Thursday, April 9, 2009

How To: Do your own virtual book tour

I have had fun with this blog so far, but now it's time to get serious. I have been getting some emails from other writers asking about my recent virtual book tour. Most want to know how I planned it and where to start. So, I decided to post the steps I followed here in hopes that it helps others interested in doing their own tour.

There are 3 important things to remember when starting this; be professional, be prompt, and be thankful. I will talk more about these as I explain.

Be Professional: The first thing I will say is it takes a lot of research and work on your part to pull together a book tour, but on the bright side it can all be done from your computer. I first heard about virtual book tours while researching real book tours. I had my 1st one coming up and was asking other authors for tips and advice. The idea of an online book tour peeked my interest. It is an inexpensive way to get your book out there, and you never know it could get more attention than you ever imagined.

Here is how I started.

I simply googled Virtual Book Tours and familiarized myself with what they were exactly. Then moved on to google book related blogs. With a pad of paper I wrote down the url of every blog that covered books similar to mine. This is a long process because you're going to want to go to each blog to make sure it is one that fits your book, or you're wasting every one's time. Have an idea in mind of how many stops you want to have on your tour and an approximate start date. The end date can be determined after you finish booking. I had 20 stops as a goal for my tour, and ended up with 18. Looking back I realize that I could have done less. It really isn't about the number of stops; it is more about the quality you put into each.

Once you have a good list of possible blogs go back and write all of the contact info; the host, email, and something that shows you have personally researched that blog. Now you compose an email to begin asking the hosts to be a part of your tour. This is where being professional is very important. Compose a draft of an email that you will send out. The same one can be used, just make sure you change the host and blog name each time.

This is an example of the email that I used. You can plug in your info and use this or make your own. Don't forget to put Virtual Book Tour or something that clearly states your intention for the email in the subject line.
Dear (insert name of host),

I am a new author and I am planning a Blog Book Tour to promote my book, The Truth Lies in the Dark. It is a mystery/romance about a woman who lost her memory as a child and then, as an adult finds out that she was raised with the identity of a dead child. Who is she and more importantly, who is there to help her and who is there to make sure that the truth the dark?

I would love to add (name of blog) to my tour. Contact me to schedule an interview or if you would like me to submit a guest post. I will be posting an announcement of the entire blog tour with links on my website as soon as I have finished scheduling. The Truth Lies in the Dark is available at It is currently the 'Featured Book of the Month' on

Thank you for your time and I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Kristin Callender

(add your full contact info here)

Leaving the option for an interview or a guest post allows the host to choose which they have time or blog space available for. If you have copies of your book on hand you could offer some for review or for contests on a few blogs. But remember, the idea is to keep this cost efficient. Pick a few that are really suited to your type of book and request a review and let the hosts ask you if they are interested in giving away a book on their blog.

Once you start getting responses from blogs you can start planning the dates. Try not to have them all on the same days if possible. Sometimes that is unavoidable. What I did was offer each host a few days and then would not offer those to any other blog host until we had agreed on a set date.

The hosts will then either send you some questions that they would like answered or have you submit a guest post. What you write for a guest post is usually up to you. Of course you want it to include something about your book, but you also want it to include a personal connection to the specific blog you are a guest of. After all, each blog has followers that like what the blog has to offer them and many will not know who the new author is visiting. For example, for a writing blog I talked about my own writing process and for a blog that was written by a librarian I included how the main character used libraries to research her past. Be careful not to repeat the same exact information on each blog. You may gain a following on your tour, but will also loose it quickly if they are not getting anything new out of you.

Be Prompt: Send back the interview questions as quickly as you can. Don't rush through them. This is your chance to introduce yourself and your book to new readers so treat it like you were sending your responses to an editor at a big publishing house. Once you are completely satisfied with it send it out. Trust me, the hosts will appreciate not having to hunt it down later.

After the date was set and I sent out my writing, I would add that blog to my website. I still have the schedule posted on my website if you want to see how I set it up.

Be Thankful: Make sure that you thank the hosts at every chance. I started each guest post with a special thanks to the hosts and readers. After each tour stop was finished I sent another email out to thank the host again for being part of the tour. It may not seem like a big deal, but many of the hosts have other jobs and responsibilities outside of the blog. They will appreciate the effort and respect you show by being professional, prompt and thankful.

Do not get frustrated if you don't become an overnight success from a virtual book tour. There are no guarantees that it will sell thousands of copies, but if you remember these 3 important things it will help you build a supportive network for your future writing. And like I said before, you never know, you may get more attention than you ever imagined. I shared an example of that in yesterday's post.

I hope this helps with your tour. If you find that it has let me know. Even if you find that it did not work for you tell me about that too. If you have any questions or comments about any part of teh writing process feel free to leave them here or email me.

Thanks for taking the time read this and I look forward to hearing from you :)

Kristin Callender


  1. Kristen, what a great idea! This idea could be expanded to other areas for authors such as reaching sponsors. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Awesome advice. I appreciate you taking the time to write this post!

  3. Hi,
    Thank you for an insighful post. You've given me the courage to start a VBT of my own.
    Jo Ann Hernandez

  4. Hi Kristin,
    I, too, found virtual blog tours to be a great way to promote books (in particular, e-books).
    I worked with a colleague who specializes in such activities online and was able to rely upon her to develop most of the contacts. Ended up with an 18 blog tour in 18 days. Very nice!
    In fact, we are still working on internet radio interviews, etc.
    Thanks for sharing your process and congratulations on your success!

  5. Wow. This was a great post. Very informative and encouraging. Thanks.

  6. It certainly was a good VBT. I know it was a lot of work but it was worthwhile following it. Glad to hear (in your previous post) about the exciting news. Best of luck with your future books.

  7. I am excited about meeting you and I will try what you have offered here. I am a retired teacher and I have been writing good books for young people for forty years and it is my passion. Even though I write for the young, my biggest audience are the grandparents for reasons that are easy to understand. Grandparents are looking for good, interesting, and wholesome book as gifts for their grandchildren. I have found that when they buy my books, they will actually read them first, then read them for the youngsters and then give them to the teenagers. It has worked well for me. Hopefully, I can be a follower of yours and learn from you.

    I too have four wonderful children, all grown and very successful. They are also authors, two are professors and one plans to enter into teaching as well. Again, thanks for the information you have shared with us.

    Dr Robert E McGinnis
    The Paradise Series