Great Reply, I always thought both were needed. To reach the tech savy individuals and the not so savy. It is nice to have things pre recorded eg podcasts, online radio where you do not have to worry about public speaking.
I prefer VBT's. I've never done one but plan to whenever my next release comes up. I no longer do LIVE signings and book tours because you get no support from the publishers or the book sellers in terms of promotion. Also, I can spend my money and time on putting together something that can generate sales instead of being bored to death, signing books. What matters to me is having fun while I promote and I find web promotion of any kind more appealing, more worthwhile and it works.
Also, a VBT will stay online forever and so people in the future will always see it, bringing more readers your way. You have a book signing at a store or have a tour and no one's gonna remember it. Once it's over, it's over. But VBT's are archived and can generate sales for the future because as long as that blog you participated stays up, so does your tour.
I'd be pleased to hear about anyone' experience in Virtual Book tours - and some comparison shopping for companies that host them. Since I'm not big on real travel, and it would be far too expensive anyway except for towns and cities closeby, it seems a great option. For my third novel, "The Plan" now in-progress at textnovel.com I did hire Night Owl Productions to do the trailer and I love it, posted it here. With the internet, there are so many options for marketing that were not available when I wrote my first book. On the other hand, if I did all the blogging, etc., that's suggested, there'd be no time to write the novel.
If you're on the savvy side, you can easily put together your own blog tour. A lot of authors are doing that now. Make a list of the blogs you want to be featured on and contact the hosts ASAP so they can put you down for your visit. Then promote the tour, in the same fashion you'd promote the book and it's done. It's all about making contacts. Some of the VBT hosts that work for you do a pretty good job and they throw in some promotion, but if you look at it, they don't do anything you can't do yourself if you are dedicated. You can also go your own pace. You might want to take breaks in between your tour and you'll be in control. Also, if situations arise where you have to postpone a blog visit, you at least know you didn't waste money paying if you did.
I like to make sure someone isn't doing what I can do myself before paying for a service. Authors are gathering their own contacts these days. If you're looking for bloggers to contact start here:
A virtual book tour (or blog tour) is where you connect with other bloggers who write about your book's topic, and request an interview or permission to write an article for their blog. You line up a few 'stops' across a chosen timeframe, then attend or write for the bloggers who are hosting you. If you ask, you can usually link to the blog posting that features you and post it onto groups like this one, your own blog/website or other social networking sites like twitter or facebook.
I prefer virtual book tours, but I also do local book tours. The reason I prefer the virtual booktours is that anything on the internet stays available FOREVER...yep, forever. Not to mention that setting up a virtual tour is cheap - even free if you put forth the effort and time in doing so.