Book Publishing Circle
What a great pleasure to be hosting Jo Linsdell today! The Creative Idea Gal blog is a proud stop of Jo’s virtual book tour promoting her book, aptly titled Virtual Book Tours: Effective Online Book Promotion from the Comfort of Your Own Home.
Jo is a published book author, illustrator, and blogger with a fascinating background. Born in England, she now lives in Rome, Italy with her Italian husband and their son.
Jo has many published books under her belt, including Italian for Tourists, A Guide to Weddings in Italy, La Befana, Il Dolce Natale: Christmastime in Italy, Inside Out, Tweeting Your Way to Success, Fairy May, and Out and About at the Zoo.
Because Jo Linsdell has so much experience writing books, illustrating them, publishing them on various platforms, and marketing them, she is an asset to any writer wishing to write, publish, and market books. I strongly encourage anyone wishing to break into the publishing industry to contact Jo for guidance and best practices.
Virtual Book Tour of Jo Linsdell’s Book
Today is my turn to host Jo Linsdell and her book, Virtual Book Tours: Effective Online Book Promotion from the Comfort of Your Own Home. This book is designed to help published book authors by giving them the nuts and bolts on how to organize and promote their own virtual book tours.
In Jo’s own words, she describes why she gave her book such a long title:
“I created the title so that it was optimized for SEO and contained keywords. The title Virtual Book Tours means it shows up as #1 when people search for “virtual book tours” on Amazon. The sub-title means it also shows up well for searches under “online book promotion” and “book promotion”.
The comfort from your own home part shows that it can be done, well, from the comfort of your own home. I put the word Effective in because it’s a strong adjective to describe the strategies covered in the book. EFFECTIVE online book promotion grabs attention more than just online book promotion.
I’ve made sure it’s tagged with other relevant keywords too so it also shows up under searches like “book marketing”. I choose the word promotion instead of marketing for two main reasons 1) I liked the sound better 2) Promotion showed up better in the keyword analysis I did. So now you know. It’s not just a title. It’s also part of the marketing plan.”
Questions and Answers
When did you first become interested in virtual book tours? How many virtual book tours have you participated in?
I did my first virtual book tour back in 2006 for the release of my book Italian for Tourists. It went quite well and allowed me to collect some great reviews. I’ve since done a virtual book tour for each of my books as part of the official launch.
Last summer, I did a mammoth three-month virtual book tour to promote the release of my children’s picture story book Out and About at the Zoo, and the results were excellent. Not only did it sell lots of copies (over 5300 copies were downloaded in just one day) but it has also been in the bestseller lists for over a year now.
By doing and hosting virtual book tours, I’ve had a lot of hands-on experience with them and highly recommend that authors build them into their book marketing plan.
Tell us your top three tips for implementing a successful virtual book tour.
1. Be organized. Have a tour schedule written with all the information you might need regarding each stop. A media kit is also a must. Writing up a checklist of things to do when you start organizing your virtual book tour can be an easy way to make sure you don’t forget things along the way.
2. Promote and engage. It’s not enough to be hosted. You need to work your stops in order for them to work. Promote your tour stops through social media, your newsletter, your blog, your website, etc… It’s part of the deal that you will be helping to drive traffic to your host’s site. You also need to engage with your host and readers. Get a discussion going in the comments section of your post. Reply to all those who leave a comment. You want to build relationships through your stops and turn new readers into fans.
3. Say thank you. Thank everyone. Your hosts in particular. A thank you comment on the post is a must. A private message to thank them for their support is also recommended. Hosts are your best friends. They are supporting you and helping you spread the word about your book. Without them, you won’t have a tour. Make sure they feel appreciated. Make sure you also thank everyone who follows your tour and everyone who takes the time to leave a comment on your posts.
Why do you think book authors should use virtual book tours as a marketing tool?
More and more people are using the Internet and with the growing use of smartphones and other mobile devices, the number of people using the Internet is going to continue to increase. This means our target audience is online.
While doing a single guest post or interview can expose you to a new audience and be a beneficial marketing strategy, doing a virtual book tour creates a snowball effect and therefore, has a greater impact. One person talking about your book is good. Thousands of people talking about it is better.
Marketing books through a virtual book tour is a good idea, but it is not the only way to do things. What advice do you give to the skeptics?
I’ve read a lot of comments from authors who have done virtual book tours with little or no success. There are unlimited other ways you can promote your books. What I’ve discovered from talking to those authors that didn’t get the results they wanted through their virtual book tours was that they did them wrong. As with any other marketing method, they need to be done correctly.
One of the most common problems I see is that the book authors didn’t pitch sites that fitted their target market. If you have stops on sites that have nothing to do with the topic of your book or your target audience, it’s basically just a waste of your time.
Another problem is not promoting their stops and failing to engage with readers. Book authors seem to think they will magically get sales because they have been hosted somewhere. Stops need to be promoted. Interaction needs to take place.
From my personal experience, all of my books have become bestsellers during my virtual book tours. I’ve also seen an increase in reviews being posted. Virtual book tours have definitely been the most effective book marketing method I’ve tried.
One of the things I like most about virtual book tours is that once you’ve done one, the content is there to stay. You can then reuse it and repurpose it for future marketing too.
Your book is self-published. Can you describe your process?
For this book, I started with a rough idea of what I wanted the book to be about: virtual book tours. I then brainstormed and drew up a table of contents to break down my ideas and put them into the right order. This became my book outline. Next, I did some keyword research and came up with the title and subtitle. I also researched which categories would be the best fit and made a list of additional keywords to use as metatags.
I then created the cover design. I’m also an illustrator and do some graphic design, so I did the cover myself using Adobe Illustrator. I created the image based on the idea of “sending your book around the world.”
I decided to use a bold and basic font for the text as I wanted the cover to look good as a thumbnail image. I always try to make the cover near the beginning of a project as I find it helps motivate me and makes the book seem more real. It’s also beneficial from a marketing point of view as I can then use it in pre-release material.
Then it was time to write the book. I formatted as I wrote it using a template by fellow author Guy Kawasaki (he supplied the template for free with his book APE). I already had a lot of material for the resources section from the past tours I had done for my other books and through the connections I had made with my Writers and Authors blog.
I did some more research using the Internet as needed. For example, I wanted to include statistics to back up some of the points I covered in the book and so I researched up-to-date statistics from reliable resources. I also wanted some quotes to include at the beginning of each chapter that linked in nicely with what was going to be covered in that part of the book.
During the writing of the book, I also reached out via social media and questioned my connections on topics related to virtual book tours. I wanted to know what they knew, what mistakes they were making, and what they wanted to know.
Doing this (reaching out via social media and questioning my connections on topics related to virtual book tours…wanting to know what they knew, what mistakes they were making, and what they wanted to know) also helped drum up some pre-release interest in the book.
Once I had the manuscript finished, I edited it. I then printed it out and edited it again. (It’s amazing how many things you notice when you look at it in a different way.) I then sent off a copy to be edited by my friend and fellow author Kathy Mashburn. I never trust myself to find all the errors.
I uploaded the final copy to KDP and published it. It was available for sale on Amazon under 12 hours later and thanks to the pre-release marketing I had done, I sold 3 copies the next day.
The official launch of the book took place on September 1, about a week after publishing it, and began with a free download day during which my book reached #4 on the bestseller list for free books in the “marketing” category. The next day, my book reached #79 in “web 2.0″ paid downloads and has since made it to #73 in the best seller list for “authorship” in paid downloads. It has also started to get reviews and so far, all have been 5 stars. Needless to say, I’m very happy with the results so far.