Updated: Jan 14
Many traditional fiction authors have been taking advantage of new digital era audience engagement tools made possible by what has become known as Web 2.0.
Web 2.0 is a term popularized by tech expert Tim O’Reilly, who envisioned the Internet developing into an intelligent network of people and machines to function as a nervous system for our planet. News Flash: that time is now! And it's good news for Street Literature/Urban Fiction authors. In fact, great news! Especially if you’re Self-Publishing. This solves the challenges in growing readership in an era of change.
So, what “audience engagement tools” have been being utilized effectively? Social media, Blogging, Podcast, Video Book Trailers, and Amazon to name a few. What I want to touch bases on in this blog is one that authors, both Traditional and Urban, have professed to render phenomenal results: Virtual Book Launch Tours.
A great number of authors who found little to no success in cultivating local audiences live, or found it difficult doing so, have taken to creating powerful book tours online.
These "online tours” are the alternative to multi-city live, in-person book tours, with in-store book signings at multiple locations, speaking at conferences, media interviews, etc. The virtual book tour connects authors with a much larger audience than a store-to-store circuit would allow.
A Virtual Book Launch Tour is a planned combination of appearances, including social network capabilities for online events, articles and blogs, guest contributions to websites, online radio shows, chats, video conferences, and appearances on other places on the web where the readers of your book might meet for discussion. This blitz of appearances works best if timed for 7 to 14 days before and another 7 to 14 days after your book is published.
Similar to a live book launch party, your virtual tour is a time to talk about your book, the inspiration for writing it, what you learned along the way, and to tell the stories of people who contributed to the project, in unexpected ways. It’s a time to be interviewed on others’ sites, in videos, and in any other way that you can use all collaborative networks available to you. This increases awareness of your book.
The added and most highly recognized advantage of a Virtual Book Launch Tour, aside from having your book hot off the press, is the opportunity to get people excited about the long-awaited publication of your book without you paying for travel costs.
More benefits include: web content that stays up for all time, enhanced visibility to your readership, increased Amazon rankings, enhanced visibility to publishers, agents, and scouts.
Remember, it usually takes multiple exposures for a consumer to make the purchase. Statistics show that awareness of any brand depends on an audience seeing it approximately eight times before they make the action decision to buy your book.
My point: Virtual Book Launch Tours (more times than not) usually result in tremendous sales.
Lack the time to organize your Tour? No problem. You can retain an online book tour expert to promote your book, schedule book placements on relevant blogs and websites, and handle all other busy work surrounding such a project. For $1000, upwards of 50 placements can be secured. These placements often consist of guest blog posts, book reviews, or interviews, which can be answered ahead of time.
The down side (because everything has one, right?) of Virtual Book Launch Tours would be that it’s time intensive, sometimes too technical to plan, engage and manage, and (for some people) the cost presents a problem as well. Understandable for aspiring authors with small budgets. All the same, the price I listed above is just one that I came across. Shop around and see what you come up with. You may just find that it’s something worth investing in.
In closing, I hope this post has shed some light on Virtual Book Launch Tours as a means of publicity. For further elaboration I’d suggest ordering “21 Ways To Launch A successful Book Tour” by D’Vorah Lansky. It’s an easy step-by-step guide on the subject matter.
If you are familiar with “Virtual Book Launch Tours,” or have implemented this strategy in any of your own launches, please feel free to share tips and resources below in the comments. It would be greatly appreciated.
Also, if you know of anyone, or if you yourself provide the services of a “virtual tour host,” please be so kind as to provide their/your companies contact info!