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Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Virtual Book Tours

I met Dorothy Thompson last year when she contacted me about hosting some of her clients on their blog tours. As a result of that first message, I've not only met some wonderful friends, I've discovered some fabulous authors that I've had the pleasure to introduce you to. One of the best people I've met is Dorothy herself, a lady who is filled with energy, charm, and humour. Much to my surprise, this is her first guest blog, so I hope you pay attention - she's got some incredible insight to offer us all! Now, over to Dorothy....



How Virtual Book Tours Make Great Book Promotion Tools
© Dorothy Thompson 2009 All Rights Reserved

I want to thank Denyse for having me talk about how virtual book tours make great book promotion tools. As many of you know, I’m CEO/Founder of Pump Up Your Book Promotion, an innovative public relations agency specializing in online book promotion. I live and breathe promoting authors online. That’s what I do and love, and it’s my passion as evident in the many clients we have in any given month.

Although the ways to promote your book online can seem overwhelming, I’ll cut it down to one method that will do more for you than anything else you could do to promote your book for the highest visibility – virtual book tours (sometimes called virtual blog tours, virtual author tours, online book tours, etc.).

Although virtual book tours have been around a few years, the rules have changed. There are even more ways a virtual book tour can be used as a great book promotional tool than ever before and we at Pump Up Your Book Promotion stay on top of the latest ways to do this. Even in the last year, we have discovered how to get our authors on sites such as USA Today, Reuters, Chicago Times, and other high visibility news sites, so we are constantly on the alert for ways to better our tours and give our authors maximum exposure.

Just last year during the holiday season, 24 billion shoppers (could be you!) bought purchases online. This is during a recession, layoffs and financial difficulties. This goes to prove that shoppers are going to the Internet to make their purchases in droves. Why? Why wouldn’t they? You don’t spend money on gas, you can “shop” for your purchases online before you buy and the credit card one uses to make these purchases have now been proven to be secure.

So what does this have to do with virtual book tours as great book promotion tools?

Where do you think people go to look up purchases? Last year, I made most of my Christmas purchases online. I’ll use myself as an example to give you an idea. My son loves anything related to fishing. He has a fishing rod and everything that’s needed to go fishing, but I wanted something unique. I’m not a fisherman…er…fisherwoman, so what I did was put certain search words in Google to find something different, much like someone would if they were looking for a certain book, or anything else.

When my Google results came up, I found what I needed on the first three pages of search (this is the average amount of pages one looks through to find what they are looking for, according to statistics). Once I got to the first page, though, my natural instinct was to check them out one by one starting with the fist search results.

I found what I was looking for in those first three pages and didn’t look any further.

With virtual book tours, that’s what we want these online buyers to do – find our authors on the first three pages but what they will find is that our authors, through our virtual book tour system, are coming up on that first page and in many instances, that first spot for those key search words and they pretty well stay there long after their tour is over.

Because of the many “blog stops,” and through the many book promotion methods we use, this has been proven time and time again that using virtual book tours as book promotional tools is the best way to get that book in front of the customer. You can put up a website, set up a blog, appear on dozens of interview and review sites, but what the average writer does not realize is that it takes way more than that to have this happen.

We at Pump Up Your Book Promotion know the secret and that is what we do for our authors. The system takes hours upon hours of work, something the average writer does not have time for and that’s why authors choose us to help them promote their books in front of millions of potential book buyers.

Virtual book tours are perhaps the best promotional tool I know of. Check us out at http://www.pumpupyourbookpromotion.com/ and let us tell you how we take your book to the highest virtual level known.

I want to thank Denyse for having me and if you email me at thewriterslife@yahoo.com and mention you read this at Denyse Bridger’s Fantasy Pages, I’ll give you a 10% discount on your next virtual book tour with us.

If anyone has any questions pertaining to virtual book tours, please leave a comment below and I’ll check in periodically and answer them for you. If you have been on a virtual book tour and would like to give your input, please leave that comment below, also.

Thank you and pump up that book!



38 comments:

  1. Thanks Denyse and Dorothy! I've been checking in to doing a book tour for a while, but yes, it takes a LOT of time so I've been pondering the time value. I'll be doing it with my next release later this year.

