A virtual book tour is a great way to promote your book to an online audience: you make virtual appearances on blogs, websites, and podcasts.

There are plenty of marketing and PR services out there who claim to be able to book you on a solid virtual book tour — and if you have the funds, by all means, try ’em out! But if you’re promoting your book on a tight budget, it’s also possible to book your own virtual book tour.

What is a virtual book tour?

A virtual book tour is a great way to promote your book to an online audience.

Instead of (or in addition to) traveling from town to town to promote your book at in-person events (libraries, bookstores, schools, etc.), you make virtual appearances on a number of blogs, websites, podcasts, and internet radio stations over the course of 1-4 weeks — going for a critical mass of online media coverage in hopes of boosting your sales, your name recognition, and… oh yeah, your Amazon rankings!

What constitutes a virtual book tour?

An effective virtual book tour can be composed of a number of different kinds of “content,” including:

  • Guest blog posts
  • Book excerpts
  • Book reviews
  • Interviews
  • Podcast or radio appearance
  • Book giveaways
  • Social media contests
  • Webinars
  • Video content posted by blogs
  • and more

In fact, the more different kinds of content you create, the more fun it’ll be for you, and the more interested your audience will be in checking out each new “appearance.”

How do I book a virtual book tour?

Booking a virtual book tour is just like booking anything else; you’ve got to cast a wide net in hopes of snagging a few fish. At the same time, you’ve got to be targeted in your approach, making it clear to each blogger, podcaster, or reviewer that you understand their particular audience and content needs.

Important note: get ready for silence and rejection. People are busy; if they’re not interested, they might not have the time to write you back. Also, if they do write back and say “no thank you,” try not to take it personally. There are a hundred reasons they may’ve said no — and you’ll drive yourself mad asking yourself why. Instead, be thankful for those opportunities that DO open up. If you write 100 sites and 10% of them say yes, that’s a two week virtual book tour right there (assuming you spread your appearances out — one per day)!

Here’s how to get started booking your virtual book tour:

1. Compile a list of potential stops along your virtual book tour (book blogs, literary podcasts, radio programs that cover your topic of interest, etc.). Make a spreadsheet with contact info and a few notes about the exact kinds of content that perform well with their audience. One site might run an author spotlight where each week a new writer recommends their top 5 favorite books. Meanwhile, another site might like to run an advice column answered by a guest author. Keep detailed notes of that kind of thing.

2. Start interacting with those sites and podcasts. Leave comments. Share their articles on Twitter. By showing your virtual face early on, you’ll be increasing your chances of getting a positive response when you approach the same outlets with your virtual book tour pitch.

3. Book your virtual book tour! Set the tentative dates for your book tour and then write to everyone on your list individually (no mass emails!) asking if you can make an appearance on their site. Keep your pitch short and sweet (a few concise paragraphs should do the trick.) In addition, be sure to mention your familiarity with their content, and why you’re a great fit for their audience.

Next steps for launching your own virtual book tour:

To see a virtual book tour email-request template, check out this greatly informative article (which I’ve borrowed from here) written by Sandra Beckwith.

Once you’ve booked your book tour, then it’s time to have some fun, create great articles, videos, interviews, and more. And be sure to use that content for your own social media, email newsletter, and PR efforts. Oh, but that’s a whole other blog post, isn’t it?

Have you done a virtual book tour? How did it go? What challenges did you have booking it? Let us know in the comments section below.

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Chris Robley

About Chris Robley

Chris Robley has written 570 posts in this blog.

is an award-winning poet, songwriter, performer, and music producer who now lives in Portland, Maine after more than a decade in Portland, Oregon. His music has been praised by NPR, the LA Times, the Boston Globe, and others. Skyscraper Magazine said he is “one of the best short-story musicians to come along in quite some time.” Robley’s poetry has been published or is forthcoming in POETRY, Prairie Schooner, Poetry Northwest, Beloit Poetry Journal, RHINO, Magma Poetry, and more. He is the 2013 winner of Boulevard's Poetry Prize for Emerging Writers and the 2014 recipient of a Maine Literary Award in the category of "Short Works Poetry."

9 thoughts on “Booking Your Own Virtual Book Tour

  1. Takima Howze says:

    This Was GREAT!!! Thank You! I am a New Writer so this is a Great asset to me!

    1. Chris Robley Chris Robley says:

      Nice. Glad to hear it was helpful. Let me know how the virtual book tour goes!

      @ChrisRobley

  2. Sallyann says:

    Hello,
    I know you don’t know me, but I hope you’ll take the time to read this email. I’m part of a group of 26 Indie Authors that have pulled together to create a novel sized book of short stories. It’s been done for the MacMillan Nurses Charity in the UK, who deal with all types of patients with all forms of cancer, and we’re hoping to get it published soon.
    We are working with a representative from the charity to cover legal issues, and every penny made from the sale of the book will be going directly to the foundation.
    Unfortunately, due to being a charity, they don’t have money to put into advertising, so the authors are trying to get the book noticed ourselves. We will be contacting all our local newspapers and radio stations, which will be a quite a few as we’re all from different places, and some even from the USA.
    I wonder if you’d be able to help with getting the book noticed and out there. We’ll be doing group blogs, and we have a few Facebook pages willing to advertise, along with some reviewers that are willing to blog for us. Any help you could give would be very much appreciated.
    Please let me know if there is anything you can do for us, and if you’d like to know more please don’t hesitate to ask. I can also supply the list of authors, along with a book of they’ve written, and the names of the people we’ve had help off. I can also supply the name of the artist that designed the book cover for us.
    Thank you for your time,
    Best wishes,
    Sallyann Phillips.

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