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Thursday 28 July 2011

Focus On...Virtual Book Promotions

Plotting, characterisation and computing skills aren't the only things writers have to worry about these days. Today I'm welcoming Nas Dean, Romance Fan Supreme and head of Virtual Book Promotions, who's there to take some of the stress out of our 'after sales service'...

First I’d like to thank Christina, for asking me to share about Virtual Book Promotions.
Promoting an upcoming book is easy, do you say? The marketing department at your publishing house will handle it.  But you do know that the marketing department will be handling all six or sixty books releasing in that month? 
But who will give “YOU” the author, special attention you need for “YOUR” book to sell?
Okay you got the CALL! Yay! …You’re super excited! Then you receive your cover photo and release dates, now, can anything be more exciting? But does it stop there? No, your journey has just begun. Now you have to make your name stand out from the masses and sell copies of your book. You have to connect with readers everywhere around the world.
But you’re rushing along trying to meet the deadline for your subsequent books. You don’t want to be a one-book-wonder; you have to have your second and third books or for that matter your sixth and seventh books already in the pipe-line. 
How can you do promotions?
That is why I’m here! To start your promotion machinery rolling!
What can a virtual book tour do for a new or established author?
Book Tours bring you to the notice of readers. It actually helps to have your name and the title of your book talked about. You have to find the reader, rather than wait for them to find you. And when you do find them, you have to talk to your reader and keep him/her engaged. Book promotion is time consuming, expensive, and there are no guarantees that your efforts will bear fruit. But a lot of your labor can be cut in half if you focus on the reader and what S/HE needs. 
Think about yourself as a reader. You just finished a fantastic book from a new-to-you author and you decide to Google the author to learn more about her. When you reach her blog, all you find are advertisements for more books. It feels like a bit of letdown, doesn’t it? Now what if the author is out there visiting all your favorite haunts and inviting you to ask her questions? And doing giveaways of her book?
Talking to you, answering your individual comments and generally having fun, chatting with you. 
Does it work better for certain genres than others?
No, I would say it should work the same for all genres. It’s scary to put yourself out there because you don’t always know how you’ll be received, but if you’ve written the best book you can, all that’s left is to be the kind of author people want to know, Facebook friend you and chat with you through twitter. 
What are some things authors should keep in mind to have a successful tour?
Authors are rushing to meet the deadline for their second and third books; they can’t keep details about promoting their first book in mind, that’s why they come to me! (--_^) 
But seriously, they should have a media kit ready with all the pertinent information. This would include a mini bio, a full bio, decide on a author photo and include this(this is the photo out and about everywhere!) the book cover photos, links to your website, social networking sites eg. Facebook Page, Twitter. Goodreads.
And be available on the date of a Blog Stop to connect with a reader. And I’ll let you in on a secret for promoting. I advise authors to comment on many different blogs. Not a ‘hi, I like your site’ comment, but something personal and thoughtful. If you leave short and intriguing comments, people will follow you back. 
What blogs is it best to appear on?
High traffic blogs where your book would be appreciated! If it’s a romance novel, then obviously romance writer’s blogs would be good. Where romance readers mostly hangout. But I found all blogs have mostly adult visitors and people read romance so most blogs are suitable. 
And I talk to book bloggers and arrange:
• Reviews
• Interviews
• Guest posts
How long should a virtual tour take?
It depends on the author. If she can handle one week of five blog stops or five weeks of one stop a week. 
Recently when I promoted Wendy S Marcus, and her debut book, When One Night Isn't Enough, we took on more than thirty stops but Wendy was game to agree. She also had a deadline to meet for her second book, Once a Good Girl. Though, Wendy scheduled some of these blog stops herself. And each and every stop had new and fresh, interesting posts. 
Do virtual tours replace brick-and-mortar book signings? Or should authors still be prepared to do some traveling and in-person meet and greets?
Virtual Tours actually don’t replace, rather enhance your promotional efforts. The brick-and-mortar book signings are in your immediate area or in your country, but the Virtual Tour is all over the globe. Wherever books are sold and readers know how to click a few buttons to get online.

