Monday, June 22, 2009

Virtual Book Tours--Get Big Visibility for Your Book

Take Your Book on a Blog Tour!

Get High-Visibility, Low-Cost Book Marketing ...
Before Your Book is Even Released

Susan Kendrick

It's always exciting to find an author resource that does something particularly well and that we can pass along as a next book marketing step, one you can count on for results.

That was the case on May 18, when I received a Google Alert (which you know I am a big fan of) about WOW! Women on Writing. The Alert was about the importance of a powerful book title and book cover, but what I found was that the book featured was on a blog tour, and that's where the book cover came into play.

Since then, I have been emailing and talking with WOW! blog tour director, Jodi Webb,, about exactly how WOW! puts its blog tours together, the benefits of a blog tour, pricing, etc. What I discovered is that this group delivers exactly what they promise. They are specific, accountable, calendar-based folks who make things happen. They are my kind of people.

More Marketing Milage for Your Book Cover

Besides the fact that a virtual book tour can do so much so quickly for a new book, the other reason I am excited about this book marketing vehicle is that it is a way to immediately put your new book cover to work. In fact, much of what you will need to provide your blog hosts is already right on your front and back cover.

Because we like to see authors and experts get as much book marketing mileage from their book covers as possible--especially before the book is released--virtual book tours are a natural next step to completing your book cover.

Book Marketing at an Affordable Price

Another reason WOW! blog tours are a next step you should consider is that they are affordably priced, especially for authors who have already invested time and money in their book cover copy, book cover design, starting work with an interior designer, etc. We've heard about and seen first-hand how authors can spend large amounts of money on monthly retainers with PR companies and other marketing ventures that do not usually guarantee any results and therefore too often do not deliver. I realize this isn't always the case, but it is heartbreaking to see authors invest in something that does not give back to them and their books.

Here then is what I have learned through my conversations with WOW! about how you can arrange for a virtual book tour that gives you a full calendar of guaranteed book reviews, interviews, Q&A sessions, recorded interviews, and more, on blogs that are hand-picked to get you in front of the people interested in your topic.

At a Glance -- a Virtual Book Tour Enables You To:

_ Appear on up to 15 blogs in four weeks
_ Build a following for your you, your book, and your expertise
_ Get seen by the people most interested in what you have to offer
_ Generate leads for more appearances, review, and interviews

I will make a disclaimer and say that I know there are other groups and individuals who host virtual book tours, but WOW! are the people I have gotten to know.

Here is what I compiled as a result of my conversations with Jodi:

Susan: How Long Does a Blog Tour Last?

Jodi: Our blog tours last 3 to 4 weeks and include 12 to 15 “appearances” starting at The Muffin, the blog for WOW-Women on Writing where we hold a contest giving away a copy of your book. The appearances range from interviews (email or telephone depending on the bloggers preference), book reviews, articles by our authors either on writing or something related to their book or life, to a book giveaway (with an enthusiastic blurb about your book of course).

Susan: How do you customize these tours?

: Let's take Sybil Baker's tour with her novel The Life Plan* as an example. Her blog tour included writer's blogs, blogs written by women (the main character was female), blogs by expats (the novel was about an expat), travel blogs (she guest posted about her travels), blogs for travel writers (she traveled extensively).

Another was Rachel Dillon's children's nonfiction book Through Endangered Eyes.* She visited parenting blogs, librarian/teacher blogs, nature blogs (it was about endangered animals), travel blogs (the artwork was inspired by Australian native art), green living blogs, writer blogs, children's writing blogs.

(Susan: *Please note that while these two examples from Jodi are about fiction books, she also arranges an equal number of tours for non-fiction books and arranges tours for a wide range of books written by both men and women.)

Susan: What is the format of a blog appearance?

Jodi: Every blogger is different, but blog appearances usually take the form of an interview (conducted by phone or email), book review, guest post or article by the author, or phone interview posted as a recording. Interview formats, for example, generally consist of a recap of the book and and/or the author's life and 5-8 questions about some interesting aspect of the book or author's experience. But rest assured that each interview is completely different. We would never dream of sending the same 8 questions to each author! Although we do usually end the interview with a "What are you up to now?" opportunity to brag about their upcoming projects.

Susan: What else do you do to get exposure for the book and the author?

