Last week, I visited the Winter Park FWA group to learn more about virtual book tours. Since I’ve met few people who have had any notable success with what they called virtual blog tours, I thought it best to get my questions answered from an expert.
Tawdra Kandle is a warm, witty woman with purple hair and a full life! A full partner in the business PromotionalBookTours, she gave attendees a good deal of information – more than I’ll go into here.
She opened with a detailed view of branding and how it impacts the various types of Social Media available to writers. Among the social media types mentioned were: websites, blogs, LinkedIn, Google +, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, and a smattering of other names I didn’t catch. (I was already bordering on overwhelm.) The fellow who took the long ride with me leaned over about an hour in, and whispered, “When do we take the Tour?”
But Tawdra had a reason for the whirlwind introduction to branding (her purple hair, for example) and to social media. Because, when your blog tour is done and has created interest in your book – use of Social Media will help you to maintain contact and build relationship with those new fans. Branding yourself (not your book) will allow identification even if you change genres or categories so the work isn’t for nothing if you change directions. She also taught us some interesting facts about Amazon’s algorithms and how we can impact them. If you’d like more of that information, just email me at nancy@OnTargetWords.com.
So, what is a blog tour – at least to Tawdra’s company? Bloggers get the word out about your book – and you don’t even have to leave home to participate! Her company offers a variety of focal points:
• Basic blog tour
• Cover reveal
• Release-day blasts
• Review Only tours (Amazon, Kobo, Goodreads, others)
While the focus may vary, the strategy is the same for all. PBT has established, over time and experience, a large network of highly successful bloggers who:
a) love books
b) love blogging
c) enjoy getting new content for their blogs
For the use of demonstration, let’s say that I’ve been accepted by PBT to do a 10-stop book tour. They feel my book is ready to go into the world. I’ve paid them their fee for the Basic Blog Tour. I’ve sent them a cover JPG, my book in PDF, MOBI and ePub formats if possible. I’ve identified my target audience and demographic. (ALL of this is done electronically.)
They have analyzed my target market demographics and match my book with their bloggers. They feel they have enough variety of established bloggers with a hefty reader base to have the blogs make a difference. Their reach is around the world. So, over the course of time, specified to me by them, my book is blogged on 10 different blogs. Bloggers might do an interview, or a book announcement, a review or a cover reveal – but everyone on their blog will SEE MY BOOK! Their bloggers have steady followings of thousands of readers. These are not inflated numbers-only followers – these are established followers.
Now, my job is to check into those blogs shortly after my blog airs and to answer questions or respond to readers about my book. Why would I do that? Because I’m not selling my book –I am building a relationship with a potential fan! Fans want to know who we are – where our ideas come from – will there be another book soon?
And life isn’t all about me and my book – it’s recommended that I read their blogs and support them if at all possible. Promote them right back!
The program went on for almost two hours, so there was a lot to it. And, I’ve been around this business for more than 22 years and this lady seems to know her stuff. While I’m not convinced that a dedicated hour or two a day won’t suffice for a productive marketing program, Tawdra feels that spending 20-25 hours a week is not usual. Does she blog?
“I did before I got published. Now I don’t have time, so I do the blog tours and then keep my fans up to date using my other social media. I’m always talking about the next book that I’m writing– the back list will sell itself once I’ve established a fan.”
So, if the idea of getting your book out to a 10-50 stop blog tour appeals to you, you are going to want to check out using a reputable virtual book tour company. Sounds cost and energy effective as long as the company has solid, dependable, targeted bloggers working with them. Like all business decisions, do your homework. Speak with authors who have worked with that company – were they happy? Would they do it again?
Just make sure you are ready, first. Is your book edited and polished until it shines? Do you have a good professional author photo or headshot? Do you have a good quality cover image? Are you willing and able to do the follow-up?
If so – then check out PromotionalBookTours and compare them against some of the others. There’s a lot to learn about promotion and marketing our books in this vast sea of published books and I think these people are the ones to help us navigate those waters.
Keep reading and writing! Nancy Q.