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  2. Thanks for your comment, LK. You have to consider two things. One, how much I want this book sold, and two, how much time do I have in between this book and the next, figuring the time cruncher is in having enough time to write your next book. Now let's say you have the book released and your publisher has given you a deadline for the next one and it's sometime not too far into the future. What I would suggest is to get as many reviewers on board as possible. This will save on having to write many, many guest post posts and filling out interviews. The biggest time cruncher will be in coming up with ideas for guest posts and sometimes you could be writing six or seven at least if you just tour for one month. What I would recommend you doing is whenever you have a spare moment, put together about five guest posts and save them. Search the Internet for guest post ideas. Then when you need them and you're in the middle of writing your next book, all you have to do is send. We had a late tour come in for March and being as I knew this author and knew that she would be busy, I put most of her stops on review blogs. She now only has to write maybe one or two guest posts and fill out one or two interviews. If you stopped and thought for a minute how much time we waste in email, etc..., you will learn how to take that time and do what you have to do before you get into email which is the biggest time cruncher known to man (or woman). Hope this helps!

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  3. I had the pleasure of doing a tour with Pump up Your Books, and I can say it was a wonderful experience. This was in September and I noticed a huge jump in hits to my Web site during and right after the tour. Still waiting for royalty statements to see how it affected sales, but I did have three people contact me directly for an autographed copy of my book.

    I think this is a great way to get more exposure for a book, and the staff at PUYB is great to work with.

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  4. Hi Maryann! That was so sweet of you! Keep pumping up that book!

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  5. I've certainly heard good things about Pump Up Your Book Promotion and a successful virtual book tour is a great marketing asset.

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  6. Hello!!
    Thank you for having yet another great blog, Denyse!

    Hi Dorothy!
    I have heard of your company before, by coming across some of the authors on tour. What a great service you offer. Your website is absolutely wonderful to browse around as well! I hope to use your services sometime soon! :)

    Thanks,
    Colleen

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  7. Thanks, A.F. and Colleen for your kind comments!

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  8. I can't sing Dorothy's praises enough as I took a virtual book tour in June with her company for my novel MRS. LIEUTENANT. Dorothy is an extremely innovative person who is thrilled by discovering every new opportunity to promote "her authors."

    Taking a virtual book tour with Dorothy was the best money I spent on promoting my book.

    Phyllis Zimbler Miller
    http://www.CalltoActionWebsites.com

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  9. Having been through the blog tour with Pump Up Your Book Promotion I can tell you that it is well worth it. Dorothy is the sweetest lady to work with and very patient if you're not sure what you're doing. It is a lot of hard work but anything worth having is worth working your butt off for. :)

    I enjoyed my virtual tour and will definitely do it again.

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  10. Time for me to pop in and say Hi - as well as giggle in delight that this is going so well for Dorothy!!! Thanks to everyone who's been by so far.... will check back later!!!

    Hugs...

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  11. Hi Denyse, Hi Dorothy. Have been contemplating a blog tour so this is timely. Thank you so very much ;o)

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  12. Wow, Dorothy is branching out into guest posting. Fantastic. As a book blog reviewer, its great to see that our efforts are appreciated.

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  13. Denyse: I'm glad that you spotlighted Dorothy because she is a tireless promoter; I'm beginning to suspect she's cloned herself and not revealed that yet! Since I've started hosting blog tours for Dorothy, I've been impressed by her enthusiasm for her authors and their appreciation for being hosted.

    I've "met" authors whose works I may not have known about through Dorothy and, I'm delighted to say, look forward to being on the tour myself one day!

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  14. Thanks for your comment, Elizabeth! Remember to mention Denyse Bridgers Fantasy Pages and you'll get a 10% discount! We're booked until May but so far May still has quite a few openings. I love this biz and I love you, Denyse, for posting my guest post today!

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  15. Thanks for your comment, Serena! I barely have time what with promoting my authors daily but this guest posting is fun and contagious, lol!

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  16. Oh, Christa, this is music to my ears. I love all the reviewers and blog hosts who host our authors...it's been incredible the past 2 years. I can't get over to how much fun in between all the work I'm actually having!

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  17. As a book blogger I can't tell you how many books I've purchased and/or added to my wishlist after seeing them on a tour. I've done a few tours myself~ for Dorothy~ and it's been a great experience. I've been introduced to new authors that I wouldn't have known before and after doing a review, guest post or interview and in some cases a giveaway-this author is introduced to a lot of other readers too. Dorothy-you do an awesome job!

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  18. Thank you, Dar! I'm having a blast. If this is what it feels like to be on tour, then what a great feeling this is! But I do want to say something. If not for the reviewers and the book bloggers, we'd be nothing, so a lot of kudos go to you guys. I thank all of you!

