After completing four of my own virtual book tours, I can tell you from experience that preparation plays a key role in the success of your tour. A discussed previously, you need to choose your tour stops and invite invite hosts, but you also must plan the content you will provide. Additionally, you need to determine how you will make time to produce those posts—anywhere from two or three to 30. And you need to keep track of all the moving pieces—hosts, deadlines, content, social media promotion, etc.
This means you need to manage a lot of things, and planning helps—a lot!
Plan Your Time
If your tour includes 20 stops in 31 days, which is fairly common, you need 20 pieces of content. And you need the time to produce that content.
Let’s say five bloggers agree to send you interviews, and they provide you with the questions. Great! You simply need to answer their questions. You don’t need to plan anything at all; you must only respond to the questions in a unique manner—even if the questions are the same ones you were asked all five times.
If any of these hosts want you to provide questions, you need to plan out these queries. It’s best to make the questions different from interview to interview. This makes them interesting—for you and for readers. This also gives you an opportunity to angle the interview in any way you like, such as toward your book.
You still need to write 15 blog posts. You may need to do this in addition to your regular blog posts and any other writing or work you do on a daily or weekly basis.
My virtual blog tours typically include about 25 interviews and posts. This is a huge amount of extra writing for me, especially since I have four blogs, which requires me to write a total of between five and seven posts per week. I also write two posts for bloggers every month and have two other additional writing assignments. As you can imagine, I have to schedule in time to meet this commitment—and so will you. On my last tour, I left much of the writing to the last minute (two weeks prior to the tour), and I was really stressed!
Don’t forget that your tour also may include podcasts, Google Hangout sand radio appearances. You need to make time in your schedule for these as well. Plus, you need to prepare for these media appearances.
Plan Your Content
One of the most important planning steps I take involves mind mapping the possible blog posts I can provide to my virtual book tour hosts. When I’m done with this process, I have a list of potential posts with titles I can provide to hosts. They can choose from these titles.
I typically go through each chapter of my book and develop ideas for posts (see image above). I give them tentative titles; these might change slightly after I write the post. I mark them off as hosts choose them (see the green check mark).
Plan Your Stops and Your Progression
I also use the mind maps to keep track of:
- Tour stops, dates and the content I must provide
- Additional bloggers to contact
- Additional media to contact
- What emails you need to send out (invitations, follow-ups or thanks you notes)
In this way I can track what I need to do, how much I’ve done (which feels great), and what I still need to do.
Your Virtual Blog Tour Kit
The last thing you need to prepare is a virtual blog tour kit, which is much like a media kit. This includes your bio, head shot, a summary of your book, a list of potential questions and/or talking points, a book pitch, all the pertinent information about your book, including:
- Number of pages
- ISBN number
- Release date
- Name of person who wrote the foreword
- Links to purchase the book
Also include an excerpt of the book. And be prepared to send along a PDF of the book, an ebook version or a printed copy to all your hosts if requested.
Track Your Stops
Of course, unless you have someone managing your tour, you might want to have some sort of chart, maybe in Excel or a mind map, to help you keep track of all your virtual book tour stops. Amazingly (or not), sometimes a tour stop doesn’t happen or you forget to send something out to a host.
Plus, you need to publicize every post and stop by the blogs to check for comments—and leave a reply. This might require a bit of tracking as well.
With preparation, a virtual book tour can go off without a hitch. And it can be managed without much disruption in your daily schedule as well as without too much stress. If some of this feels like too much for you, get help. There are numerous companies out there that would be happy to help you plan your tour. And, again, here are some resources to support you as you plan one for yourself.