By CHERYL ROGERS
Online publishing has given rise to a new form of book marketing: the virtual blog tour. While the days of book signings at traditional brick-and-mortar stores aren’t gone, many authors are taking advantage of digital publishing to promote their book more economically online.
Instead of setting up personal visits at bookstores, authors can drop by various Christian blogs on a scheduled tour, leaving behind free samples of their work, selling autographed copies, giving deep discounts, and promoting through coupons and more.
The good part is a virtual blog tour sidesteps any travel expenses associated with live personal visits. Virtual blog tours enable you to reach readers in the comfort of their own home, on their own schedule. They also can follow you easily on each stop you make!
Perhaps the easiest way to set up a blog tour is to connect with other Christian authors in your genre. Ideally, each will have their own following. The tour will enable you to share readers with each other, expanding the number of readers who are acquainted with your work. By agreeing to reciprocate, that is running some of their work on your website, you’ll find more doors open.
Here are the steps:
1) Invite others to participate in your blog tour.
2) Develop a schedule that works for your group. You may want to run one feature a week, one feature a day, or even several on the same day. Spacing out the features gives you more room for error, though, if someone doesn’t produce their copy on time. Be sure it is clear who runs what on what day. Allow the writers time to prepare the blog tour content.
3) Agree upon your start date.
4) Exchange content, including artwork.
5) Promote the virtual blog tour on Facebook, Goodreads, or where ever you can, online and off.
6) Run your content on schedule.
You may envision lots of sales pouring in from the first day of blog tour, but don’t be disappointed if the sales are slow or even non-existent at first. It takes time — and lots of effort — to build a following. At the very least, virtual blog tours should increase traffic to your website, making more readers know you exist. In the long run, this could mean many loyal fans, and sales, if you keep up your efforts to be visible in your market.