Marketing My Own Book
“Where are you going on your book tour?”
Friends and strangers often ask about where I am going on my book tour when they learn about my new historical novel, Sarah’s Secret. Those interested but uninvolved in the publishing business may not be aware that authors are increasingly expected to take responsibility for marketing their books, even those traditionally published. Independently published authors like me have to become our own marketing “firms.”
Book Tour or Virtual Book Tour?
Arranging a book tour to physical bookstores is daunting and requires ingenuity, persistence and a lot of work. In the pre-Internet days, an author might work with a publicity agent who would arrange for broadcast interviews, personal appearances at bookstores, and also pump the local press to print feature articles or mentions. The book signing at a bookstore would then be an event with good marketing and sales opportunities. Travel to various locations was part of the grind.
As we know, the world has changed; brick-and-mortar retail is no longer king. Sales and distribution have largely shifted to e-commerce and online platforms. Thus, to be present to an audience increasingly means being visible and findable on the Internet. I am still a fan of the local bookstore, as are many other readers and authors; yet marketing in that space alone is unrealistic and limiting.
Fortunately, there is an easier and simpler option on the Internet…Virtual Book Tours, which can provide a platform to get your book in front of hundreds of readers without your having to travel.
How I did it
Of course, you can arrange your own virtual tour by contacting blogs that focus on your genre or topic. But I took the easier option and hired an expert, Amy Bruno, who is a long-time member of the blogging community. She has established relationships with fellow bloggers and writers and knew which ones would be a good match for my book. Through her business, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, she could tailor the tour to my needs. She arranged book reviews, interviews, excerpts, articles and a give-away contest for my book, Sarah’s Secret, with fifteen blog sites whose followers have an interest in historical fiction.
Planning the Tour
We began the planning over two months before the tour was scheduled. Once the blog sites were identified and the type of posting requested, I provided complementary copies of Sarah’s Secret for the bloggers and the give-away contest, as well as the requested excerpts, articles or interviews. The actual tour took place over a two-week period with one or two postings each weekday. In addition to the visibility that Amy gives each tour from her website and Facebook page, announcements went out from my own Facebook and Linked-In pages.
Upsides and Downsides
Of course, the downside of touring virtually is that I didn’t have an opportunity for face-to-face interaction, but I was happy with the experience nonetheless. My positive outcomes include some great reviews, an opportunity to submit my book for review in the UK, and an increase in sales! And it was so much easier than arranging it myself or physically traveling.
If you have done a virtual book tour, I’d love to hear about your experience.