Listen, like Bob Dylan’s song says, “Times they are a’changin’.” Readers have flocked online in droves. You may hold your real life events, but your readers may stay home to surf the Web. How do you reach these untapped book-buying masses? Book readers are a chatty bunch. They form clubs, they write blogs in a world they call the blog-o-sphere, and they gather online for chats and forums. You need a virtual media tour to reach these folks. The following plan will help get you organized.
Step 1. Collect data. Go out to your network and ask them for recommendations. Go to writing industry sites. Many book-o-philes are part of networks that review and recommend books. These are virtual clearinghouses of blogs, podcasts, and webcasts. Search out Internet radio stations that review books. Remember that one blog might reference another blog or a conference site. Read the content on these sites for clues to other great resources. Keep accurate records. TIP: You should already be networking long before your book comes out--probably long before you even started writing your book. If you haven’t done so, start now.
Step 2. Write queries to book virtual tour stops. Make a detailed schedule that includes the media stop, contact information, tour stop time, and interview type. Keep your queries short, and keep an accurate record of who you’ve contacted. TIP: Not everyone is going to say yes to your queries even though some of these people may be your friends. Don’t burn bridges if you are turned down. Always treat everyone with respect. This will smooth things for you in the future.
Step 3. Follow up queries. Sometimes emails fall between the cracks. People are busy. Be an advocate of your efforts and confirm whether it’s a “no” or an “I forgot about that” before you give up. Be persistent. Book up to two weeks’ worth of stops. TIP: Reach out to less obvious virtual media outlets that connect in some way to your content.
Step 4. Create a tour page and a banner to announce your tour to the world.
Step 5. Research tour outlets and prepare appropriately for each one. TIP: You will need to be able to speak in person, in voice, and on paper. Yes, a virtual media tour takes a ton of preparation. You wrote your book and want it to be successful. Put in the time it takes to reach multiple readers so your book has the best chance of success. Note that there are other great articles here on the Author Learning Center that can help you prepare for interviews and tours.
Step 6. It takes a village. Get your network on board to stir up interest in your tour by posting on social media sites. Also, ask your friends and family to be your assistants on the tour. They can help you keep track of the details, answer emails, or even tweet on your behalf during an event.
Step 7. Keep your schedule up to date. Make double sure that you are free the day of the tour. Don’t over book yourself.
Step 8. Send out your thank-you notes. Handwritten thank yous are always the best choice, but if that does not fit your style, send out email thank yous.
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