Sunday, September 02, 2007

News Flash: Authors Promote Their Books on "Blogs"

Once again, the NYT has caught the trough of the wave. This time the latest (and I do mean latest) news is about authors who do guest stints on blogs--"virtual book tours," if you will.

The Author Will Take Q.'s Now by Kara Jesella profiles the Brave New Publicity World of first-time Manhattan author Amy Cohen, a former writer/producer for the TV series "Caroline in the City" and "Spin City." Cohen's memoir, THE LATE BLOOMER'S REVOLUTION, quipped her publicist at Hyperion, wasn't even going to garner her a trip to Scarsdale (30 minutes away by commuter train). The article's "no book tour" premise gets the lie on Cohen's website, which lists July appearances at a Manhattan B&N and Book Soup in Los Angeles. A mere two midsummer appearances on opposite coasts is negligible, though. Cohen could have snagged them herself; maybe she did.

Nevertheless, THE LATE BLOOMER'S REVOLUTION
has made it onto at least one best-seller list [which one?] even without a traditional reading and signing tour. She credits a write-up in People magazine [you think?], along with a newer publishing tool: the blog book tour, in which an author pops up on a series of blogs, usually over days or weeks, variously writing guest posts, answering questions from the host or sitting for a podcast, a video interview or a live chat.
Jesella quotes a senior online marketing manager at HarperCollins
who maintains that the Internet exposes authors to a broader audience than most bookstore readings.
Well, duh! But she neglects to point out that HC is one of the few--if only--houses to have such staff. (And kudos to them, I say. More publishers should follow suit.)

One thing that made me happy about the article was the big fat mention of BookTour.com and accompanying quote by co-founder Kevin Smokler*, who originated the Virtual Book Tour four years ago. Better late than never...

*he's speaking at my LA workshop on the 29th

2 comments:

Cheryl Kaye Tardif, author of Whale Song said...

Blog book tours, aka virtual book tours, aka virtual author tours :) have been around for about 5 years, and started as a result of a handful of authors posting to other blogs to help spread the word about their books. Now this kind of author tour is becoming all the rage. It just isn't feasible to do the physical cross-country bookstore tour anymore. Well, unless you are one of the super authors that get paid the big bucks, like Stephen King or J.K. Rowling.

As a Canadian suspense author, I decided to test out the virtual tour idea and for the entire month of August I was , so to speak, going from blogs across Canada, the US, Australia, Belgium and more. In 31 days I was hosted by about 34 hosts, and I am exhausted! Don't think that just because the tour is via the internet that it isn't a lot of work.

As in your article, I found myself answering tons of questions, doing interviews via text or internet radio, writing articles on a variety of topics, talking about my newest novel
Whale Song but also discussing my others, sending excerpts to my hosts, trivia and more.

A virtual book tour is very challenging, especially when one goes the entire month. My goal was to find unique and interesting things to do at each stop.

And yes, I advertised via BookTour.com. I was invited to join BookTour a few months ago, and was the first Canadian registered with them, I believe. In fact, I asked them to make it available to Canadians and was very happy when they did. I was also spotlighted on their home page, right at the beginning of my VBT (virtual book tour).

In Canada, some bookstores are no longer allowing authors to do book signings. Limited space and time to organize is the common excuse. I do agree, stores have little space, but it really doesn't take much to squeeze in a table. Time? Well, everything takes time, but it really doesn't take much to set up an author for a signing. And I still enjoy the social aspect of a physical bookstore signing. I love meeting my fans...and potential new fans! :)

However, now that I have this 1 month VBT under my belt, I have to admit, there are some definite benefits. The main benefit is viral. Like a cold, my vbt stops will continue to spread even now that I am 'done'. People will still come across them, enjoy them, maybe even try to enter my contests. And I am sure I'll see more sales as a result. And that is the ultimate goal.

Book blog tours, or whatever you want to call them, are an economical and environmentally friendly way to promote a book...and I had a blast with mine! I highly recommend every author try it, at least once. For more information, there is a useful article on Virtual Book Tours at LesTout.com.

Cheryl Kaye Tardif
Bestselling author

Anonymous said...

The Late Bloomer's Revolution by Amy Cohen hit the New York Times Extended Bestseller list. Interesting that they didn't include that in an article in the NY Times. The deep, dark secret of the Extended NY Times Bestseller!