Friday, 25 April 2008

Virtual Book Tours: One Author's Experience

I've been getting interested in virtual book tours as a promotional tool. More and more authors are doing them nowadays and I'll be hosting my first this June both here and on Grizzled Old Traveler. Science fiction author and fellow Canadian Christopher Hoare has an interesting summary of his experiences with a virtual book tour on his blog.

In a nutshell, it helped him network with other writers, but it didn't generate a huge response. He seems upset about the lack of comments on the posts, something I've been having trouble with on my blog (say something, people!) but since he hasn't seen this quarter's royalty statements yet, he can't say how it's affected sales. As Chris points out, it's only one tool in the promotional tool box.

His Iskander series and two anthologies he has contributed to are available from Double Dragon.


Kathleen Oxley said...

I haven't tried it as an author, but I know it was effective on me as a reader. I read an interview on a fellow author's blog of someone on virtual tour and then saw their new book at Target the next weekend and purchased it. I'm not sure if I commented on the post or not, but it did get the book in my head.

laradunston said...

Check out this link about Angela Nickerson and her virtual book tour.

I've heard that Thomas Kohnstamm's book has already gone into reprint after his virtual book tour - I guess you could call it that.

Funny about the commenting thing... it's about attracting an audience that likes to comment isn't it? And raising questions that incite discussion as well I guess. I have a lot of readers who email me and say "love your content", "love what you're doing at the blog", "could you post more about travel writing itself", and "what do you think about XXX". I feel like saying to them "couldn't you put that in a comment? please." but I don't...

I guess we all need to think about why we blog, and while I think it would be nice to have a community who commented rather than just read and moved on to another blog, I need to just keep doing what I feel I need to do and to write what I feel I need to write, but then I'm mainly focused on exploring certain ideas to do with travel that interest me, and that I hope will interest other people like me, and I don't think too much about creating a community and what I *should* be doing if I want a successful blog, whatever that means.

And I certainly don't think about the amount of links I should be putting into a post or how many labels or whatever, which I saw a fascinating live discussion about on another travel blog the other night. It was fascinating because it was so banal. It simply astounded me that people spend so much time thinking about that stuff when they should be putting some thought into their content. I left after a few minutes I was totally bored to tears. But I returned the next day to look at what was said and it didn't get much better. Sad really.

Just keep doing what you're doing, expressing your opinion, and an audience will eventually develop. People like you. People like Kathleen. People like me. Blog and they will come! :)

Sean McLachlan said...

Kathleen & Lara,

Well, if you bought a book because of the virtual book tour, then I guess it does work! It's hard to say whether it's the most efficient marketing tool for the money, but sales people mostly seem to operate by instinct.

Angela Nickerson will be my guest at this and my other blog on June 10 & 12. I've been reading her book on Michelangelo's Rome and it's been great preparation for going to Italy.

Yes, it's good for a writer to think about why they are blogging. For me, it's to get my name out there more and to network with other writers. It also gives me a forum for talking about things that might not make a marketable article.

The bloggers who worry about maximum exposure are trying to make money from their blog, and they tend to have blogs about. . .you guessed it. . .making money from blogging! That's fine, if that's what they want to do. I also don't mind if I can sell some ads and if Google Ads makes me some money. Advertising has already earned me a little, but that's not the primary reason I blog.

I'm still a newbie at all of this, having been a blogger for less than two months, but it's a fun experience.

Looking for more from Sean McLachlan? He also hangs out on the Civil War Horror blog, where he focuses on Civil War and Wild West history.

You can also find him on his Twitter feed and Facebook page.