5 Mistakes Writers Make When It Comes to Virtual Book Tours (#2)

We’re continuing the discussion on book tours today, so here’s second mistake on the list.

Mistake #2: Not Being Prepared

Since blog tours are held online, some authors have gone into them unprepared. I’ll admit, the idea of “visiting” blogs while you sit in your jammies doesn’t sound all that taxing. Since I’ve been on both ends of the virtual tour, I can tell you that it is work for the blogger and for you. It’s a lot of work for you. If it isn’t, you probably aren’t doing it right.

With all the work you’ll have to do, you might be feeling crabby, tired, and perhaps a little bit indignant that you spent all this time writing a book and now you’ll have to crank out several thousand more words just to promote it. But before you fire off an “I’m so busy…. whine…” response to a blogger, here are some tips to keep in mind.

Bloggers Are Just as Busy

I’m tempted to write “bloggers are more busy than you” because I’m a full-time writer and blog daily on several different sites. I’m always writing. And then, I write books. But the blogging is constantly there and hanging over my head.

I realize not all bloggers are full-time writers, but I tell you this because you, as an author, are feeling tired because you finished a book and the thought of doing a guest post right now is anything but appealing. But if you think you’re going to whine to the blogger and complain about how exhausted and busy (double dramatic sigh) you are do not expect that blogger to take pity on you. Here’s a newsflash: we’re all busy.

Write Guest Posts Ahead of Time

Rather than complaining about “having” to write a guest post (which will get you traffic and help promote your book), how about actually preparing for your blog tour and writing up several different guest posts? Make them different. (Remember our talk about canned responses yesterday.) They don’t have to be long: 400–500 words is good. If you go into your blog tour with these posts prepared, you can offer them to the blogger without feeling overwhelmed about creating something new. Make each post unique and tell the blogger that you are offering them something no other website will have.

Create an Online Press Kit

One thing that really helps in preparation is creating a place for bloggers to come for your author photo, details of your book, links to Amazon (and anywhere else you’d like them to link to), links to your website and blog, places to find you on Facebook, book cover art, and perhaps even a graphic you create that says they are part of your blog tour.

Put all this info on an easy to find spot on your website and refer your bloggers there so they can get the graphics and info they need.

Expect Negativity

If you were to do a signing in a bookstore, there would be a chance that someone would stand up and shout “You stink. Your books are stupid.” Unlikely, but still, if you’ve ever been to a live signing, pretty much anything can happen. I’ve talked to authors who said people showed up to their signings:

  • drunk
  • thinking they were another author
  • ready for an argument about a stance the author took
  • just looking for a place to get out of the rain (and therefore, not interested in anything the author said)
  • by accident

In each of these cases, the author just had to roll with it, and laugh it off later. The same might happen with a virtual tour. What’s worse, whatever someone says might be posted online forever.

Just because a blogger is hosting you, don’t expect hearts and hugs in every case. Sometimes the blogger will not like your book but host you anyway, and sometimes they will let their readers say negative things about you and your book. Every once in a blue moon a blogger will ask to review your book and then use it as a way to get something off their chest. So what can you do when this happens? Deal with it as best you can (usually be letting it go) and laugh it off later. Know that you aren’t the first person this has happened to.

Carve Out Time in Your Schedule

There’s more involved with blog tours than just answering questions and writing guest posts. You will have to respond to reader comments, help promote on social media, and answer any questions people have. Make sure you prepare for this by blocking out time on your calendar. Don’t try to squeeze it in without planning for it, because you’ll end up feeling frazzled and frustrated.

Tomorrow: Mistake #3

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