Once an author signs a contract, it seems as if there’s more to do than ever! Are there any resources available that can help? If so, what is the typical fee?
Once an author signs a contract, I start with subtle promotions of her title. After I set up Blog visits and confirm dates with blog hostesses, I send the author a list of titles she may decide to talk about on her tour. We do want to keep readers interested by following her tour.  And decide if she would be doing giveaways. Wendy did a 2in1 Book giveaway on each stop. And at the end there was an Amazon gift card to be won for one person. 
Typical fee you looking at is US$150-180 for a ten/fifteen Blog Stop. But if you decide to hire me on as a Virtual Assistant then it’s extra. 
For Blog Stops the author sends me the post and I do all the linking, add photos and send it onto Blogs. Then at every stop I link to Facebook and Twitter to promote that Blog Visit. I have another Facebook Page Romance Book Paradise which is linked to twitter so I promote through that as well. I’m generally around for any hiccups or to encourage conversation. I’m like a chaperone, if you please!
Then I create an Author Page linked to Romance Book Paradise where I have all the details, reviews and buy links for your book on one page. Now for subsequent books you don’t have to hire me, just send me a book and I update that page for you with all relevant reviews linked!
As a Virtual Assistant, I keep track of your visitors/ commenter’s and winners by excel spreadsheet. I also have librarian status at Goodreads, LibraryThing where I can load book details and covers of different editions of your book. There are some other sites which have given me authority to add to their author list and add books on their site. So I add you onto these sites.  
What’s in it for Blog Hostesses?
I make sure all my fellow hostesses receive free books! 
And if the author on the blog tour is doing giveaways, the host blog also receives lot of traffic and her blog also becomes the favorite haunt of readers.

How did you get started working with authors on online tours?
Actually I did a degree majoring in Management and Marketing and some of my author friends noticed that I was good at promoting books (I have a passion for reading!) and approached me to take on their upcoming book release promotions. 
Recently I have also been approached to allow authors to display their upcoming book cover photos on the sidebar of my Blog, linked to their websites. The author concerned already paid another site US$25. for one month, she offered  the same to me to have her cover placed on my sidebar. She’s already booked for three months for 2012! She herself said, “You do have to pay the bills!” Romance Authors and writers are fantastic and very warm and considerate!
- Apart from Virtual Blog Tour, what is the single most important thing an author can do to promote her book?
Ah, yes, the author has to make sure of reviews….on reader sites as well as bookseller sites. As recently I came across this wonderful post from  a very knowledgeable person, Michelle Fayard, when she was asked about reviews, said,
I recommend authors get at least 10 reviews, each about 75 to 300 words long. According to Berrett-Koehler Publishers, customer reviews are the single most effective tool for selling books on Amazon, as they help potential customers decide if the title is a fit for them. If you ask your contacts to post a review on Amazon, ask if they’d mind posting the same review on Barnes and Noble and Goodreads as well, for example.” 
Check this post for more information as I found it to be extremely enlightening. Apart from Virtual Book Tours I also post reviews on more than ten different sites.
And for more information regarding Virtual Tours please visit Romance Book Paradise’s this link Why Book a Virtual Blog Tour? 
Thank you for inviting me to share about Virtual Book Tours, Christina, and if anyone has a question, I’ll try my best to answer.
Thank you for posting, Nas. It’s been a very interesting and informative blog, and I wish Virtual Book Promotions every success for the future!


  1. Thanks Nas for sharing more about your business. Really interesting and definitely something to consider for authors, especially newbies like myself :)

  2. Great interview Nas. I followed Wendy S Marcus's tour and it was terrific. Congrat's on a successful and winning idea.

  3. Hello Christina and Hi Rachael!

    Thanks once again Christina for inviting me to your blog to share about Virtual Book Promotions.

    Thank you Rachael, I hope the information helps you for the future!

