Wednesday, May 2, 2012

The 411 on Virtual Book Tours

I've been on a promo kick lately, exploring things authors can do to get news of their book's release out there. Today, my research leads me to book tours, the virtual kind.

So, WHAT IS a virtual book tour (VBT)?

Yeah, I'm sure most of you already know the answer, and even more of you have already signed up for a few VBTs (hey, what can I say, I'm a little behind on the times!).  But I'll just start from the basics here.  My favorite answer for this question comes from Tristi Pinkston:

"A virtual book tour is a tour that takes place on the Internet. Instead of the author driving from town to town or flying from state to state, their book is featured on blogs which reach readers all across the country. This creates name recognition for the author, title recognition for the book, and it all happens from the comfort of home or office, without the need to catch a red-eye flight to Chicago."

And WHY choose the VBT path?

Seriously, I could probably just quote Tristi all day on this answer too, but I'll try to paraphrase this time!

-Cuts down on the cost of trying to do a physical book tour (hotels, gas, plane tickets, meals). 

-You can reach more people. From only the dozens who may attend your physical book signing, here hundreds, even thousands, can attend a blog...from their own home, in their underpants if they like!

-More time effective. At a physical tour, people have to plan to be at one spot and one time. Then it's over and the opportunity to visit with you...gone!  On a blog, your page can be up for months, maybe even years, after the first day it posts. Visitors can stop by whenever they like.

-And most importantly, not only can visitors stop by while wearing their underpants, but you can too.  No need to worry about doing your hair, getting that expensive french manicure and trying to figure out which unflattering outfit you should wear this time. No one will see you, woo hoo!

-Plus you get to meet people from ALL over the world, from places you never even imaged you could visit.

So...HOW do VBT "coordinators" come into the picture?

-When you don't have the time to approach all the bloggers yourself, a good coordinator will come in to help with that part to set up and schedule days and events on each blog.

-When you don't know which bloggers to approach--honestly, how do you know which of them will give you the best exposure possible unless you research it...a lot--a good coordinator will come in to help with that too and contact them all for you.

-When you want it done a little more professionally than you can possibly do it yourself--yeah, HOW do you make those cool blog tour buttons??--a good coordinator will come in to help with that.

The only thing is, hiring a VBT coordinator costs money (yeah, that green stuff I never seem to have). To have a professional VBT coordinator set you up with a book tour, it costs anywhere from ten to five hundred dollars. But if you're still intrigued by this idea (like I was) and would like to go to someone for help with a virtual blog tour then...

WHERE do you find a VBT coordinator?

Okay, now this is actually the part I've spent a lot of time researching, trying to find all the good places I might want to approach with my next story coming up in September (I'm still not sure if I want to try doing a VBT on my own...sigh). These are all the legitimate-looking VBT coordinators I could find.

And is it just me or would an internet yellow pages be really useful for these kind of searches?  (Now if someone tells me there IS an internet yellow pages for these kind of searches, I'm going to be steamed because it took me a long freaking time to find all these sites, grr!).

Anyway... THE LIST (in alphabetical order):

Bewitching Book Tour
Pricing : $25 to $100
Specializing in :  paranormal, urban fantasy, and paranormal erotica

Book and Trailer Showcase
Pricing : $35 to $175
Specializing in : Multi-Fiction Genre (all sub-genres welcome) including romance, sci fi, fantasy, mystery, thriller, horror, paranormal, young adult.  Inspirational and Christian coming soon.

Charisma Media Network
Pricing : $35 to $140
Specializing in : Fiction.

Coffee Beans and Love Scenes
Pricing : $14.95 to $49.95
Specializing in :  authors of ALL fiction genres and will no longer be limited to the romance fiction genre only.

Dark Mind Book Tours
Pricing : $20 to $120
Specializing in : Urban/Dark Fantasy, Paranormal Romance and even Dark Erotica.

Enchanted Book Promotions
Pricing : $9 to $99
Specializing in : geared towards self-published authors or authors published with a small publishing company.

Ever After PR
Pricing : $25 to $80
Specializing in : Fiction.

Goddess Fish Promotions
Pricing : $40 to $160
Specializing in : romance fiction (in all its sub-genres: fantasy, suspense, paranormal, historical, etc), other genre fiction and Young Adult / Middle Grade fiction

Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours
Pricing : not listed
Specializing in :  Historical Fiction

Honey Bee Promotions
Pricing : $10 to $70
Specializing in :  Romance; from Erotic to Sweet, from Historical to Science Fiction. 2012 update: We are now accepting Young Adult authors

Kismet Book Touring
Pricing : $10 to $70
Specializing in : YA, MG, Paranormal, Mystery & Suspense, Romance, Fantasy, etc.

