Guest Expert: Phyllis Zimbler Miller
Thanks to the Internet a book author no longer has to travel from one city to the next cramming in as many book signings and media interviews as possible in the shortest amount of time.
Virtual books tours, Internet radio shows, and teleseminars have taken the place of the physical book tour as well as expanded the global reach of book authors.
Here’s how a virtual book tour works:
Either on your own or by utilizing a virtual book tour company (I used www.pumpupyourbookpromotion.com) you can tour book blogs, subject-specific blogs, Internet radio shows such as on www.blogtalkradio.com, and author teleseminars.
A book author visits a blog on a specific date of the virtual book tour. Sometimes the author answers a set of interview questions beforehand, and those questions and answers take the place of a guest blog post. Sometimes the author writes a guest blog post ahead of time, and the guest post is run on the specified day.
Yes, writing all the guest posts and interviews for a concentrated virtual book tour can be time-consuming. But it is a lot less time-consuming than dragging a suitcase from city to city. And you are a writer, so writing the guest posts should not be that difficult.
When you write a guest post, blog readers leave comments and the book author responds. If the blog owner wants to encourage comments, a copy of the author’s book, for example, can be promised to a winner chosen randomly from the people leaving comments on the guest post. (See random.org )
What about actually signing the books that might be bought by fans? That’s up to you. One idea is to mail signed bookmarks to anyone who emails you with such a request.
The virtual tour schedule can be carried on the book author’s website as well as posted on various social media sites. Plus the book author can tweet about that day’s visit as well as update the book’s Facebook page.
Many Internet radio shows feature book authors. If you are the guest on such a show, you call in at a specific time from wherever you are and have a conversation with the show host.
You can promote these “appearances” by making short videos and uploading them to a YouTube channel you create. In these videos you can talk about the show you will be interviewed on and what topics you’ll be discussing.
In fact, you can start your own www.blogtalkradio.com show (it’s free) and interview other authors or other experts each week. This is one way to expand your own fan base.
You can also get a paid monthly service such as www.instanteleseminar.com and use it to “speak” to book clubs. The book club members call in on a special number or listen on the web as you talk about your book. Then they can ask questions by phone or web chat.
If your book is a technical one that would benefit from visual aides as you speak, you can get the paid monthly service www.gotomeeting.com that allows you to transmit what is on your computer screen. Again, people can ask questions by phone or web chat.
Thanks to the Internet you can reach out to potential book fans in so many ways. You can even run a contest through your website or Twitter or Facebook to encourage people to buy your book.
If you want a complete how-to for running contests on Twitter, consider book author Tony Eldridge’s “Conducting Effective Twitter Contests” – see http://www.millermosaicllc.com/contests-on-twitter/
And, remember, even if your only language is English, the Internet enables you to reach out to potential fans throughout the world who speak English. You are no longer limited by the stops on a physical book tour.
So what are you waiting for? Even if your book came out months or years ago, you can do a virtual book tour now. There are always book readers eager to learn about books they haven’t read before.
Phyllis Zimbler Miller is the author of the novel www.MrsLieutenant.com and has an M.B.A. from The Wharton School and is a co-founder of the social media marketing company www.MillerMosaicPowerMarketing.com You can download her FREE report “Twitter, Facebook and Your Website: A Beginning Blueprint for Harnessing the Power of 3” at www.millermosaicpowerof3.com