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  19. I did a book tour with Dorothy and her company in January of this year to promote the first book in my children's book series, Katie & Kimble: A Ghost Story. There have been so many benefits to doing this that I can hardly describe them all. For one, the selection of blog hosts for my tour was tailored very well to my specific material, children's fiction, and I came away with lots of great reviews done by mom bloggers. That was a real blessing that I have not mentioned before because it is moms who will buy my books for their kids to read; as a bonus, most of the mom bloggers actually had kids in the appropriate age group (7-10) or nearby who also enjoyed Katie & Kimble.

    In addition, the SEO (search engine optimization) that Dorothy and her staff use is extremely effective--and she also has quite a few other little tricks which she alluded to in this post, which got my press release picked up by the Chicago Sun Times News Group and got one of my interviews picked up by USA Today.

    Doing the virtual book tour is a lot of work for the author--I ended up doing 8 interviews and 6 guest posts. And it was well worth it to put that much time and effort into working with Dorothy and her company. You can't beat the price or the exposure, and all that writing about Katie & Kimble really got my head back into the series in a whole new way. Right after the tour, I started in writing the third book in the series again, and DURING the tour, spending so much time focuing on Katie & Kimble opened something up for me and yet another plot for a future book popped through.

    It was a fabulous experience, and I will always be very grateful to Dorothy and her staff.

    Linda Thieman
    Katie & Kimble: A Ghost Story
    Katie & Kimble: The Magic Wish
    http://www.katieandkimbleblog.com

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  20. Thank you, Dorothy and Denyse for your invitation to visit Fantasy Pages. I recently signed up for Dorothy's Platinum Promotion Program and she assigned me March and April for my tour. My expectations are high for the exposure generated because as someone said recently, 'Dorothy is tireless,' and she certainly is that. LK Hunsaker wrote that a virtual tour takes 'a LOT of time." It does LK, but it does little good to write the great American novel if few people know about it. That is where Dorothy comes in for all of us. Getting set up for the tour does take a lot of our time, but I believe the end will justify the means.

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  21. Hi Linda! That's a really good point...I have had lots of authors tell me that because of all the interviews and guest posts they had written, they learned more about their book and was astonished that they had found out things they never really thought of. You think you know the book inside out? Try having bloggers ask you things you never thought about before. And in your case, it gave you a new idea for a book? I am loving it. Nice to see you again!

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  22. Great post, Dorothy! I agree that VBTs is the way to go for online book promotion.

    I have been Dorothy's client on a number of tours and I can highly recommend her. She's full of great ideas and enthusiasm. A great publicist to work with.

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  23. Oh, Jerry, I want to kiss you! You understand! Especially for you since you'll have double the work being as you're on tour for 2 months, there is a lot of work behind it but it just has to be that way. We've got to get the word out about your book and the only way to do it in my book is to put your information into the eyes of as many people as we can. You have this one shot...I hate to see authors take a back seat in the promotions department, too, but some do and that's fine but if they join me in getting the word out, that doubles its effectiveness. You'll see. I do want to say that Jerry is fantastic...he knows what has to be done and he does it without complaining. I had one author tell me that I was a slave driver, lol. Think of me as your mama, I'm only doing it for your good!

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  24. Oh Mayra, grab a donut, dahling! Mayra's a good kid. She's toured with us several times and she also willingly hosts our authors on her blogs. That's also what it's all about. Networking. You just never know what good can come of something so great.

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  25. Wow Dorothy that's info I didn't know. I had no clue that's what it took to get on those search engine pages. Thanks for the info.
    Jo Ann Hernandez
    http://bronzeword.wordpress.com

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  26. Thanks, Denyse for having such a wonderful guest. And hello to you Dorothy. I'll definitely be checking out your website, you've obviously done some wonderful work and have some very satisfied customers.

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  27. Thanks for the accolades, Dorothy. I am here for the long haul, so bring it on, Mama. I will be back for each new book—Axe of Iron: Confrontation will publish in June 2009.
    I am most appreciative of all your excellent promotions in my behalf.
    Best,
    Jerry

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  28. Hi, Denyse. Hi, Dorothy. I couldn't resist stopping by just to say hi! I absolutely loved the two book tours I did with Dorothy. They were such fun and introduced me to markets and marketing concepts I knew nothing about.

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  29. This is absolutely wonderful!!! I'm so glad that you've all turned out to support this amazing and special lady - we all love her and rightfully so!!!

    I'm really happy that you agreed to do this, Dorothy!

