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I have been reading a lot lately about Virtual Book Tours. Has anyone of you used this marketing tool? How has it worked out for you? Have you noticed an increase in book sales? Was the cost worth it?

I’d like to know – and that is my question.

Thank you,

Paul

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I have done a teleseminar Ask-type Virtual Book Tour, and I sold 124 books in 6 days surrounding it. I don't know if that's what you mean, or if you mean the blog-type Virtual Book Tour. I like the teleseminar kinds because they seem so much more intimate. Plus, the way they're set up, you can continue to use them to build your list and promote your book.

To me, that's the key. One-time events, such as being on a radio show, are not so effective, especially if there is no call to action. In the kind of teleseminar VBT I do, there's a clear call to action. The key to whether it's effective or not is whether the author makes maximum use of it later.

Alex Mandossian has sold hundreds and even thousands of books in one event, using the Ask-type teleseminar VBT. For more on how these work, visit http://www.virtualbooktourexpert.com.
Yes, I already saw your site on this. I bookmarked it for a closer look when I get time.

Thanks, Diane
I posted this reply and question in you forum "Example of Ask - Type of VBT, but thought I'd go ahead and post it here as well.

I liked Jim’s initial Ask page. I looked over the information on your site. But, unless I’m missing something – or have no imagination, which could very well be the problem, it seems that the Ask VBT System is really more geared to non-fiction books. I have a fiction/fantasy book and I’m not sure how I could make the Ask VBT work for me. What kind of a give away? What would be the "questions"? It's easy to ask questions about child abuse, but how would someone ask questions about a book like mine that they won't know anything about until they read it?
You're right, Paul, that the Ask-type VBT works best for nonfiction.

People might possibly have questions about how you came up with your fantasy world, but as you say, they might not even know what to ask unless you sort of led them. For instance, on the Ask page you might say something like, "What's your question about the fantasy world of X" (if that applies), but it's still doubtful people would write in.

I think for a fantasy book, your best bet would be to create a site that somehow gives people a taste of that "world" you have created. I don't know if that would mean some of the art work, or creating some sort of "extension" of the world you created. An example of this would be like what Charlene Baumbich did for the setting of her Dearest Dorothy series. She created a web site that is ostensibly the "Partonville Press" (Partonville being the fictional town the series is set in). check out http://dearestdorothy.com.

Fiction is always a challenge to market. The Ask-type VBT would probably not be worth the cost of creating it.
Going to stick my nose in here and say something that does not apply to the subject at hand. But just had to do it.

I just LOVE the Dearest Dorothy series. Until now I didn't realize how far and wide she is read. I had the opportunity last month to go to a book signing of hers and see her first hand. It was awesome for me as I live in a small town in Northern East Central Illinois. (You will get that if you have read her books. *grin*) I was also able to talk to her about writing and publishing. Like all of you here, she was very helpful.

BTW, Diane, Charlene has written the last book in the series. It is her latest one. I wondered why it ended the way it did. She told us at the book signing.

Thank you also, Diane, for mentioning this book. It was something I could relate to. It was no coincidence, I think.

Sorry for rambling... Please everyone who reads this, go back to the normal topic. *grin*
Hi Susie,

I will pass this on to Charlene, who is a good personal friend of mine. (Just talked to her the other day--she's heading off on a cruise on Friday!) She'll appreciate your comments.

Diane
I am embarrassed. *shy smile* I was going on and on and you knew all the time. Sorry! I just get so excited about things sometimes. And her series of books gets me excited!!!! hahaha
No embarrassment necessary! How could you know I knew her? I just wanted to let you know that I can pass on your comments to her, and that she will really appreciate it.
Thank you, Diane!!!!

Now everyone can get back to VBT's LOL...
Thank you for your comments, Diane.

Susie, you're welcome to comment on anything, anytime. Thanks for contributing.

Diane, I think maybe, if I can generate enough interest in my book through other means first – website and blogs and such, maybe then your Ask VBT would work for me as an add-on. But I think first that a regular VBT would be in order.

I still would like to hear from those who have tried it and can comment on how it turned out for them. I'm new at the ‘marketing game’ and I want to do what is best and not waste my time, energy, and MONEY.

Thanks in advance for any help you can give.

Paul
We don't do the Ask-type of tours, Paul, but I can tell you a little about blog tours as we have been doing them since April. As far as sales, it depends on how committed you are to making it work in your favor. Some of our authors sign up and don't know a thing about online promotion and aren't as effective as the ones who do, but then, that's where we come in and teach them - consider it a crash course in online promotion before, during and after their tour. I like Diane's idea because I believe if I read it right, the authors are offering incentives. We offer incentives, also, but in a different way. We are looking into expanding our incentives, not only for the readers, but also for the blog hosts. But, your question about virtual book tours in terms of sales. I'd love to say you'd sell a million books, but a lot has to do with how you participate. Even though we set up your tours for you, what you have to do on your end is communicate with your visitors during the individual stops. I have one wonderful man on tour this month who loves to talk about his Buddism beliefs and he has created a fan base because of his tour and these people who have become a part of his fan base are buying his books. Had he not toured, he wouldn't have gotten those extra sales. By actively participating, and by that I mean, commenting on your tour stops, saying you're there and you're taking questions, it gives the reader a more personal feel than just having your interview, guest post, review, book spotlight, whatever the case may be, show up on the tour stop. I had one author a couple of months ago wonder why no one was commenting on his tour stops. The reason they weren't commenting is because he didn't actively communicate with the blog host's visitors. The key to a successful virtual book tour is participation. We can get you on stops, but being as this is the Internet, you've got to put character into your comments and say something that will encourage others to comment back. Create a one-on-one with them. Let's say I'm a busy writer and I really don't have time to comment, but I land on a blog with an author on tour and that author is telling me things that I can learn from...I just might comment back. And then...the author comes back (because he is instructed to keep a daily vigil on his stops) and comments back. There's an energy flow going on and if you can hook that visitor...you only have one shot at it...you just might have a book sale right there. It's really neat to see this in progress. But, you have to have incentives, too. There's a whole process we go through to make a virtual blog tour successful...everything comes together in the end if everything has been played out right.

A lot of authors think that if they hire someone to set up a tour for them, then their work is done. It's not. It's only just begun. Although virtual book tours have been around for a few years, I noticed that it's only been recently that people are really actively looking into it. If you don't have the funds to hire someone to set one up for you, you can very well do it on your own, too. It just takes time and being very organized. A lot of authors who come to us either don't have time to put one together or they're on deadlines, so that's the reason most sign up. We also give personalized attention to all our authors to make it a more pleasant experience, but we also give them a crash course in blogging and online book promotion - something a lot of authors don't even know exist, believe it or not.

Dorothy
Yay for you Dorothy. I believe in promoting authors for free. Heckfire, it is tough enough to get your book accepted and edited, and out there. Why should authors have to pay to promote it?

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