Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Virtual Book Tour Primer

I'm pleased to announce that I've written my first issue of Faith-Filled Fiction, a newsletter about understanding and writing religions in our stories. If you'd like to subscribe please contact me and put "FFF--Yes" in the subject line.

We've learned a lot about what a virtual tour is, what it can do for you, and how to set one up. Today, I want to talk about why you should bother.

* Getting the word out. Virtual book tours probably will not get you a lot of sales, but they are effective at generating a buzz about your book. By getting onto blogs read by your target audience, you are using your time more effectively than if you just send out random press releases. In addition, the more your book is mentioned, the more likely it will show up on search engines, increasing the chances that someone looking for something related to your book will have your title or website appear on their screen.
--And, of course, it's immensely better than doing nothing at all.

* Learning to approach people for interviews. For many of us, it's easier to e-mail someone who writes a blog for fun than, say, approach a television studio that needs to turn a profit. Nonetheless, you need to be able to present yourself to either with confidence and convince them that interviewing you is worth it to their readers.

* Giving a good interview. One thing books on marketing your novel recommend is to make up interview questions and answers before doing any live interviews. With a virtual book tour, you'll have others giving you the questions. Even better, because you're doing everything via the Internet, a virtual book tour interview gives you a great opportunity to think about your answers, research them, ask others, and really put your best foot forward. You can then use that information when you do a live tour.

I've been amazed on my own book tour how much I learned about myself, my book, and the genre. Bloggers, even those with small audiences, nonetheless took the time and effort to ask me some very thoughtful questions. I found myself having to research for facts to support my answers and even going to my writer friends for opinions on how they'd respond. As a result, I'm going to be much more confident when I do live interviews. (I have one tentatively scheduled this summer on FastForward.)

* Gathering information to use elsewhere. Another way to promote your book is to write articles about the topics it covers. Your interviews not only give you information, but also let you know the kind of things people are interested in. You can then use that to write articles to submit elsewhere. I have an article due on Catholic Science Fiction for Hereditas this month, and I'll be pulling liberally from my many interviews.

* Having fun! What can be more rewarding to a just-published writer than to talk about his or her new book? Virtual book tours let you do that on your own time, in your own home, with the chance to go back, reword, rethink and put your best foot forward. They're a good confidence builder.

That's it for the Virtual Book Tour Primer. I may post articles from time to time, and of course, I'll answer questions. (Is anyone out there reading this?!? Ask me your questions!) In October, I'll be hosting a Virtual book Tour Workshop at the FREE MuseOnline Writers' Conference.

If this primer helped you, please leave me a comment! In the meantime, thanks for dropping in and let me know how your virtual book tour goes!

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