Literary Exposure
Pricing : $299 to $599
Specializing in : Subsidiary of Pump Up Your Book!

Lightning Book Promotions
Pricing : $99
Specializing in : Independent and Small Press authors.

Mystical Book Blog Tours
Pricing : Get Quote
Specializing in :  Doesn't specify but I'll go out on a limb and say paranormal, sci fi, mystical fiction stories

Nia Virtual Book Tours
Pricing : not listed
Specializing in :  African American Books

Parajunkie (PJV Book Tours)
Pricing : $120 to $450
Specializing in : Fiction & Speculative fiction

Premier Virtual Authors Book Tours
Pricing : not listed
Specializing in :  Not mentioned

Philia Book Tours
Pricing : $25 to $99
Specializing in : Geared toward helping mid-list, small press and self-published authors. (Formally called Red Hot Tours)

Promotional Book Tours
Pricing : $99 to $299
Specializing in :  Fiction and non-fiction

Pump Up Your Book!
Pricing : $299 to $599
Specializing in :  Fiction or Non-fiction. Some of these blogs on the tour are syndicated into USA Today, Chicago Times, Wall Street Journal and other high trafficked

Sizzling PR
Pricing : $10 to $50
Specializing in :  fiction romance genres, paranormal, urban fantasy, erotica and more

Supa Gurl Tours
Pricing : $100
Specializing in :  Paranormal, paranormal romance, dystopian, urban fantasy, thrillers, and I think young adult

The Virtual Book Tour Cafe
Pricing : $30 to $360
Specializing in :  Fiction and non fiction

Tempting Book Tours
Pricing : $45 to $105
Specializing in :  Fiction

TLC Book Tours
Pricing : $25 to $100
Specializing in :  Fiction and non-fiction. No self-published authors accepted

Tywebbin Creations
Pricing :  $100 and up
Specializing in :  Christian / inspirational fiction & non fiction

Virtual Book Tours by Tristi Pinkston
Pricing : $100 to $300
Specializing in :  (not accepting new clients right now --as of April 2012)

Walker Author Tours
Pricing : $100 and up
Specializing in :  Not mentioned

YA Bound
Pricing : $50 to $200
Specializing in :Young Adult fiction

So, yeah, obviously some coordinators are a little more professional than others and offer a few more features like more blog stops, graphics, and such. I haven't used any of these services (yet!) so I cannot personally endorse or vouch for any one of them but I've visited a couple stops hosted by a few of them (and those seemed fine!).

Do you know of any more coordinators I could add to the list?  Have you worked with any of them?  Any input would be much appreciated.

Oh, and it seems like most of these coordinator sites I've visited welcome more bloggers to help host some of their tours so if you have a pretty heavy-traffic blog, this might be the thing to help you come up with some new posts!!

(Post originally aired on 4/13/12 at the Linda Kage Blog Page)


Ute Carbone said...

Great List, Linda! I'm doing it myself, which may be a little like self-root-canal...We'll see. Next time through, I might just take the plunge and let somebody set things up for me. A few writer friends have recently used These Paper Worlds for blog tours. The jury's still out as to how well it went..

Linda Kage said...

Ooh, I haven't heard of These Paper Worlds. Let us know how the jury rules. Thanks, Ute!

Big Mike said...

Very thought. Not a month goes by I don't learn of another promo avenues. The key is to know which ones are worth the effort. Got several articles on my website that discuss two dozen self promo activities and how effective they were. Once you evaluate the return on investment of this one, let us know. Thanks mucho.

Michael Davis (
Author of the Year (2008 and 2009)
Award of Excellence (2011)

Julie Eberhart Painter said...

Looks like a good plan or series of plans.

I'm printing out.

January Bain said...

Thanks so much! Certainly food for thought!

Shevi Arnold said...

Great list! Thanks for putting it together. I used Bewitching Blog Tours for my YA literary fantasy,Toren the Teller's Tale, and my YA romantic ghost story,Ride of Your Life. It was money well spent.

Right now I'm trying to find someone who can handle my funny, YA science-fantasy novel, Why My Love Life Sucks. I don't know why it's so hard to find book bloggers who enjoy comedy, but it is. There are plenty of romance and YA paranormal book bloggers out there, not so many comedy or sci-fi ones. Wish me luck!