Tuesday, October 26, 2010
Why Virtual Book Tours Work
I began coordinating virtual book tours (VBTs) before they were very popular. Three years later, I have managed tours for nearly 100 authors, spanning over 125 books. There are still a lot of questions out there about virtual book tours, but one of the topics that keeps coming up is, "Do virtual book tours sell books?"
My personal feeling is that a virtual book tour alone, without any push from the author, will not sell books unless that author is someone like Stephen King, Jerry Jenkins, or John Grisham.
Promotional vehicles for unknown or relatively unknown authors are used to create exposure for their books. These vehicles don't guarantee anyone will buy those books, but I've never seen any marketing tool that can 100% guarantee you'll sell anything.
I had experienced some decent sales online and from friends and family when my book first came out. Amazon's original stock of Little Shepherd was depleted and they ordered more. People sent me emails stating they purchased the book from Barnes & Noble.com or they asked me to mail them autographed copies from my stock.
This was great. I felt happy and proud. When I searched my book on Goggle by the title, however, it was hard to find Little Shepherd on the first three pages.
I embarked upon a virtual book tour on October 4th. After only 17 days on tour, look at the results I'm getting now by typing Little Shepherd into Google:
I have results on Page 1, and also pages 2 and 4. Not bad.
Let's take a look at Bing, which is what I prefer to use:
I come in as the 2nd result on Page 1, and the next three results are stops from my virtual book tour with Pump Up Your Book. If I keeping going, I also appear on pages 3, 4, and 5.
My name is also a keyword, but before the tour started I could find results for articles I had written and groups I belong to, but not many tied into the book. Now when I search for "Cheryl C. Malandrinos" in Google, nearly the entire first page has a tie in to Little Shepherd, whether it be a link to to my website, a tour stop, my book trailer for Little Shepherd on YouTube, or a post from the publisher's blog.
The first page of results in Bing wasn't as impressive as Google's, but 3 results had book tie ins, 2 results on the second page, and 3 results on the third page. To be honest, however, I haven't really concentrated on my name as much for a keyword, because I assume Little Shepherd would be a heck of a lot easier to remember than my eleven-letter Greek last name.
One thing I must also point out is that I increased my blogging efforts as soon as Guardian Angel released the book; I purchased my own domain name and created a new website through WordPress; and sought out additional opportunities to be a guest at other people's blogs. In addition, since my virtual book tour started, I have blogged here every day.
Do I believe virtual book tours work? Yes, I do. The proof is in black and white.
When combined with additional efforts from the author, virtual book tours are a very powerful way to create exposure for your book.