Words to Profit

Marketing tip

What's a "Virtual Book Tour," Anyway?

by Diane Eble

I'm not a techie, and glitches sometimes drive me nuts. Yet I firmly believe this: Technology is an author's best friend!

Technology these days allows an author unprecedented opportunities to save time and money, sell more books, ignite word of mouth, connect with readers in ways previously undreamed of, thereby starting a relationship that allows the author to actually build a business around his or her book idea.

One case in point is the “virtual book tour.”

Any time an author gets to talk about his or her book without being physically present, but doing it via phone or webcast, can be considered a “virtual book tour.” An author can be interviewed one or more podcasts, for instance, and that can be considered a “virtual book tour.” A radio blitz campaign can be considered a virtual book tour. Some PR companies set these up for authors, often at launch time, when the book first comes out. The idea is to hit as many places as possible in a short period of time to create “buzz.”

The Ask Campaign VBT

There is another kind of “virtual book tour” that was created by Alex Mandossian. This is a specific kind of campaign in which an “ask the author” page is set up on a web site, the author is interviewed by a host who asks the submitted questions, the book is offered for sale (sometimes with extra bonuses). You have to sign up and ask a question to gain access to the live call and/or recording that is usually made available afterward.

The beauty of this latter kind of VBT, from an author’s point of view, is that not only are you selling books–you are able to gather names so that you can begin a relationship with your readers. In most other kinds of “virtual book tours,” such as radio interviews, the author just explains the book, the listener buys the book (or not), but still there is no way to start an ongoing relationship with readers.

Of course, if the author is smart, on the podcast or radio interview he or she will have some kind of free offer so that the all-important relationship with the reader–or prospective reader–can begin.

The number one weakness of the way books have traditionally been marketed is there was no way for readers and authors to connect. Any marketing tactic, including virtual book tours, should have as a main goal building a list–i.e. obtaining contact information of people who are exposed to your message and want that continuing relationship with you.

There are other great benefits to an “ask”-type VBT, which I'll be covering in future articles.

Sample a Virtual Book Tour

If you would like to see the "ask campaign" type of virtual book tour in action, I invite you to check out one of the VBTs I did recently.

One, which I hosted, was with best-selling author George Barna and aod coauthor, Frank Viola, on their controversial book, Pagan Christianity: Exploring the Roots of Our Church Practices, gleaned more than 750 questions, and was attended by people from all over the world. Check out how this VBT works, and listen to the replay.

Another was with New York Times best-selling author, Dinesh D'Souza, for his book, What's So Great about Christianity. If this interests you, check it out.

Another example is the VBT where Suzanne Lieurance was the host interviewing me about my book, Abundant Gifts. I shared stories from the book (and "behind the scenes"), and also answered questions from readers. Questions about Virtual Book Tours and marketing books, and questions about how a gifts journal can open your eyes to all the abundant gifts in your life. Plus a few tough ones, such as "how do you know God even exists?"

You can listen to the replay to that VBT if you like. But first, ask your question, because I'll be answering questions not answered on the call, either in my Abundant Gifts blog, my Your Book Publishing Coach blog, or here via articles (depending on the type of question). After you ask your question, you'll be sent to the replay page where you can listen to or download the replay. (And buy the book, which is only $10 for the hardback, and I will sign each copy.)

It Works for You 24/7

The beauty of these Ask-type VBTs is that once it's done, all you need to do is promote it. Through articles, your blog, posts in forums and on social network sites, press releases, business cards, your own personal contacts, you can invite people to visit your ask page where they can get their questions answered. This sets up a dialogue between you and your audience (or potential audience), so you know what's on their minds.

When you know that, you can be sure what you're writing speaks to their real needs.

Never before have authors had such an opportunity to get in touch with their readers and build relationships.

You can even do Ask campaigns before your book is written, or when the ebook version is completed, to find out what readers want to know, get feedback on titles/subtitles, or just about anything you want to ask your readers.

Can you see why I'm so pumped about Virtual Book Tours?

When you make your VBT the center of your marketing campaign, as Alex Mandossian teaches, it can become one of the best investments of your marketing dollar you can make.

Action Steps:

1. Check out a few Virtual Book Tours, as well as more details of how they work, at www.virtualbooktourexpert.com.

2. Read more about what Virtual Book Tours can do for you, and how to get excellent training in infrormation marketing, here: www.virtualbooktoursforauthors.com. (Includes free tips plus more than $39,000 in bonuses from me and Alex Mandossian.)



Watch Diane suggest how to get the most out of your visit here.


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