- by Kathryn Shay
I thought I’d give an insider’s view of the Virtual Book Tour I’ve been doing for THE PERFECT FAMILY, my September release, out today from Bold Strokes Books. This is my third tour but by far the most extensive one yet. I’m visiting over thirty sites for blogs and interviews, plus other sites are publishing reviews from ARC’s the press has sent out. I decided to spend all this time on a virtual tour because THE PERFECT FAMILY is out of my previous genre and I wanted to do everything I could to promote it. And you can do it, too.
1. Sign up with a reputable tour site. I’m using Pump Up Your Book with Dorothy Thompson. (http://www.pumpupyourbook.com/). She’s been tireless in sending the topics/questions to me and then sending them to the appropriate places for the day’s entry. Schedule the tour months in advance. Make sure you get a coordinator who’s going to send the posts, along with photos. to the site. I didn’t have to post the blogs and interviews myself, which is a huge time saver.
2. The coordinator has to pick the appropriate websites. For my first two tours, I went to only romance sites. For this one, I needed women’s fiction/general fiction sites. All of these sites don’t know Kathryn Shay, so it’s been fun to “meet” new people and hopefully broaden my base. It’s also been enjoyable reading reviews from people who don’t know Kathryn Shay. Thankfully, all of them so far have been effusive in their praise of the book.
3. Plan ahead. We sent review copies back in July, and I started writing blogs right away. Clear your schedule as much as you can, but it’s possible to be writing at the same time. I’m involved in putting up my backlist on e-publishing sites, plus I’ve taken on another important writing project, so I have to work on those, too. Create the blogs and answer the interview questions way in advance. You can’t save anything for the last minute, which luckily is how I work anyway.
4. That said, it’s exhausting. Trying to write a few each week and then you have to check back to each site and respond to that day’s post for comments. And because I have a personal life, I’ve been stressed doing it. I can only hope it’s worthwhile, sales wise. I will tell you my Facebook page got 268 more hits the week I started this.
5. You can reuse parts of the blogs you do for other sites, though I haven’t reused the whole blog.
6. My own blog and Facebook page for these two months are simply a posting of where I’ll be that week. Later on, after the tour is over, I may post some of the more interesting blogs or interviews on my personal site.
7. As for content, some sites ask for specific things (the story behind the book) and some don’t. Interestingly, the interviews repeat questions, too.
8. Proofread, proofread, proofread your posts. Some of the sites indicate they could be syndicated so they have to be perfect. This is the hardest part for me—and I was an English teacher. It’s amazing what errors you miss in your own work.
9. It’s not necessary to give away pricey books at each site. I didn’t because my book’s cost is $16.95. I didn’t ask the press to provide these, either, because they already provided ARC’s, but you might want to try that.
10. Posts and interviews should be as creative as possible. One important thing I learned is to let my personality shine through each one.
In case you’d like to see what I’ve done, here’s the link to the tour.
And last, think of buying my book :-). It’s the story of an average family whose life is thrown into turmoil when their seventeen year old son is gay. It’s the book of my heart and a joy to see in print.