Today’s guest blogger, who is sharing his experience with a virtual book tour, is Denis Ledoux. He’s the author of Should I Write My Memoir? How to Start, which is the first book in the seven-part Memoir Network Writing Series. Learn more at his website. (If you’re not familiar with virtual book tours, download this free report, Virtual Book Tour Basics.)
Virtual book tour tips
By Denis Ledoux
As I explored options for marketing my new Memoir Network Writing Series of six books, I kept hearing about virtual book tours.
I was intrigued, but I was also intimidated. Could I pull it off?
When I viewed the concept less in terms of a traditional “real world” tour and more as what it is – a series of blog postings – I thought, “I’ve done a lot of blog posting. I can do this.” The problem of handling a big tour came under control.
Selecting the tour length
Some sites suggested several stops a day over just a few weeks; others, one or two stops per week over many more weeks.
I knew I could wrap my attention much more easily over a number of months rather than a few weeks. Plus, I still had my company to run and several books to promote, so a longer tour made sense.
In fact, the tour could not end before the last of my books was produced and available for purchase. Publication stretched from November (at this point, one e-book was already published) until the end of June. I decided to start on February 9 and end on June 30, 2015.
So now I had a loose working plan, but…
Would anyone want to host me?
The nitty-gritty of list building
To get myself beyond my very real fear of “what if I threw a party and no one came,” I did the following:
- I made a list of every blogger I might have some “claim” on. I began with guest writers on my Memoir Writer’s Blog and others with whom I had had contact over the last years. Then I added a few names of people I might never have connected to except as a commenter on their blog. I ended up with more than 40 names – that was promising.
- I wrote a template letter announcing my blog tour. I would personalize the template for each recipient. If individuals were interested, could they send me posting dates between February 9 and June 30 that would work for them.
- I prepared an Excel spreadsheet to record data: name of person and blog, date contacted, the response date and content, notes [“get back in touch in two months].
- I collated end matter—bio, photo, links, illustrations—into a document.
- I set up a webpage as a promo for site visitors. The page also contained a tour itinerary. The upcoming sites were listed and as soon as posts were up, links became live. The itinerary would extend the life of the tour and serve as a credential for prospective hosts.
The tour begins
After sending my letters, I soon had three or four people who wanted blog posts within the same 10-day period. To get more posts scheduled over the next several months, I began telling people I was looking for a stop in a specific month. It worked.
I inserted confirmations into a three-ring binder with monthly tabs. The binder did wonders to create a sense of control.
Still, I needed more tour stops. To get them, I contacted blogs I had skipped over and did more research to uncover others that were appropriate. I also networked with LinkedIn contacts to find hosts.
What I’ve learned so far
- Think of a series of posts rather than a “tour.” It’s less intimidating.
- Leave your comfort zone when asking for postings. Bloggers are approachable.
- Since I am often excerpting from my books, I am not likely to run out of text.
- Do organization work early on before things get out of hand.
- Accept that this is a work in progress that will be tweaked often.
- Go beyond your usual audience. For example, this buildbookbuzz.com post about virtual touring (not memoir writing) reaches beyond my regular audience to writers who might benefit from the series.
It has not, but organizing a tour requires attention and some nose-to-the-grindstone work.
Has the tour produced the results I am hoping for?
I don’t know yet, but I believe it will.
What’s your best virtual book tour tip? Please share it in a comment.