Author Information & FAQs
Congratulations on your book and we would be delighted to plan, schedule and promote a Virtual Book Tour for you.
We work hard to place your book with genre specific book bloggers who love to read and review books and who write their reviews not only on their blogs but many will often post them on the likes of Amazon and Goodreads too.
If you are unsure as to what a Virtual Book Tour is or perhaps some aspects of it are unclear, we have produced the following FAQs which should help. However, if anything remains unclear please do not hesitate to contact us and we will do our best to answer your questions.
Frequently Asked Questions
A traditional book tour usually involves an author promoting their book at bookstores, libraries, literary fairs or perhaps giving a talk at meetings and trying to sell the book afterwards. It involves visiting different towns and cities and this can be time consuming and costly as the physical location has to be booked and prepared beforehand, there is local advertising required to promote the event, travelling and accommodation costs, and time away from either work or continuing with writing.
Because a Virtual Book Tour is online there are no physical locations so an author can tour from the comfort of their own home and promote their book to a lot more people.
Using a coach tour as an example, a tour like this would have a start and end date and in between would stop at different places; a Virtual Book Tour will also consist of a start and end date and involve various stops at different places too and these places are usually blogs run by people who are passionate about books and who often provide a free review service in exchange for a free book. Usually referred to as bloggers, in the Virtual Book Tour world they also referred to as ‘hosts’ or ‘tour hosts’.
Unless you are an author at the top of your game, most authors need to market and promote their book in order for people to be aware of its existence. It does not matter whether you are an author with a new book or an author with a book that has been in print for a while and sales have declined or perhaps sales are good and you want to reach a new audience; marketing and promotion are not just necessary they are key features and an important part of any sales strategy.
Unfortunately your book will not sell itself and there is only one thing that will sell your book – YOU. In order for that to happen you need increased exposure thus enabling your book to be seen not just by more people but by people who love books and reading. The more book lovers who know about it the greater the chance of increasing your fan base, achieving some sales and receiving those all important positive reviews which are like gold in the book world.
Remember too that when a book signing at a local bookstore is over, you go home and if you are lucky there may be an article of the event in a local newspaper but little else. With the internet any recommendations, reviews and conversations about your book stay there for years and are picked up by search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo. So when someone searches for your book on Google, multiple listings would appear and this shows that your work is being talked about, that it is known and ‘out there’ and it helps create a positive experience for an interested person. Today most of us will check out a product on the internet before purchasing and look for reviews and recommendations; book buyers are no different.
- Authors can set their own goal(s) for a tour (ask yourself what do you want from a tour?)
- Authors can decide on the length of their tour from the tours offered or request a tailor-made tour
- A tour helps an Author increase their online exposure
- Authors can increase their audience too, often finding new fans and customers and there are opportunities to interact with them
- Authors may increase their book reviews* on the likes of Amazon and Goodreads
- Reviews, write-ups and links to an author’s book and website are lasting and could bring new readers in the future
- A Virtual Book Tour build interest in a book and gets people talking about it
- Tours are much less expensive than a traditional book tour e.g. no travelling or accommodation costs; no hiring of venues; no localised publicity costs; no time off work or away from writing
* Book reviews are a free service offered by tour hosts (bloggers). A host’s opinion is their own and Author Media has no influence over what they write as that would be unethical. Be aware they are free to write both positive and negative reviews so it is important to ensure your book’s condition is the best you can offer. Spelling mistakes, poor grammar, poor layout and a poorly written MS will all lead to poor reviews; alternatively if your book has been edited and re-edited a number of times and you have researched and written well, then your book is likely to receive a much more positive reception. Author Media makes no guarantees on an author receiving all good reviews as the opinions expressed are solely those of the host.
Below are details of the types of tour stops an author could make.
A Review Post
A review post is where a host (blogger) leaves a review of what you have written and usually this will also include:
- A cover image of your book
- A brief outline of your book
- Links so readers can purchase your book
- Author biography
- Links to your social network pages
- Some hosts may rate your book with a star system
Most tours will include some reviews.
Seeing yourself as a reader and someone who buys a book from time to time, you will know the importance of reviews and how they have become an integral part of the buying process. Who goes to Amazon now and blindly buys a book without reading its reviews? Hardly anyone. Most people rely on reviews to help them decide whether or not to purchase and having good reviews from impartial people can help someone make that decision.
A cover reveal is just what the name suggests and the blog post will show your book cover. Authors use this when they want to create interest for their book and potential readers will visually connect with it so it is important you have a cover that will stand out (for all the right reasons) and grab their attention.
You can schedule a cover reveal before your book is published and get people talking about your work before it is even released.
A cover reveal post can include links to pre-order your book or to sign up to your mailing list so they can be notified when your book is ready to purchase. Be careful though that you do not let too much time lapse between a cover reveal and when your book is published as people will forget your book and any momentum gained will be lost. You will also need to make sure that the cover is totally ready as the last thing you want is for a change to be made to any of the graphics or even the title. How embarrassing would that be?
Cover reveals are not exclusively for creating interest prior to release as they can be a useful way for a host to tell their readers about your work when they do not have time to read and review your entire book. They will include things like a book description, extract, author bio, links on where it can be purchased and the cover itself.
Be aware that even if people do not buy your book immediately, they will have the image of your cover in their minds and if they see it on someone else’s blog or on Amazon in the future, they are more likely to buy.
• First Chapter Reveals
This too is more or less what the title suggests; a host posts (reveals) the first chapter of your book to their readers. The purpose is to gain interest in your writing so that people will then go and buy your book.
Most authors today know readers should be hooked well before the end of the first chapter and ideally, what you want that first chapter to do is leave readers eager to purchase your book so they can continue reading. Leave them wanting more.
First Chapter Reveals are straightforward and you can simply send the host blogger your first chapter. Be aware that blog readers on the whole, are reluctant to read thousands of words so if your first chapter is over this count, consider sending a few pages ensuring the cut-off point is at a crucial part of a scene. By doing this you are more likely to hook some readers.
This is similar to a First Chapter Reveal only you can reveal an excerpt from any section of your book so are not limited to the opening section. This is a very popular tour stop and you can use the same extract on different blogs if you wish.
This is something an author writes that the host blogger includes on their blog. The author is credited with the article.
A host may ask you to write a guest post or take up your offer to write one (they know what you are willing to do because we have advised them and you in turn have advised us when you complete the media information kit). We will ask if they have any topic suggestions, however, the majority will often give you free reign. Avoid anything inappropriate and as an example, you would not write a post on the merits of countryside development and land clearance for a blog dedicated to protecting and preserving wildlife and plants in their natural habitat. A good thing to do is look at your host’s blog for inspiration and see what they post and what their audience are commenting on. Keep your post to around 800 words; if it looks too long some people will not read it.
Try and engage with your host’s readers so if your book is about crime in the Victorian age, an option may be to write about detecting methods used at that time or how some have developed through the years. If you write about dog training, offer some free advice but do not hard sell your book as that will not be liked. Remember you are a guest on someone else’s blog and you are taking advantage of the opportunity to speak directly to the readership that they have built up. This readership will often have a strong degree of trust in the host’s recommendations so be thoughtful, creative and polite.
Readers like to know about authors and participating in an author interview is a good way to engage with people. A host may send you some questions and you can type up your responses and we will forward them on or they may ask you to come up with your own questions and answers. Either way you should reply in a timely manner i.e. within a few days.
Nobody knows your characters like you do! so if you feel better ‘being in character’ rather than talking about yourself, then this type of interview is a great opportunity to do something different and give your character life outside of your book. It can also make for very interesting reading for the tour host’s followers and allows an author an unusual opportunity to shine a spotlight on the thoughts, life and behaviour of a single character.
Your tour host may request a specific character who they enjoyed or perhaps there was someone of intrigue or menace that made an impression on them…they may of course leave the character choice up to you. If the latter choose your character wisely and think about who might be the most appealing. Sometimes it is not always a main character who may pique interest (e.g. look at the impact Dobby the house elf had in Harry Potter) but remember to stay in character so most answers will be based on what happened in your book and what the character was thinking or experiencing. There may also be a question or two that has little foundation in your book e.g. your book may disclose your character is from Dublin and nothing else but the question might be ‘What sort of childhood did you have?’ and now you have an opportunity to create something or reveal information from your character profile that did not make it to the book.
Book loving bloggers are often busy and this is why at least 8 weeks’ notice is required – so they can schedule a tour stop in their calendar and allocate the necessary time, which they give freely, to read a book and review it. Sometimes though it is not possible for a blogger to read a book as they are simply too busy but they still might want to participate in a tour and in this case they may offer a book spotlight.
Although basic, a host will add the following to their website which we supply them with: author name, book title, cover image, links on where to purchase and a short text. It still allows for a book to be presented to the host’s readers who may not have known about you before. You can also enhance this with a sound file or video and speak directly to readers too (see below). It is similar to a Cover Reveal but not as in depth.
Some Other Things…
Are you confident enough in front of a microphone to make a sound file where you read an extract from your book? (anything from 5-15 minutes) You can add some introduction music to set the scene, introduce yourself and your book and apply some music to the end as well to round things off.
Perhaps you prefer to do a video where you show your book’s cover, provide a brief description of the book, then read an extract and finally show links where it can be purchased together with the author’s website? (5-15 minutes) The one thing to stress with a video is that it should be quite well made and if the author is to be seen reading, then the setting should be chosen with thought. Despite the amount of time it will take, if you have some presence in front of a camera, it is a good way to really engage with viewers. You can be quite creative too and we have seen some videos where the author is not actually seen but rather a sound file of their narrative has been placed into the video. With one of them the main visual content was a flickering candle in a dark room which set the scene for a murder mystery and with extra sounds added for effect it was very engaging.
If you believe you can offer either (or even both) of these please let us know when you complete your Media Kit information document so we can include the offer in the initial approach to a tour host.
Authors play an active role in their Virtual Book Tours and as a rule, the more involved and willing an author is to participate, the more enjoyment and fulfilling it can be. If you are thinking of booking a tour, you will find the following guidelines important.
- Bearing in mind the type of book you have written and whether its potential audience is large or limited, think about what you want from a tour and set your goal. Although Author Media will aim to include some reviews in your package, be prepared to do some other types of tour stops like interviews, guest blogs or cover reveals.
- When you have decided which tour is for you, book your tour. Alternatively if you feel you prefer a very specific tour, please email us to discuss your requirements.
- Ideally you should book 8 weeks before you would like your tour to commence (longer is even better). This is because book review bloggers are often booked in advance so requests for new reviews require scheduling.
- Once you have paid for a tour, Author Media will ask you for information on your book, links where people can buy it, your author bio, social networking links as well as photographs etc; this is so we can create your media kit, tour banner, tour page and author page on our website. Please send this through as quickly as possible as nothing will commence until we have this.
- Check your…
The full guidelines are supplied in the 4 page document How to Have a Good Virtual Book Tour which is sent to all authors after a tour has been booked together with another useful document How to Optimise your Website for a Virtual Book Tour.
Giveaways are usually, though not exclusively, provided by an author to enhance their Virtual Book Tour and tour hosts (bloggers) are more likely to consider hosting a tour stop when a Giveaway is offered. They can be offered with any type of post.
Who is a Giveaway aimed at?
• Readers’ Giveaways – these are powerful incentives to readers to actively participate in spreading word about a book because the more they do, the more free entries they gain to the Giveaway. Usually an author offers this type of Giveaway.
• Tour Hosts’ Giveaways – although they receive a free book from an author, remember tour hosts do not receive a fee for their services and spend hours reading a book and promoting it on their blog to a readership they have built up. Also, if a tour host offers a review service as well, they will write up their review and this is usually posted not just on their blog but also on the likes of Amazon* and Goodreads*.
Tour host Giveaways are often, though not exclusively, offered by the likes of Author Media as a thank you to hosts for participating in tours though there is nothing to stop an author doing the same thing at the end of tour and once all reviews are posted, especially if they have had an exceptional tour. Giveaways demonstrate an act of goodwill to tour hosts.
What would a Giveaway consist of?
They can be whatever an author would like (within reason), but the most common are copies of your own book (ebook and/or paperback/hardback) or gift vouchers, the latter are usually from Amazon for whatever you think is appropriate (e.g. from £15-£20 and upwards (circa $15-$25). The most popular ones are run by Rafflecopter and these are the ones we will talk about below, but feel free to search for other options and compare them to Rafflecopter as an author can use whatever service they prefer so long as the winner is chosen at random by the service.
Giveaways can consist of multiple prizes and allow multiple winners so you might offer a gift voucher as the top prize and then two copies of your book as an ebook for the 2nd and 3rd prizes.
Giveaways can be for multiple prizes but there is only one winner.
Also, Giveaways can run beyond the length of a tour which is good as it allows time for more people to enter and for an author to increase their following/fan base e.g. a tour may be for two weeks but the Giveaway runs for 28 days.
How many Giveaways would I have to do?
You do not have to do any but you will probably find it beneficial if you did. There is a lot of competition out there from other authors who all want exposure on good blogs and sometimes you have to dangle a carrot in the form of a Giveaway to get people’s attention and to be ahead of the crowd.
You can offer a different Giveaway at each tour stop or one Giveaway for an entire tour.
Benefits of a Giveaway for an Author
In order for people to enter the Giveaway, an author can place certain criteria that the would-be entrant must accomplish before they can enter e.g.:
- they may be required to tweet about your book;
- follow you on Twitter;
- share details of your book on Facebook;
- friend you on Facebook;
- sign up/join the author’s mailing list;
- follow you on Pinterest;
- follow you on Google+
- add your book to Goodreads TBR (to be read) list;
- leave a blog post comment.
Be aware that if you offer your book as the Giveaway some people may hold off purchasing it during a tour and will wait to see if they win one in the Giveaway.
Here is an example of a Rafflecopter Giveaway:
You can see how offering a Giveaway can help build an author’s fan base and if they have joined you on the likes of Facebook or Twitter, then you have an increased and interested audience to communicate directly with on any future marketing events. Some fans may well convert to customers too and purchase your book and if that happens then the chances increase of you receiving reviews too.
What Terms & Conditions are applied to a Giveaway?
They can be whatever is appropriate for you to run a clear and fair Giveaway. Below are two examples of T&Cs and with recent changes at Rafflecopter and Facebook you are required to include disclaimers to both companies too. Again, examples are provided below.
Example 1 (1 prize for an Amazon gift voucher which was in US$)
- No purchase necessary to enter.
- You must be 18 years of age to enter.
- All prizes which require mailing are for US entrants only (unless otherwise indicated).
- The draw will be held the Saturday following the tour’s end date.
- The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning.
- Your entry gives us permission to use your name on our website as a contest winner, as well as on any social networking sites we’re associated with.
- Void where prohibited by law.
Example 2 (2 prizes for 2 ebooks)
- No purchase necessary to enter.
- Giveaway is open internationally.
- Giveaway ends at 11:59pm UTC+0 on August 15th.
- You must be 18 or older to enter.
- Winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter on August 16th and notified via email.
- Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or a new winner is chosen.
Facebook Disclaimer – Entrants should understand that they are providing their information to the Sponsor and not to Facebook. This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook.
Benefits of a Giveaway for a Tour Host
- tour hosts love to blog and they also love visitors to their blog. A Giveaway helps drive traffic to a tour host’s blog thus increasing their readership.
- if a host has advertising on their blog or affiliate links then their earnings from these may well improve due to the increase in readers.
* Note: a tour host, when posting a review on book review sites e.g. Amazon, will include a statement similar to the following at the end of their review in order to comply with Amazon’s rules that they have not received a fee: “I was provided with a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. The opinions expressed are my own.”
We Also Recommend…
Our Services page explains what we do for you as an author and lists our pricing structure.
Before booking any tour we recommend you also read our Terms & Conditions so you are clear about Author Media’s responsibilities during a tour as well as your own.
Ready to book a tour? Then please visit our Book a Tour page.
If you are an aspiring writer, please note that we wish you the very best and encourage you to pursue your dream of publishing your work. However, Author Media is unable to read your unpublished work or provide comment on it.