  4. Hi Helen,

    Thanks for the congrats and for coming by to read this.
    I wish you the same success for your upcoming releasing in January 2012 from Harlequin Super Editions!

  5. Great post! It was very informative and has me considering to hire you for when my book comes out one day. :-D

  6. Hi Misha,

    But it does give something to think about, doesn't it? Thanks for coming by!

  7. Thanks Christina for inviting Nas to share her exciting work.

    Nas .... Because of your informative posts on authors and virtual tours, I'm learning much about the exciting world of book publishing. I really enjoy it. Thank you


  8. Hi Nas,
    Once again, thanks for posting this vital information. When it comes to carving out a career, publicity is like oxygen - invaluable!

  9. Hi Manzanita,

    Thanks so much for coming by and reading, I'm glad you're learning something, but mainly my focus is on promoting your books. Please do email me if you need any clarification. My email's on the contact me page on my blog.

  10. This comment has been removed by the author.

  11. Christina, you gave me the chance to talk about Virtual Book Promotions.

    And it does help an author's name stand out from all others and her new release book in front of readers.

    I'm glad if my friends find this post enlightening, but I would urge, do read the post by Michelle Fayard on reviews.

  12. Wow, Nas. Thank you for this. You are on top of my list for the book tour. Well done for all your good work promoting authors and books.

  13. Hi Kiru,

    You got a contract! Yay! Congratulations on your contract! And also congrats on winning Wendy's book "When One Night Isn't Enough" at one of her Blog Stops!

    Thanks for reading and commenting!

  14. Hi Nas,
    Great to see you here and what a great blog post! You've accomplished so much and I'm totally impressed. I followed Wendy S Marcus's blog tour while I could (life gets on the way sometimes) and it was sensational. Lucky me also won one of her books :)

    Good luck with the business. I know what a great job you did for Wendy and I have been telling all my friends.

    Thanks for having Nas on here as your special guest, Christina.

  15. Nas, this is fantastic! Good luck and I'll keep you in mind if I ever land a contract :)

  16. Nas, so great to see you on the flip-side for a change and wow, I thoroughly enjoyed learning more about you and your role as a Virtual Blog Tour assistant.

    The information you shared here is excellent and I'm off to pass on this link to my writing loops!

    While I mightn't comment much, I visit your blog regularly and love the guests and posts you schedule. :-)

    Thanks for the great advice - more food for thought for my soon to formulate marketing plan!

  17. Great post Nas - really interesting!!! Think it would be marvelous to have a Virtual Tour Assistant - organising these things can take up so much time and when we're stretched on deadline or with family, it's so easy to let it slip. will definitely be keeping you in mind Nas - and I love that you post your reviews to so many places :)

  18. I enjoyed the guest post, Nas. You are the QUEEN of virtual book tours! I think you do a great job between consistency and mixing it up with how you do the interviews and blurbs. We always learn about the author's writing time and books. I feel like I know the author after reading your interviews.

  19. Loved the interview, Nas ;) Needless to say, I more than enjoyed reading about the logistics behind the book tours and the fabulous work you're doing for authors!!! Kudos and keep it up!

    And Thanks to Christina for hosting the most famous "host" ;)

  20. Oh Nas, you are so amazing. You really are a great person. You'll make a customer of me yet!

    Christina, thank you for hosting the ever-wonderful Nas and her expert advice!

  21. I am under deadline but am sticking my head out of my cave for a brief moment to highly recommend Nas. She is absolutely wonderful to work with. She is well connected in the romance genre, she writes a wonderful review, and she does what she says she's going to do. She also makes great suggestions!

    Thanks for everything, Nas!

  22. Great job, Nas!

    You're right about the importance of an author being available to interact with readers who comment. Not only does it generate activity on the site for the hostess, but it shows readers that you're friendly. They're taking their time out to write a note to you and appreciate it when you comment back.

