Uncategorized Writing & Blogging

Self-Publishing Sunday {Week 8}: Virtual Book Tour

Welcome back to Self-Publishing Sunday after a couple of weeks off! First I dislocated my knee, then it was Memorial Day Weekend, so here we are three weeks after the last post. And we’re going to talk today about something that I never heard about before I self-published and I wish that I had: virtual book tours.

This is a long one – beware. I’ve bolded the main sections, so if you just want to know one or two things without scrolling/reading all of that, hopefully that will help. The sections are: what is a virtual book tour, where do I do it, why should I do it, who do I talk to about it, how do I do it, and when do I do it. 

how to have a virtual book tour
What is a virtual book tour?
You know what a book tour is, right? When an author travels around promoting their book? They usually go on talk shows, do meet and greets, have book readings and signings, go to conferences, give interviews, that sort of thing. Well a virtual book tour is similar to that, but all online. 

Wait, online? Where do I do it, then?

On blogs, online radio shows, podcasts, social networks … basically any place online where you can promote your book. This includes: guest posts, book reviews, interviews (in writing or on an online radio or podcast), giveaways, etc. 

Why should I do one?

Most likely than not, you don’t have a publicist. And as someone self-publishing and not working with a big publishing house, you don’t have a huge marketing team behind you. This is your chance to reach as many people as possible in as many ways as possible. It will build up buzz for you and your book, hopefully generate some sales (yay!), and at the very least with boost your search engine optimization (SEO) results. 
Moral of the story – it helps you reach potential readers.

Who do I speak to about it?

You’ll need to contact bloggers and people who run websites/podcasts/radio shows/any place you want to work with. This can take some serious guts! You need to cold-email a lot of people. A lot of times, potential places you’ll want to work with will have a contact address listed or a “for business inquiries, contact ….” section on their website. 

How do I do it?

1. Make a plan of attack. What kind of book do you have? Who is your audience? Who do you think will want to read your book?
2. Take to Google. Look for websites, blogs, podcasts, and radio shows that cater to your audience. There are a TON of book blogs. You don’t have to work with just book blogs, though. The key thing is to make sure that you are reaching as many people as possible in as many different ways. Find websites that cater to different audiences, but still reach the people that you think would interested in reading your book. There’s no point in working for a group of people who aren’t going to want to read your book.

3. Now that you have your list of blogs/websites/shows/publicity fairies that you want to work with, get to contacting them. Contact as many as possible, because there will be plenty of people who are going to decline your offer, never get back to you, bail on you, be unavailable during the time that you’re interested in, etc. Be polite and professional. Explain what you’re doing, what your book is about, why their readers/listeners would be interested in you/your book, and when you’re planning on doing it. Give them options – are looking to guest post, have them highlight you, have them review the book, do a giveaway, or what? Be clear!
4. Plan it all out. In this case, it helps to be over-organized so that nothing gets messed up, and you’re definitely going to want to work ahead. For example, you’re going to want to mix up what you’re doing during the tour so that you don’t have 3 days of book reviews in a row. 
5. So you’ve heard back from people and you have everything scheduled. Awesome! Next step – get started on your work. For example, if you’re writing a guest post for a blog, make sure you know what the blogger wants from the post. 
6. You also need to advertise it. Yes, the normal consumers of these sites/shows will see it. But the hosts are also looking for some publicity. Make sure that you spread the word beforehand. You will also need some graphics for the tour. For example, a banner image is good so that you can put it on Facebook, Twitter, your site, and send it to your hosts. Make sure you have good pictures of you and the cover of your book to send, as well. Share the schedule on social media and your website, promote the tour frequently on social media, etc. The more people who know about it, the more coverage you’ll get, and the more books you’ll sell. 
It’s a lot of work, but it’s worth it! The more work you put into it, the better it’ll be. You get out what you put in.

When should I do it? How long should it last?

You can it right around the book comes out or any time after it is released. It should last one to three weeks, but you can always do a longer or a shorter version. You should mix up the ways your tour works from day to day. For example, this may be your schedule:
Day 1 – Guest post
Day 2 – Book review
Day 3 – Blog interview
Day 4 – Book review
Day 5 – Radio interview
Day 6 – Giveaway 
Day 7 – Guest post
Day 8 – Blogger highlight of you/your book
Day 9 – Guest post
Day 10 – Book review
Day 11 – Blog interview
Day 12 – Highlight of you/your book
Day 13 – Giveaway
See how the book reviews are not all in a row? This will help keep readers interested. 

Is it going to cost me money?

It depends. If you do a giveaway, it’ll cost you money to send the book to the winner. If you want someone to write a review of your book, it may cost you money to get it to them. Some blogs will not highlight people/companies/etc. without compensation of some kind. But it shouldn’t cost you much.

Anything confusing? Did I leave anything out? Leave a comment or email me telling me so that I can fix it/help you better! On that note, let me know if there is anything you would like me to elaborate on. This is all for you, so don’t hesitate to let me know if something isn’t working.

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  • Reply Cece

    Well, you can definitely do this more on your next book!! This would probably be one of the hardest things for me (next to writing the book in the first place!!). You put yourself out there when you write a book and then you have to put yourself out there again by letting people read it and promoting it.

    June 2, 2014 at 9:11 pm
  • Reply The Girl who Loved to Write

    Love this–mine starts next week through the company I published with, and I'm hoping to do one I organize myself towards the end of summer!

    June 3, 2014 at 8:23 pm
  • Reply P.J.

    Some good tips here. Having a virtual tour like this is becoming a massive piece for self-published authors.

    November 19, 2014 at 6:30 pm
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