    HUGS,
    Denysé

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  30. HOLY WOW! Thanks Denyse and Dorothy!!!This Pump up Your Books - Book Tour is a fabulous concept!!!

    This is exciting. Expect to SEE ME in the NEAR FUTURE!

    Marquete Williams

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  31. I begin my first tour in April for my debut book The Light, The Dark, and Ember Between, and have been nothing but pleased by Dorothy's attention to detail and absolute genuiness. I'm the type of person who listens heavily to my inner voice and from the get-go it was green lighting PUYBP. I remain excited by the upcoming tour and look forward to having the opportunity to encounter folks just like all of you :^)

    Thanks for all your tireless work, Dorothy. I haven't even started and I already appreciate it!

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  32. I think virtual tours are the wave of the future and an integral part of the author's publicity. You can reach so many more people via the internet. It's nice to see the virtual tour coordinator extraordinaire in the hot seat for once!
    Margay

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  33. LOL, Margay, nice to see you here! I've been in the hot seat today and it's been so much fun. You know, this can happen to any author. So far there have been 32 comments and I could have even pulled in more. Authors, listen, get those contacts because one day you'll be thankful. All you have to do is write a guest post where everyone can benefit and offer advice and they will come even if you have to bribe them with donuts. ;o)

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  34. J.W., good to see you here! This has been an absolute blast. I want everyone to know that if you have any questions whatsoever, Denyse will let me know and I'll pop over here and answer them. I'd like to end the night by offering a little advice.

    To authors, there is no better way to promote your books than with virtual book tours. But, what a lot of authors don't realize is that all these blog hosts are human beings. Go in and thank the blog host. Go in and offer advice on something that maybe no one knows about. Once people connect with YOU, it's pretty well smooth sailing.

    To blog hosts who take time out to host our authors and other authors looking for ways to promote their books, I want you to know you are appreciated and we are so thankful to you for offering your blog as a vehicle to promote our books. It wasn't so long ago that blogging wasn't nearly a third as popular as it is today. When I was promoting my book, blogs were just starting to heat up. Now, there are hundreds upon hundreds of book blogs out there and we as authors and promoters have to realize that you guys are human and the least we can do is thank you for whatever promotion you do for us.

    And for Denyse, there's a special thanks going to you because you have made me realize that guest blogging doesn't have to be a one way street and that if you act as if it's one big party and make a big extravaganza out of each time you guest post, the results will be very favorable.

    Because of today, I've signed up more clients and reunited with an old friend who is now working for a publisher and is going to talk to them about signing up for virtual book tours with us.

    So you see, blogging and guest posting is really terrific and I thank you for this opportunity (crap, I'm sounding like I won an Oscar or something!) but I just want to tell you thank you and I would love to come back. ;o)

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  35. Great post Dorothy and Denyse,
    Thanks for the invitation.


    kim

    www.kimhanks.net
    http://kimhanks.blogspot.com

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  36. Nice blog, ladies!

    I think I was one of Dorothy's first Virtual Tour clients and I had a great experience. I didnt' know what to expect at first, since I'm neither tech savvy nor knowledgeable about the Virtual World, but Dorothy and more recently (with my second book) her partner Jamie, were very supportive and fun tour operators. They guided me through the process and made the tour productive and easy to navigate.

    Dorothy is a talented writer and enthusiastic about her clients' books and what works for online sales. I think my brisk book sales were to a large extent a result of my Virtual Tours.

    Thanks, Dorothy, Jamie, and Denyse

    Shobhan Bantwal
    www.shobhanbantwal.com
    The Dowry Bride - Sept 2007
    The Forbidden Daughter - Sept 2008
    "Winner 2008 Golden Leaf Award"

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  37. What a great, helpful blog and subject. I am definitely going to look into virtual touring for my June release.

    Thanks again, ladies.

    ~Tanya hanson
    www.tanyahanson.com

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  38. As a new addition to this month's (March's) virtual book tour, I'm not sure just what to expect but I am very excited about this opportunity to share, learn, and meet other authors. To date, I have to say the whole experience had been fantastic. The communication, the flexibility, EVERYTHING has been worth every small penny of investment.
    Thank you so much for this opportunity. I look forward to the blogging and interviews.

    Best -
    Kimberly Cheryl
    Shattered Reality
    Escape from the Pharma Drug Cartel (2007 USA Book News Best Book Awards)
    www.kimberlycheryl.net
    www.myshatteredreality.com

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