Monday, November 1, 2010

Making the Virtual Tour Viral

Book tours aren't the only thing that can be made virtual.

So you've just begun your virtual tour. Over the next few weeks, your solid gold opus will be promoted to the entire world via guest blogs, reviews, interviews, blog-talk radio, giveaways, contests, a cool book trailer and more. Holy crap, who needs to take timeout for book signings anymore to an empty store full of nobody's who aren't about to line up not to buy your book. Time to sit back while the tour stops take place on the WWW, and watch that Amazon ranking shrink to JA Konrath, Lee Child or even Aaron Patterson proportions. You know, we're talking the coveted No. 1 in hard-boiled thrillers.

Not so fast.

Just because you've hired a virtual tour promoter for a month long promotion doesn't necessarily guarantee sales. In word, you have to work it. I can't tell you the authors who have paid for virtual tours only to be left disappointed in the end. Their sales hardly budged. Whenever that happens, I always ask said sad-faced authors if they worked the tour. Almost inevitably there'll be a pause over the cell phone connection, followed by a "What say?" Then I'll go into telling them that the virtual tour isn't an end in itself. It's a means to an end. Here's how to get there somewhat effectively:

1. Promote the fact that a tour is taking place. Twitter and Facebook the list of tour dates at least once a week. Maybe a week prior to the first tour stop, twitter it once a day.

2. When the tour begins, make sure to proudly announce it on all your social networks. Later on in the day, make your first tour stop viral by sharing it all over the web. Especially Twitter. Things get buried in Twitter so re-tweet it throughout the day.

3. Make news of each and every tour stop on your website's "News" page. Preferably on the home/index page.

4. Whenever applicable or possible, comment on your own tour stop. You can add something that isn't covered in the post or you can make corrections to any inaccuracies which are going to arise from time to time. You can also lead potential readers to a site where they can buy the book if it already isn't listed. Most a of all, let tour stop participants know that you're there to answer any questions they might have for you regarding the process of writing and/or selling books. They'll remember you for it, and they'll thank you by purchasing your books.

5. Blog about the tour stops. You don't want to write about every tour stop, but pick and choose a few that you can expand upon in your own personal blog.

6. When the tour is over, immediately rerun the highlights, over the next few weeks. That means, re-running one tour stop per day for a period of a few weeks. This will expose newbies to blogs, reviews, guest posts, etc. that they previously missed.

Ok, there's just a few things you can do to get the most bang out of your virtual tour buck, and in the meantime, give Patterson and Konrath something to worry about while your book chase theirs on the bestseller lists.

To order the bestselling thriller, The Remains, clicky here.

To order the bestselling noir thriller The Innocent, stab here.

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