Okay, your manuscript is complete, edited and proofread, and a launching date is dancing in your head. Bravo! In the meantime (hopefully) you’ve spent serious time building your platform. You’ve connected with like-minded authors, hosted them in your blog, made use of “pay it forward” in the most generous way since you still have no wares to hawk, and you know that these kind people will be more than happy to help you when your time in the spotlight comes. But will that spotlight shed enough light on you?
Unless you’ve been extremely lucky to have a big name, same-genre author with a massive following at your beck and call, most likely, you’ve connected with talented but recently published or aspiring authors, who, like you, have been seeking information on how to build an author platform on solid foundation.
I have made wonderful friends these past ten months, and they are more than willing to host the upcoming cover reveal for Fate Accompli, my debut novel, but only two of these nice and generous friends are established romance writers with a specific genre following. How much can I rely on my fantasy/paranormal/thriller/horror friends’ readers taking more than a cursory look at a book that’s been meticulously branded as a contemporary romance?
On the other hand, being active on Goodreads, I know there are dozens of hyper-active bloggers who promote and review books in my genre. But they’re not writers. I can’t say, “Hi! Your book sounds interesting. Hop on my blog for a nice WIP interview,” and connect. I tried connecting through Twitter or Facebook, but this was time consuming, and I didn’t feel it got me anywhere.
Enter virtual book tour companies. These companies thrive on bloggers, and bloggers feast on them. The tour operators need their clients’ book to get as many stops on the tour as possible (or as many as the plan the client has purchased allows) and the bloggers are reading addicts who need tons of books that they couldn’t possibly afford to pay to curb their “need for read”. (I say that in the best possible way as I’m just like that.)
What I suggest, if you’re a blogger/soon-to-be-published writer/reader like me, is to search for book tour companies in your genre and sign up as a blog host before hiring them. Check out the advantages:
- You instantly become part of their entire bloggers’ network
- You get easier access to other bloggers’ sites through commenting on posts regarding a book you also hosted
- Other bloggers, doing the book tour rounds, will stop at your blog and connect.
- You get more traffic on your own blog.
- You get to check out soon-to-be-released books of your genre and also gauge the competition.
- You can get tons of free books that you choose to review or promote on your blog.
- Through reviewing you connect with same-genre authors (all authors love to connect with readers who spent time reading and reviewing their books).
and last but not least…
- You evaluate the book tour company’s services (how many bloggers sign up, how responsive they are, the quality of the material sent to you) BEFORE you hand them your good money to promote your book.
I’ve been hosting for some months now, more actively during the summer, and my experience can only be described as positive. First off, I got to read Truly, Ruthie Knox’s new contemporary romance for FREE! (Sorry, that had to top my list as I’m a huge Ruthie Knox fan.) I’ve connected with bloggers, and I feel that when they see me coming out as an author, they’ll be inclined to pick up my book and blog about it. I’ve connected with the book tour operators on a personal level, and I feel more confident approaching them as a client. I read six free books in August alone! Need I say more?
Actually, I do. How do you go about finding virtual book tour companies? Here are some suggestions:
- Google them. E.g. “science fiction virtual book tours”. You will get results.
- Ask same-genre authors for suggestions.
- Join Facebook or Goodreads groups on your genre and ask the members directly.
- Ask a company that focuses on a different genre to suggest a promoter that accepts yours. They are well connected.
Important notice: Always check a site’s Alexa ranking before doing business with them. For more on that, read Effosyni Moschoudi’s post: Do you check with Alexa before parting with your money? Solid advice there!
If you’re a romance writer, I recommend the following companies for which I’ve hosted (random order).
Since you’ve come this far, see if these blog posts are helpful: