One you’ve chosen the best blog stops for your virtual book tour, it’s time to contact the bloggers and ask them if they are willing to participate in your virtual book tour. You can make these invitations in different ways, but they all require follow up via email and individualization. Plus, this is where the need for planning and organization becomes an important factor.
How to Invite Hosts
Hopefully you will have communicated with potential virtual book tour hosts previously about different matters. Maybe you left comments on their blogs, shared their work or conversed with them on a social network. Now, you send an invitation to participate in you tour.
If you have connected with them on a social network, you might do this initially with a direct message on Twitter or private message on Facebook. You’ll still need to send a follow-up email with details later. The most professional and reliable way to first contact a potential virtual book tour host is by email, though.
Preparing the Invitation
Save time and make the invitation process easier by creating a template for your virtual blog tour invitation. This can include some information about your book and the tour as well as the basic request for the blogger to host you with a guest post, interview, review or excerpt from your book. However, don’t send the exact same invitation to everyone. Personalize your pitch to fit each situation or blogger; mention the name of their blog, for instance., and any details about how you might have had contact in the past. Also change the letter if you plan to suggest a particular type of post.
Like any invitation, you want to include certain elements in it. As you prepare the basic template, be sure you have:
- An introduction
- An invitation to participate
- The tour dates
- A sentence explaining what a virtual book tour is (unless you feel confident they know)
- A list of the benefits hosting you will provide to the blogger and his/her readers or listeners
- The type of content you can provide (or propose to provide)
- A call to action that tells them clearly what they should do next, such as confirm their participation, select a date, select the type of content they want you to provide, etc.
- A conclusion that includes a “thank you.”
Don’t forget to stress that if you provide a guest post or an interview that the content will be unique and full of benefits angled to their audience. You will not give them repurposed material. Explain why you have something special and interesting to offer their audience.
Determining How Many Invitations to Send
You should know how many invitations to send out based upon the list you created of potential hosts. It’s possible that you have a longer list than you need. In any case, plan to send out more invitations than necessary.
If you want 20 stops on your virtual book tour, you might want to start with 25-30 invitations, especially if you don’t know all the bloggers personally and don’t feel certain they will say “yes.” You can always contact more bloggers if you start getting negative responses or add more dates onto your tour if you get a lot of positive responses.
If you don’t get a response after a week, send a follow up email. reference your first email and send them some of the same basic information again. You may choose to send a third follow-up as well—or just give up and move on to a different host.
When you receive positive responses to your invitation, send a different type of follow-up email: a confirmation. Do this immediately. This email should thank virtual book tour hosts for agreeing to participate and give them any additional information. This could include a confirmation of:
- the date of their tour stop
- the type of content you’ll provide or of the fact that they will be sending questions for an interview, doing a review or running an excerpt
- the fact that they will send interview questions or you will write the questions
- word counts for blog posts
- book giveaways
- Twitter handles
- mailing addresses
- invitations to affiliate programs
- the need to send a book and in what format
Have you set up your own blog tour? Do you additional information you feel is valuable to add to the invitation or this initial process? If so, leave it in a comment below.
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