Most authors know about virtual book tours. They are the online version of the book tour, where a person goes from place to place, generating interest and sales of their book.
With a virtual book tour, all an author has to do is find and work with a blog tour host or company. The authors give a copy of their book, hand over a few bucks, and fill out a form. The blog tour host or company handles the rest: placing the call for book readers, matching interested readers, scheduling dates, setting up advertisements (optional), and following up with readers.
Most authors, however, haven’t considered the other benefits of virtual book tours beside getting a review. That’s what this article examines below:
1. Get more SEO When readers finish a book on a blog tour, they are asked to leave a review on their blog or Amazon. The posted reviews complete the reader’s part of the deal, but it also does something else. It builds the author’s online presence. That online presence can be sprinkled like marketing breadcrumbs on your website, on Amazon, and other places to attract future readers.
2. Get closer to your targeted readers One of the biggest problems authors have is finding the right readers (aka target reader). Marketing and advertising tools make it easier than ever to reach every potential reader. The problem is reaching potential reader is ineffective for your marketing and your budget. Virtual book tours bypass this problem because they are self-selected communities of readers, making it easier for authors to reach specific groups of active and engaged readers.
3. Get connected to the friends of your targeted readers Another benefit of using virtual book tours is free word-of-mouth marketing. When an author introduces a good book to a reader, they tell everyone who will listen. That includes friends, their social media audience, and coworkers. This spreads an author’s marketing influence a lot faster than traditional advertising methods.
4. Get more exposure on social media Virtual book tours use social media to promote their reviews and encourage their readers to do this as well. This multiplies your social media reach and exposure. Many book tour companies or hosts also offer social media marketing packages (social media posts, blasts, and contests) as well.
5. Get a unique perspective from readers before you officially launch Advance or beta readers are an important source of feedback for authors. These readers preview your book before publication or before it is launched to the public. Many book tour participants read a lot of books in a particular genre. These readers can offer a perspective that is more detailed than other readers. Leverage that perspective!
6. Save money and reach more people Both on-site book tours (at Barnes & Nobles, for example) and virtual tours bring in people. Virtual book tours, however, are a cheaper option that can potentially reach the 3+ billion people connected to the Internet. Compare this to a book tour, which might reach a hundred or so (unless you’re a J.K. Rowling or Stephen King) at the most.
7. Increase your sales (potentially) Virtual book tours are designed to get reviews but they can also boost your sales. Authors with social-media savvy can generate a lot of attention leading up to a virtual book tour. That attention can be leveraged to make sales using pre-sale deals, exclusive offers, and coupons.
(Note: If you choose to skip paying the blog tour host or company, you can go the DIY “create my own virtual book tour” route. You will need strong relationships with potential readers to have a good turnout.)