Author, Actor, Playwright, Excellent Parallel Parker

Rules of the Lake and Ashes to Water are now available for Kindle and Nook!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Are Virtual Book Tours Better Than the 'Real Thing?' Putting Ashes to Water to the Test.

If, like me, you’re of the Pong Generation of Technology, you probably thought a Book Tour was where your publisher’s marketing team sent you to a venue in ten or more cities, where, you hope, adoring fans await you with your book clutched to their chests.

Book Tours are virtual, now. You don’t have to “go” anywhere. Instead, you troll the web for book bloggers, query them in much the same way you might query an agent, and if they’re interested in reviewing your book, you send one.

Until I started promoting Ashes to Water, I'd never heard of a book blog. Apparently, there are tons of them out there (perhaps you write one yourself, in which case, HI!) and they seem to be the conduit du jour for introducing authors, new and known, to a readership. They have power, these book bloggers. Why? Because they read. They have opinions about what they read, and they share them. They may also cross-post their reviews on book club sites such as Goodreads, Library Thing or Shelfari. Before you know it, there are circles within circles of readers talking about your book, and building your readership.

No wonder certain publishers pay Amazon hefty fees to distribute review copies to their most prolific reviewers. And no wonder it’s working! Readers love free books! They also love talking about books they’re reading, and feel flattered when someone solicits their opinions. They feel empowered, which feeds the cycle. It’s a model that benefits everyone.
But how to find them?

I started with Rebecca. I found her on Twitter (@bookladysblog), which led me to her blog. I read her reviews, then started following some of the bloggers she followed on Twitter. It turns out Rebecca is a founding partner of SocialMediU, which specializes in helping writers use social media to promote their books. When Rebecca took me under her wing and suggested I let TLC Book Tours “do the reading,” I said, put me in touch.

TLC trolls the internet for the best bloggers, and for a fee, will put my book in the hands of ten Scribners, who will review Ashes to Water. TLC does NOT guaranteed a positive review. If anything, they favor bloggers who have a record of thoughtful analysis, and with that comes a fair share of thumbs down.

I have no idea if this will be worth the money, but something tells me it will. If you look at my tour schedule, you’ll see I’m in 10 cities over the summer, and all of them involve airfare. While my 10-city tour is quantifiable over the short term, any success from the TLC Book Tour is not measurable, and will probably be felt, if at all, over the long term. So I dunno. But I’m game.

After all, it’s what all the young, savvy, technically proficient writers are doing.  And hey. I may have cut my teeth on Pong, but with SocialMediU and TLC Book Tours in my corner, I am sooooo right now.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Welcome to the world of book-blogging!

    I love your post and wish you the best of luck on your blog tour.

    I do, however, take issue with your description of book bloggers. I think there is more to us than that. We aren't just 'Scribblers', 'Scholars', and 'Scribners'. I'd love to say I'm a 'Scribner', but honestly, I don't think I really am. I don't always want to delve deeply into a book's meaning. Sometimes I just want to enjoy its story.

    Since I enjoy reading memoirs sometimes, I can't really get into what the author 'really meant' because it's already there in the text.

    I hope authors won't eschew my blog because I'm not a good fit for any of the categories you've described. What I am is a writer who also loves to read. I want to share that love and enthusiasm with anyone interested in reading my blog. Anyone who does so will get an honest, thoughtful review.

    Again, best of luck! I am sure you will find success. Blog tours are a wonderful thing!

  3. I haven't read any of your words printed on paper pages in a bound book but adore your blog, to the point I'm using it as a model for my own blog/website.

    From Karen, a fellow Ponger.

  4. Alison, I get what you're saying and agree that my categories do not show the whole picture. I hope I got it across that I think book bloggers are doing wonderful things for books, readers and writers. You guys are changing the way "things are done," and my hat is off to you.

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