Book Marketing, Author Publicity, Branding

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Guest Post: Top Tips on How to Set Up, Organize, and Promote a Virtual Blog Tour for a New Book or Author



By Lynn Serafinn

When I organise a book launch campaign for my author clients, I always include a Virtual Blog Tour. Every time I start a new campaign I am invariably asked, both by my clients and by their Joint Venture Partners (JVPs), "What exactly is a Virtual Blog Tour?" I thought it would be a good idea to write an article explaining what it is, and why it is a great promotional tool when properly organised.
What is a VBT?
A Virtual Blog Tour (VBT) is an online "event" wherein an author "visits" a different blog each day during a specified period of time, generally 2-4 weeks in duration. For instance, if your VBT were 2 weeks long, there would be 14 blogs, and each blogger would be assigned a specific day on the tour. In selecting blogs on which to appear, the author would seek out bloggers who have good traffic aimed at specific target audience(s) congruent with the topic of the book.
Technically, the author doesn't "visit" these blogs. Rather, on the assigned tour day, the blogger would post a blog about the author's book. Some blog platforms (such as WordPress) allow you to schedule a post in advance, making it more convenient for the blogger by automating the process.
The content of the blog could be an article about the author, a book review or an interview. When I organise a VBT, I generally prefer to use interviews, which are organised in advance between the blogger and author.
Organising a VBT
The way I organise the interview is to provide a good selection (10-20) of sample topics or story angles on which the author could answer questions. Then, each blogger provides (well in advance) 3 original questions he/she would like to ask the author, aimed at their particular reading audience.
Recently I designed a VBT for a book on the topic of OCD. Here are some of the sample topics I provided my bloggers:

  1. What OCD is and what it is not
  2. What doctors know or don't know about OCD
  3. What parents need to know about OCD
  4. What teachers need to know about OCD
  5. Being a parent with OCD
  6. OCD in personal relationships
  7. Having OCD in a work environment
  8. OCD and health issues...
And so on.
When I send the sample topics to the VBT bloggers, I ask them to formulate 3 questions based upon a topic (or topics) they feel would be of greatest interest to their readers. The questions are sent to the author several weeks in advance of the tour. The author provides written answers to the bloggers' questions, and together we assemble the "virtual interview" into a structured format, so the bloggers can more or less copy and paste it into their blogs (of course, they can edit it as they choose).
The format we provide the bloggers goes something like this:

"Today I have the great pleasure of being the host on Day 4 of the Virtual Blog Tour for The Super Duper Book by author Mary Jones. Yesterday, Mary visited John Smith's blog at [link to John's blog]. Below is the great interview I did with Mary about how to be super-duper.
[Interview]
I hope you enjoyed this interview with Mary Jones and that you'll check out The Super Duper Book by Mary Jones coming to Amazon on [date]. You can receive a collection of great gifts when you buy her book on the day of her launch, including one from me: [name of blogger's gift]. To find out how to buy Mary's book and receive these gifts, go to [link to author's sales page].
Be sure to follow Mary tomorrow when the next stop on her Virtual Blog Tour is Charlie Brown's blog at [link to Charlie's blog]."
Promoting a VBT
When I organise a VBT, I create a "Tweet" for every stop on the tour, and give them to all bloggers and JVPs well in advance, asking them to post at least one update per blogger. That means, on their designated day on the tour, dozens of people would be sending out updates with a link to Mary's blog post to potentially hundreds of thousands of people on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. (depending upon the size of your campaign team).
Additionally, the author would post the tour calendar, with all the links, on his/her own blog.
Being a blogger on a VBT has many benefits:

  1. It provides bloggers with easy, original content for their readers.
  2. Because an organised team of networkers is sending out updates for each stop on the tour, it has the potential to drive 1000s of new readers to each blog.
  3. It helps increase search engine rankings for the blogs, as the blog is linked to, both forwards and backwards, the other blogs on the tour.
  4. Bloggers on the tour get to connect with new bloggers who share common interests and speak to similar audiences.
Of course, for authors, a VBT is wonderful because:

  1. There is a diversity of content going out about their book during a concentrated period of time.
  2. The content is easy to create.
  3. It expands their network.
  4. They get their book promoted to 1000s of people every day for the duration of the tour.
  5. The content you have created could be reused for other purposes.
And don't forget, if a blog post is particularly interesting, both the author and the blogger can "reTweet" about it every now and then after the tour is over.
I hope you found this information useful. Please do feel free to leave your questions or comments below, or to contact me directly for information about setting up or participating in a Virtual Blog Tour.
Lynn Serafinn is a transformation coach, book promotion coach, radio host and bestselling author of the book The Garden of the Soul: lessons from four flowers that unearth the Self. She also works as a campaign manager for mind-body-spirit authors and has produced several #1-selling book campaigns. She is the founder/creator of Spirit Authors, a virtual learning environment and community that offers training, coaching, business-building and inspiration for mind-body-spirit authors, whether established or aspiring. Subscribe to her Spirit Authors blog at http://spiritauthors.com/category/news/ so you can receive more useful tips and news about upcoming online events. While you are there, do check out the excellent and affordable online courses for authors available at Spirit Authors. If you are an author seeking 1-to-1 support or campaign management for your upcoming book launch, or would like to set up or participate in a Virtual Blog Tour, contact Lynn via the contact form at http://spiritauthors.com/contact.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Lynn_Serafinn


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2 comments:

charles heaton allen said...

Ms Serafinn's efforts seem commendable, but my award-winning novel may not fit her genre(s).

ACE RIVALS is a story of air combat in WWII & the Korean Conflict. Veterans enjoy it and those who are interested in aircraft &/or warfare fiction. It was originally written to teach some history in an entertaining way to youths, but adults seem to like it, as well. Would this book be acceptable in Ms Serafinn's program?

I'd also like to know the cost of participating in her program, please.

Charles Heaton Allen
charlesheatonallen.tatepublishing.net

Cheryl said...

Excellent information. When I host authors I enjoy having a series of topics to choose from.

Mr. Allen, I hope you don't mind me commenting here, but while VBTs should definitely go after niche markets, one can't ignore the fact that readers enjoy books for a variety of reasons.

I'm not a big fan of airline disaster books--flying scares the pants off me--but one author requested a review from my blog and I decided to review it because the author was the son of one of the survivors. I realized he would have a unique angle in telling this story. I loved the book and helped him promote it at a variety of blogs, some niche ones, others just book blogs by readers who loved a good story of faith.

I hope you'll give a virtual book tour a try.

Wishing you the best,

Cheryl

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