Jodi: We offer bloggers the opportunity of giveaways. However I tailor this to each author's wishes. Some authors will say, "I only have ARCs to give bloggers" or "I can only give away 5 copies but I can send everyone a pdf of the book." So I determine which bloggers we should offer the print copies to. Or, an author indicates they would prefer to do interviews instead of posts. So I "steer" the bloggers toward interviews during our initial emails.

Susan: It seems that the benefit to the author is that blog readers get to know the author in a more personal way. And, when you care about and trust the author, you care about and trust the book. And, when that happens, you ideally buy the book. Is that the general dynamic of the blog tour?

Jodi: Yes, we do feel the blog appearances are like a good friend saying "I just heard about this great book." Readers come to trust the blogger and their recommendations--that's why we try so hard to fit the right book with the right blogs.
Our authors have been very happy with the way WOW! Blog Tours present them to readers--often readers they may not reach doing publicity on their own. Authors also appreciate the time we save them--time to write their next book, be with family, or attend live events.

Getting Started ...

Susan: Great. So, how does an author get started working with you?

Jodi: The first step is for you to answer our Author Survey so we can get a better feel for you and your book and match you with the ideal blogs for you. Then we approach these blogs about your book and receive a list of dates. After the dates are set, we get all the information from the bloggers about what they need (book cover image, article, review copy, etc.) and remind you of what needs to be done. We also set up a Google calendar to help keep you on track.

Susan: How much does a blog tour cost?

Jodi: A WOW Blog Tour costs $250. The only additional cost to the author(or publisher) is for the cost and shipping for any books sent to bloggers or given as contest prizes. You can save money in this instance by having a pdf of your book available to give away.

The $250 cost for a WOW Blog Tour of 12-15 appearances includes the following:
• Locate highly trafficked/commented blogs related specifically to the author’s book and target audience
• Schedule the dates
• Help the author determine guest post topics
• Send author pics/excerpts/book cover images/book trailers to bloggers
• Set up a Google Calendar for the author
• Remind the author of dates
• Check to make sure the blogger posts what they promised
• Run interference between the author and the bloggers and any other advice or help the author needs
• Create and send out a dedicated e-mail newsletter to WOW’s subscriber base of 20,000+ subscribers
• Publicize the author’s tour on social networks
• Provide an events calendar that readers can add to their Google home page and/or blog
• The author is responsible for emailing guest posts, answering interview questions, and mailing out copies as needed in a timely manner. Postage and cost is responsibility of the author/publisher.

What You Need to Go on Tour

Susan: You will want to provide the following information / materials to each blog host on your tour.

_Book Synopsis
What is your book is about? You can use your back cover and flap copy to provide this “elevator speech” about your book

_5 Topics You Can Be Interviewed on or Provide Articles About
Provide the blogger with at least five topics you would be willing to post on. Please include two types of topics. Give each of these topics a great title, one that will capture people’s interest.
You will want to develop these like you would any good headline or media story angle. Let us know if you need help with this,

_Review Copies
Would you be willing to provide bloggers with review copies of your book, e-book copies or excerpts, or other promotional products for giveaways?

Also be ready to provide the following:
_ Book Front Cover
_ Author Bio
_ Author Photo

Related Considerations / Questions
_Who is your audience?
What is the main group that will be interested in either you or your book. Also, what other related facts about you or your book are of interest and to whom?

_Desired Visibility
What group would you like to reach that you haven't yet?

_Timing / Scheduling
Do you have a preference for when you would like to start a blog tour?

Do you have a pdf file of your book or a downloadable excerpt?

_Additional Appearances
During or after your 12-15 appearances on the blogs selected for your tour, you may get asked by other blogs to do additional appearances on their blogs. You can either arrange for these on your own or wait and use these requests to arrange another blog tour, with the same 3-4 week lead/prep time.

As you can see, a blog tour or Virtual Book Tour is a great way to get meaningful exposure to your target audience, sell books, and create leads for even more appearances. If you have questions about getting your book, book cover, or topics ready for a tour, please email us at or give us a call at 1-888-634-4120. We hope you will look into WOW! and Jodi Webb's blog tour services as a next book marketing step for your book at!