    I'll see you next Monday on your blog at Romance Book Paradise. :)

  23. Hi Serena, lovely to see you here. Thank you for the congrats and for reading and commenting!

    Hello Kerri, thanks for reading. I do hope the information becomes useful to you in the very near future!

  24. Hi Kylie, Congratulations on your upcoming releasing in January 2012, Vengenance Born from Beverly sensations!

    For January release you have to put those plans in action...NOW!

  25. Hi Natalie, thanks so much for your kind words and encouragement!

    Hello Theresa, wow! Queen! Who me? I'm more comfortable asking the questions and being the hostess!

  26. Hi Ju, thanks so much for coming by and reading! The most famous "host?"...hey Ju, surely you exaggerate! But thanks for saying so!

    Hello Marlena, thanks for your lovely comment!

  27. Hi Wendy, thanks for your glowing & glittering recommendation, I also loved working with you. And I loved how you came up with fresh and interesting posts for each of your thirty stops, despite being under the deadline.
    All the best with your revisions!

    Hi Delaney, looking forward to meeting you on my blog on the 8th August! And yes, if authors do not comment and connect with readers, then what's the use of Blogging?

  28. What a wealth of information, Nas. I can see where your marketing degree has come in handy here. Wonderful tips, and now that I know how to contact you...

    : )

  29. Hi Lynne, thanks for coming by!

    Congratulations on your upcoming Special Editions release in February 2012!

  30. Hi Nas,

    I've seen you around before, most recently on Kylie Griffin's blog. In fact, it was from a post of hers that directed me here! Yay!

    Thanks so much for such an informative post. You've definitely given me food for thought as I ponder where to next. This promotion game does NOT come naturally to a lot of us, so to hear there is help out there...

    I'm heading over to check out your blog now : )

  31. Hi Nas and hi everyone else! I've been interviewed by the wonderful Nas on her blog, and she's so lovely and professional, and full of so many ideas for marketing your work, I'd thoroughly recommend her to anyone thinking about promotional opportunities. Lovely to see you here, Nas, being interviewed yourself!

  32. Hi LaVerne Clark,

    I've also seen you around too, Kylie's and Minxes?
    Thanks for coming along and reading this post, but I have to stress this point, apart from promotions, you do need reviews for your books.

    Not only is there critical reviews on a book on the Amazon page as well as the Barnes and Noble pages, but there is also something called customer reviews. If you were clever enough to give a contactable email address out with your book (that can't be traced to reveal other personal details, mind you), you will be getting feedback from people who have read and enjoyed your book. Reply to them as this will cause two things to happen, they will think the world of a writer who actually takes the time to connect with their readers and secondly they will be reminded to go and write a customer review for your book. The more positive or controversial customer reviews you get, the better the chances are that your book sales will go up as more people will visit the link to your book too.

  33. Hi Serenity,

    Wow! Guys! So much love! Thanks for all your confidence in me.

    Serenity, congrats on your upcoming releases(plural!) and for being placed top in NZ contests!

  34. Hi Nas!
    Great, informative post! You did a great job for Wendy and I'm sure many authors to come =))

  35. Great informative interview. You do a whole lot more, Nas, than I realised. Well done! :)

  36. Hi Mel,

    My first online friend who visited me at home as well! Thanks for coming by!

    Hello Lynda, thanks for coming by! Congrats on your win at my blog!

  37. Fabulous interview, thanks so much for sharing your insights into virtual touring, Nas.

  38. Nas, this is wonderful! Thanks so much for sharing everything here with us. I love the idea of a virtual assistant!!

  39. Hi Nicola,

    Thanks so much for coming by to read this post!

  40. Hello Robyn!

    I'm available! Seriously, though, thanks so much for the support and coming by to read this post and commenting!

  41. Very impressive, Nas. What you do is more complex than I thought. You certainly do know the "business." Wendy and others are very fortunate to have found you.
    Ann Best, Author of In the Mirror, A Memoir of Shattered Secrets

  42. Hi Ann,

    Thanks so much for reading this post on Virtual Book Promotions!

