book reviews / marketing

Book Review: So You Want an Online Book Tour

When Jaime McDougall’s So You want an Online Book Tour: An Author’s Guide to Online Book Tours (Smashwords 2012) was offered to Write Anything for review (I write several articles a month for this writer’s community), I grabbed it. I tried a book tour (also called a ‘virtual book tour’) a few years ago that didn’t go well. I put a lot of work into it, but was matched up with all sorts of genres that had nothing to do with thrillers, did my part visiting blogs to answer non-existent comments, and posted a few books for others on my blog–only to have them not even drop by.

I felt burned, but heard good reports from others (for example, my e-buddy Cat over at Cafe Girl Chronicles) so figured I’d done the process wrong. This book promised to tell me the right way to do it. Ms. McDougall runs an online marketing business (which arranges online book tours). If anyone knows the right way to do it, it should be her. McDougall is an Australian writer–though her bio calls her a ‘citizen of the world’ who has written for a variety of journalistic outlets, and now her second ebook (the first, So You Want to Write A Guest Post). I like that she picks topics that are most challenging to writers as we try everything to market our work in the wide wild world of the internet.

Let me step back for those who don’t know what an online book tour is. According to Jaime McDougall:

An online book tour is a marketing tool that involves ‘stops’ at various blogs for a set amount of time. Think of it like a traditional tour that takes place online. A single guest post on a blog is not a ‘tour'; dozens of tour stops on a single day is a tour. It’s all about multiple appearances.

I have done a lot of book reviews. I publish three-four a month on my own blog, WordDreams. I write four a month for Amazon as a Vine Voice. I’ve gotten used to looking for the meat on the bone. It was a pleasure to find an author who didn’t feel like she had to write a hundred pages on a topic that could be covered in thirty. Truth, McDougall uses six pages for introductory chatting, so the meat starts at Page 7.

Here are some more observations about McDougall’s pithy book:

  • She explains the variety of posts that can be included in a book tour–everything from an interview to a book review. That fits what I had on my book tour–a little of everything
  • She explains the varieties of book tours–from all-in-one-day to extended. Mine was weeks–a huge, long, never-ending commitment I tired of when I realized I was getting no return for my money. I’d opt for a Blast next time.
  • She explains the variety in online book companies
  • She takes you through what happens once you sign up
  • She provides a check list of comparisons to use when evaluating companies
  • She discusses media kits–important to online book tours
  • She shares ideas on how to prepare for and manage a book tour
  • She reminds writers to stop by the tour blogs. I can attest to the fact that this requires a mention. I’ve hosted guest articles expecting collaboration only to be surprised they never came over to answer comments.
  • She includes a list of blog tour companies.

I was surprised she warns that authors have no say in where their book was placed. No wonder my thriller ended up in erotica. I have been told by other writer friends who did book tours that they were able to select their genre. McDougall covers this by discussing genre-specific companies.

Another point that surprised me was a recommendation that authors seek reviewers from people they don’t know. I get this a lot because of my connection with Vine Voice, my publishing record, and the variety of blogs/ezines I write for, and I rarely agree. To review someone’s book is a huge commitment in time and energy. I always have one or two projects I’m working on, and several in the pipeline. I’ve done it for friends and they return the favor, but to say yes to an unsolicited request–well, that’s not going to happen. The fact that McDougall includes it in her book…

Hello Blogger X!
I came across your blog – The X Blog – and I thought you might be interested in reviewing my book…

…must mean there are a lot of open-minded readers out there who don’t share my self-centered opinion on reviews. Who are you? Are you authors? Writers? Good-hearted souls? Would you review my book?

Having said that, I DID agree to review her book for Write Anything. Maybe it’s more effective than I give it credit for.

Overall, a worthwhile book that won’t take much of your time to read. Buy it as a resource for when you morph from writer to marketer.


Jacqui Murray is the editor of a technology curriculum for K-sixth grade, creator of two technology training books for middle school and three ebooks on technology in education. She is the author of Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy midshipman. She is webmaster for six blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, a columnist for Examiner.com, Editorial Review Board member for Journal for Computing Teachers, IMS tech expert, and a weekly contributor to Write Anything. Currently, she’s editing a thriller for her agent that should be out to publishers this summer. Contact Jacqui at her writing office or her tech lab, Ask a Tech Teacher.

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3 thoughts on “Book Review: So You Want an Online Book Tour

  1. Pingback: 10 Hits and Misses for 2012 « Jacqui Murray's WordDreams…

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