Susan Kendrick, Write to Your Market, Inc. All Rights Reserved., 1-888-634-4120.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Book Website Copywriting

10 Steps for Increasing Your Book Website Visibility


If you don't already read Entrepreneur magazine or visit the
Entrepreneur website, put it on your list of things to do. Both the magazine and the website offer information, advice, and inspiring examples of entrepreneurs like you making a name for themselves and growing successful businesses, often in very narrow niche markets.

Here's an article that showed up in a Google Alert for "Book Website Copywriting" a couple of days ago. This 10-step checklist is a good way to make sure you're set up to get the most online visibility for your book website. Depending on how much you interact with your own website, these tips are simple to implement, especially the first five. I have included them below.

You can link here to the final five tips and this
Entrepreneur magazine article in its entirety. (See how I just created that link based on advice in step #5, below.)

Take a look at this "must do" SEO list for getting your book website seen.

1. Title tag ()
This is most important of all. If you have the title tag set up right, and it's a unique enough phrase, you could rank on page one for this alone.
Write your keywords early in the title, and place your company name last--unless you are Coca-Cola, or have a huge brand.

2. Meta tags
Description--(see code in artile) . Place your page content description between the blank quotes with a call to action statement like, "Sign up here," or "Call us at 800 XXX-XXXX."
Keywords--(see code in article) . Place keywords between the quotation marks after "content," separated by commas. Google ignores this, but it appears that other search engines still review it.

3. Header tags
H1--This HTML tag should contain your core keywords, one per page.
H2--This HTML tag should contain derivatives of the keywords.

4. Body
Content--Use content that matches the keywords on your site. You should ideally have 400 to 800 words on a page.
Bolding--Include bolded keywords that match your topic/theme on the page.

Create a blog--Wordpress is an amazing blog that is free and can easily be optimized via plug-ins. Then, write entries twice a week.

5. Linking
Use links and anchor text to create popularity and reputation around keywords (example: don't link to just "click here," but create a better link like, "download the digital camera white paper").

Again, with just a little knowledge of how to interact with your book website's source code, these tips are easy to put in place if they are not in
place already. You can also ask your web designer for help.

If you have questions about these tips or other book marketing and website questions, please email us at

Still working on your book or book website?
Be sure to download your Free Book Cover Timeline. This is a complete checklist of what to do, when to do it, and how long each step will take.

And, please contact us if you need help creating a bestselling book title, subtitle, back cover sales copy, series name, or other book marketing copy. Email us at or call 1-888-634-4120, whether you need start-to-finish help or just a critique and consultation.


Susan Kendrick, Write to Your Market, Inc. All Rights Reserved., 1-888-634-4120.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Where to Use Your Book Cover to Market Your Book

10 Places You May Not Have Considered

Susan Kendrick

I had an interesting conversation today with a self publishing author whose back cover copy we just finalized.
This author has good marketing sense, a great book, his gorgeous new front cover, and an innovative way of looking at things. So, we were both surprised when I suggested that he use his front cover on one side of his new business card for his medical practice, and he said he had never thought of that. He said this was the solution to the question that's been running through his mind--how to mention his book on his card.

But why just mention your book when you can show it?

This was just his particular blind spot, But, we all have them, so I thought it would be a good idea to create a list of the places you can use your book's front cover to get as much visibility for your book, your brand, and your credibility as a published (or soon-to-be-published) author as possible.

Now that this author has his completed front cover (title, subtitle, tagline, and design) and his back cover copy in hand, he can start promoting and building buzz for this book while he's completing it. One of the first things he's going to do is use his new front cover and back cover copy to approach the people from whom he most wants to get endorsements. We can then add these endorsement to the back cover (where we have left room) before his book and cover go through final production and printing.

s he gets the rest of his book publishing and book marketing efforts going, here are the places he can use his book cover to get the most visibility on a daily basis. Whether you have a new book on the way or have already published a book, consider using these ideas, too.

10 Places to Use Your Book Front Cover:

_ Signature on your emails
_ Your business card and letterhead
_ Each page of your website
_ Your blog
_ Your comments on other blogs
_ With articles you submit to online newsletters
_ In the package you send out to get testimonials
_ Each page of your book's media kit
_ Your speaker one sheet
_ ANY place in your social networking profiles where you are currently using your own photo
Happy Book Publishing!

Susan Kendrick, Write to Your Market, Inc. All Rights Reserved., 1-888-634-4120.