The REAL Story Behind Virtual Book Tours
As CEO and founder of Pump Up Your Book Promotion Virtual Book Tours, I know how much work goes into setting up a tour and monitoring it the entire month one of my clients are on one. It’s so much work that I’m sure you – the innocent reader or even the seasoned pro – have no idea just how much work it involves putting a virtual book tour together for many authors at one time. Even if you have set one up for yourself, multiply that by about seven more and you’ll see just how much work it really is.
As tour coordinator, I spend 81 hours a week on these tours. I am fielding incoming inquiries and sending out applications on top of answering whatever questions they may have. I’m taking each client and evaluating which blogs they should appear on and querying the blog hosts and setting up dates for them. I’m keeping a spreadsheet on each one and keeping their tour schedule updated as well as keeping everyone on a calendar so that I can see at an easy glance just who is going where on what day.
Not to mention helping my clients set up blogs, learn about tags and how to promote their blogs as well as updating my own blogs where they have their own tour pages and doing weekly updates so that they can see at a glance where they are going to be that upcoming week.
But, even though I am the one to lay out the groundwork, the work is still not done. For every stop, the authors must either answer interviews kayaking big island of hawaii or write guest posts for these approximately twenty blog stops. Then, they must advertise their stops and keep their blogs updated as their tour goes along. It’s not as easy as it appears as you’ll find out.
I asked my present and past clients if they realized it would be so much work even when someone else sets their tour up for them. Their answers will surprise you, and hopefully, help you to understand the real world of virtual book touring so that you’ll go into it with your eyes open.
“To be honest, the answer to the question is no,” says Elena Bowman, who toured in July ’07 for her book GATEKEEPER’S REALM. “I didn’t think it would entail that much work. Frankly, I didn’t know what ot expect myself, Pump Up Your Books, or of the tour. I wasn’t even sure when I received all those questions if I could answer them sufficiently and when I did, were they interesting enough? I don’t know why I thought the questions would be the same for each and every blog, but I found out quick enough that it wasn’t. I also didn’t realize that because of the tour, I would be setting up my own blog. My only problem is what to put up on it. But I am learning and I must admit it is kind of a fun thing to do.”
Vicky M. Taylor was one of the authors in the second month of Pump Up Your Book Promotion Virtual Book Tours. I was still green, learning the ropes myself, and we ran into a problem or two, but none that couldn’t be corrected. When I asked her if they were what she expected, she said, “Dorothy, when I first considered a virtual book tour, I thought it would be each blog host putting together a page of my information or interview questions/answers and I’d “show up” to each page on the right day. It is that. And a whole lot more. Keeping the schedule up to date is a big issue, as well as keeping everyone’s interview questions separated and answered appropriately and on time. I know that for everything I did on my end, you did double or triple the work. And, I only had my schedule to worry about. You had many more to handle. The hard work continued with making sure I blasted my blog schedule all over the Internet every day to let everyone know where I would be so that they could join in the discussion if they wanted. It was difficult to keep thinking of new ways to promote so I didn’t get tired of it and everyone else didn’t get tired of it either. And, finally, adding information to my blog about each stop on the tour every day. Luckily, I had tried to clear my schedule as much as possible before my VBT. I recommend that to anyone who is considering one. You’ll be busy. Clear your schedule. You’ll be happy you did. Would I do it again? Sure, I would.”
Kim Baccellia, author of the book, EARRINGS OF IXTUMEA, was on tour in August 2007. She says, “No, I didn’t. I don’t think people realize how much work it is to promote your book. Jeez, writing the book is the easy part!!! I really thank Dorothy for putting my tour together. I’ve had a few writers ask me if I did this. My writing mentor was very impressed. But I told them I wouldn’t have even known where to start. Sure you can ask a few friends to host you, but how to get the schedule together without going crazy? There’s no way I could have done the tour by myself.”
Marilyn Celeste Morris, author of ONCE A BRAT and THE WOMEN OF CAMP SOBINGO was our very first client. I like to joke and call her my guinea pig, but what she did for us at Pump Up was give us that confidence we needed to make a go of something we only had a vague idea of what we were getting into. Handling one client was a breeze; in another two months, I quadrupled the amount of authors requesting tours. I asked Marilyn what she thought of those first days at Pump Up. “Yes, it was a lot of work, but worth it. I think maybe getting more organized on my part would help it not be so hectic. I made folders (real folders, not virtual) and printed off my answers to the questions the blog hosts asked me. Then I put the date on it in pen/pencil when the post is going to appear and the date it was sent. I know it’s a lot of papers, but sometimes having a hard copy somewhere on your littered desk is truly comforting, knowing you did answer the questions someone had sent. I also find it interesting to see the different kinds of questions some people asked.”
“I had no idea the virtual book tour would be so much for you!” says Judi Moreo, author of YOU ARE MORE THAN ENOUGH: EVERY WOMAN’S GUIDE TO PURPOSE, PASSION, AND POWER, who toured in July and August of ’07. “It was only after we got into it and I saw the amount of time it took for me to answer all those questions, did it dawn on me that you had done even more work setting it up. This tour has been great for me as it has made me really think about my answers and now that I am doing a lot of interviews in person, I feel as though I have already written out my answer s and practiced them, so my in person interviews are going much better than they would have without your virtual book tour. I’ve told everyone that you’ve done more for me than the publicist I hired for a great deal more money. Your work has certainly been effective. Thanks for everything!”
Marilyn Meredith, author of JUDGMENT FIRE, toured in August ’07. She says, “First and foremost, the blog tour was fun. I enjoyed answering all the interview questions and trying to come up with different information so if anyone actually followed every blog, it wouldn’t be boring. What is time consuming is promoting the blogs – a very important part of the whole process. If you don’t promote, no one is going to read what you took the time to write. Whether or not it will be worth it, I’m not sure. How I’ll be able to tell is if people head to my website or the publisher’s website or a bookstore and order JUDGMENT FIRE, the book I promoted on my virtual book tour. Most of the work and time fell on Dorothy Thompson and her crew to find places for me to visit. Frankly, I enjoyed the experience.”