Virtual Book Tours as a Promotional Tool – Karen Harrington

Virtual book tours are the latest wave of promotional tools for book authors. If you’re a published author and have any doubts about promoting your book by way of a virtual book tour, then this post is for you. Today at Paperback Writer we have a returning author Karen Harrington who talks about her virtual book tour with Pump Up Your Book Promotion. Karen’s novel, Janeology is in the genre suspenseful, mainstream, women’s fiction. 

 

 

Janeology summary:

Tom Nelson is struggling after the death of his son at the hands of his wife Jane. While Jane sits in a Texas mental hospital for her part in the crime, prosecutors turn their focus to Tom. They believe Tom should have known Jane was on the cusp of a breakdown and protected his children from her illness. As a result, he is charged with “failure to protect.” Enter attorney, Dave Frontella, who employs a radical defense strategy – one that lays the blame at the feet of Jane’s nature and nurture. To gather evidence about Jane’s forbears, Frontella hires a woman with the power of retrocognition – the ability to use a person’s belongings to re-create their past. An unforgettable journey through the troubled minds and souls of Jane’s ancestors, spanning decades and continents, this debut novel deftly illustrates the ways nature and nurture weave the fabric of one woman’s life, and renders a portrait of one man left in its tragic wake.

 

 

 

Having a virtual blog-tour de force

 

There’s a big secret in the publishing industry that no one tells you. You have to find it out on your own. Say, you’ve sent out your query letters for months, years maybe. And then you get a “Yes.” Then you work, work, work to get a publisher. You finally get that coveted “Yes” too.

 

Now, you imagine, my writer’s life will be a breeze. I’ll sit back, start work on a new book. Maybe two. When my book comes out, I’ll sit back and enjoy the crowning moment.

 

Uh uh. Not so fast.

 

I wish this were the case. I wish that good books magically appeared in front of magical readers. But with thousands of books coming out each month (insert stats) it’s incumbent upon the writer to work almost as hard at promotion as she did on refining her novel.

 

Fear not, aspiring writer! For there is hope. Great hope, in fact. There’s a big, brave BLOG world out there…and very smart people who will assist you with a BLOG tour. That’s right. You can tour….virtually. And in this writer’s opinion, it’s the best bang for your marketing buck that you will ever spend. (Right behind getting bookmarks printed. That’s a must.)

 

My debut novel, Janeology [link: www.karenharringtonbooks.com]

 came out on April. I put together my own blog tour for that first month and made great strides, but my reach wasn’t as complete as I needed. Chiefly, I needed reviews. Lots of them. And I needed them within the first two months of my debut. I’m a stay-at-home mom to two toddlers. And although I have had many successful booksigning events across Texas since April, I didn’t have the time (or gas money) to travel all over the country. So I decided a blog tour was the best possible solution for me. I had my tour in May with PumpUpYourBook Promotions. {link to: http://www.pumpupyourbookpromotion.com/virtualbooktours.html

 

I chose the Silver package at a cost of $200. Not included in this price are the copies of your book that you will be responsible for submitting to reviewers. So you can expect to add another $100 to the cost of the tour. This is a bargain when you think of the air or car travel plus expenses you might incur to visit bookstores nationwide.

 

8 things I learned or achieved from my tour:

 

  1. A 30-day, 21 stop blog tour, completely designed and scheduled for me. For current examples, visit this link. {link to: http://virtualbooktours.wordpress.com/
  2. The blog tour company sent me several Q&A forms for various bloggers. This was great preparation. Thinking through all of the questions and writing my answers continues to assist me today when I have other interviews or appearances.
  3. Janeology appeared on highly-ranked review blog sites like BookBitch and BlogCritics to other popular reader sites such as Bloggin’ Bout Books and Paperback Writer. A strong tour should have a combination of both.
  4. The majority of those bloggers also posted their reviews on Amazon, Shelfari and LibraryThing – major tools for creating word-of-mouth buzz
  5. Ability to network and cross-promote with other writers on tour.
  6. The greater number of blog posts equals a greater presence on Google. In other words, if someone were to search your name and title, you want a lot of websites and links to appear. With a blog tour, you get this done FAST.
  7. As a result of the blog tour, additional bloggers contacted me after the tour was finished, wanting to interview me and/or have a guest blog on their sites. This continues to this day.
  8. The blog tour was noticed and appreciated by my publisher. {link to www.kunati.com )

 

What you should be prepared to do:

 

  1. Answer questions provided by blog tour hosts, sometimes with a 24-hour turnaround.
  2. Evaluate each of the blog stops suggested or provided to you by the tour company. You want them to have a decent Google Ranking and/or reader base.
  3. Make suggestions about blog sites appropriate for your book. For example, my book has a strong ancestry theme so I suggested several genealogy sites I regularly frequent. As a result, one of my stops was at The Genealogue.
  4. Send your books to reviewers at your own expense. This is a great investment in yourself!
  5. Follow the blog stops each day, making comments at each stop
  6. Follow the blog stops of your fellow tour members and make comments on those stops as well.
  7. Follow up with tour hosts after your tour, thanking them and letting them know you are available for future guest posts. (How do you think I appeared here before you today?)

 

 

 

I think I had a very successful tour. I can’t tell you how much the tour meant in terms of actual sales. But I can tell you I think the exposure was invaluable. I’ve seen my book jump up onto dozens of TBR lists on both GoodReads and Shelfari in recent months. I continue to be asked for review copies from readers who read a post I did 2 months ago. In sum, I would do it all again. In fact, when the paperback version comes out…I’ll be hittin’ the blog tour trail once again.

 

See you on the bookshelves!

 

 

Karen Harrington is the author of the psychological thriller, Janeology. To read an excerpt or view the book trailer for Janeology visit www.karenharringtonbooks.com Or visit her daily blog www.scobberlotch.blogspot.com

 

 

 

 

 

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