When you imagine book tours, you probably see yourself going from one country to another, doing a book reading in front of adoring fans and signing physical copies of your published book while readers beg for selfies. Now come out of your day dream because this is not always the case in reality. Well, if you are an established writer, this might be close to reality but for those of us first time writers, our tours can be sitting in an empty hall waiting for these endearing fans that probably don’t exist. Sometimes, we might not even enjoy the traveling and physical contacts with fans.

So, what is the alternative?

Virtual Book Tours might not be as fun, but it is more cost-effective and as effective. These tours happen online and across multiple platforms. Depending on an author’s tactic and objectives, a tour may be short or long. For example, a shorter tour of five to seven days aims to improve a book’s sales rank on Amazon within a short timeframe whereas a prolonged tour that lasts several weeks to a few months aims to build nonstop exposure, brand awareness, and name recognition.

These tour stops can take place on both your platforms (including websites, social media platforms, and email lists) and on the platforms of others. At each stop, original content significant to the book, genre, or topic is either published to your owned platform or provided to a participating host. If you’re being hosted by someone else, you can then promote the stop to your own audience, effectively maximizing your publicity.

For a virtual book tour, you do not need a large audience, you just need to learn to leverage your available resources for a boost in support during each event.

The following are different content formats for Virtual Tours:

  • Guest blog posts
  • Articles for your blog
  • Interviews
  • Emails
  • Radio and podcast appearances
  • Youtube videos
  • Book reviews
  • Book giveaways
  • Social media contests
  • Webinars
  • Book excerpts
  • Live chats in both video and text format (e.g. Facebook Live, Google Hangouts, Facebook Events, Twitter Chats, etc.)

So, what are the benefits of a Virtual Book Tour?

  1. You can reach a large audience without even leaving the comfort of your home. It should be noted that tour hosts already have established community of readers and unlike live appearances, this tour is not limited to your base alone. The content you provide to your hosts gives their audiences a chance to sample your work and share it with others, thereby amplifying your exposure.
  2. Don’t forget that this concentrated campaign can improve your sales as well.
  3. Efficient, less time consuming and tiring.
  4. It grows your fan base, improves blog visits and email subscribers due to exposure to readers who might not have known about your work.
  5. This gives you the opportunity to build valuable relationships with bloggers and online hosts. With their seal of approval, your popularity will soar.
  6. Through QandA and social media chats, you get to interact with more potential readers of your work.
  7. Virtual tours create high-quality links to your book sales pages, websites, and social media profiles. These links are valuable for search engine optimization purposes, which means you’ll be able to drive targeted traffic to your web properties for months (or even years) after your book’s launch.

Samuel Ejedegba

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