potential readers. Book-review bloggers are always looking for new authors and books to promote, which in turn gains more readership and lots more friends for you. The World Wide Web is quite a large place. Having a blogger read and review your book online touches people who may never come across your book otherwise. With the busyness of life, fewer people have the opportunity to browse store shelves, and when they make it into a bookstore, they may not make it past the new release shelf to pick up the latest release by their favorite author. They normally might not have picked up your book (or is a crazed mom who is stuck at home and doesn’t have time to go to bookstores and browse the shelves for new writers).
In addition to their blogs, reviewers also promote the books they read through Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites. Reviewers also post on consumer sites such as Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other book sellers. This shows online shoppers people are reading and have enjoyed your book. For just the price of a book and the shipping, you can be promoted in a number of places. You are more likely to gain readers because bloggers have a loyal following of friends, and people trust the recommendations of their friends. Many of these new readers will turn into friends and loyal followers and in turn promote you. And if we’re honest, who doesn’t want more friends ?
Virtual blog tours are the marketing that keeps on giving. Blog posts stay up for quite a long time—which measn any new readers a blog gains, they can read the review about your book you wrote way back when and then hopefully check out your book, too! Also, the more times your name is mentioned, the higher in the search engine results it will appear (back to the SEO stuff).
What happens when you get a bad review? OK. So not everyone will like your book. It just can’t happen. When you get a bad review, look at it as constructive criticism. Learn from it—what was it that the reader didn’t like? You can change in your next novel (as long as it isn’t something like the reader hates blonde-haired women and your heroine has blonde hair—that’s just silly).
So there you have it: a few reasons you should probably do a virtual book tour! Good luck!