    Hi all friends, Ann was one of the hostesses for Wendy's Blog Tour and has agreed to be a future hostess for me!

    And she herself had her memoir recently published, which is an inspirational journey about her!

  43. Hi Nas. Wow, this was an informative post. So much work for these virtual book tours, but they are a lot of fun and hopefully help sell books. Keep up the good work and may your niche business flourish.


  44. Excellent tips! It's nice to know that your service exists for authors.

  45. Thank you for a highly informative article as well as the shout out, Nas. Christina, I'm glad to be a new follower.

  46. Hi Denise,

    Thanks for coming by and reading this post.

    Hi Liz,

    Thanks for commenting!

  47. Hi Michelle,

    Your post was awesome regarding reviews and tagging on Amazon, thank you for an enlightening post!

  48. This was a great interview, and I loved learning about virtual book tours.

  49. Hi Alleged Author,

    Thanks for your lovely comment!

  50. Hi Nas,

    What a terrific interview! There's so much in what you say. Personally I don't know how you find the time to visit all the places you do, comment and review and of course, still enjoy reading so many books. You're a powerhouse!

    Thanks for the post and thanks, Christina for the interview.


  51. Great post, Nas. Really interesting. Thanks for sharing.

  52. Awww, Annie! You're making me blush! Thanks for coming by to read this post and your lovely comment!

  53. Hi Sandra,

    Thanks for coming by to read this post on Book Promotions and for your lovely comment!

  54. Great advice for any writer!!

  55. Nas, you're a legend! Thanks for this great post.

  56. Hello Trisha and Juanita!

    Thanks for coming by to read this post. I sincerely hope the information helps readers and writers.

    If you click on the link I gave in the post to my friend Michelle Fayard's post on "Using Amazon to Optimize Book Sales" you'll see what difference is made by tagging to book sales among other things!

  57. hi Nas and Christina

    Sorry I'm so late to catch this excellent blog post!

    Congratulations on Virtual Book Promotions, Nas! The way you're putting that Marketing degree to work and finding a way to combine it with your love of romance reading is truly inspired!

    It's great to have such a romance fan out there doing reviews as well! So thank you!

  58. Hi Sharon,

    You're not late!
    Thanks so much for reading this post and commenting. I'm doing all these with all you fabulous authors support for me, so I should be the one to say "Thank You!"

  59. Wow Nas, I had no idea there was so much to it! Now I think about it, of course there's a lot of work to do in logistics, matching the right people and so on, but I guess if it's done seamlessly, nobody notices!

  60. I did a 16 blog tour stop last November and will do a similar one this fall too. They were fun. I love them. I rarely mentioned my book except for a link at the end of each post. I focused on content the reader could use and find fun and practical. A bit of a different approach, but sales were good and I got a lot of exposure.

  61. Hi Amie and Stephen,

    Amie, yes, there are things to work out, eg...if a blog wants a post or excerpt, question/answer sessions and all these.

    Stephen, you tour was unique and refreshing and your name was out there combined with your book, so it was good. Congrats on a successful tour!

    Thanks for reading and commenting!

  62. Hi Nas

    That was a great and very informative interview...

  63. This comment has been removed by the author.

  64. Hi Sonali,

    Thanks for coming by to read this post!

    To all my lovely friends,

    I've sort of turned the tables on Christina and have her on Romance Book Paradise talking about her yummy apple crumble and sharing recipes!

    She also has three signed copies of her THE COUNT'S CHALLENGE to giveaway to three lucky commenters there!

  65. Fantastic information, Nas - you've certainly put your degree to good use!

  66. Hi Talli,

    Thanks for your lovely comment!

  67. Wow, what a lot of information in one post! You are doing a great job helping authors, Nas. Go you :-)

  68. Book marketing can be a jungle, so it's good to know where to run when in need of some organized publicity. Well done, Nas!

  69. Hello Rachel and JL!

    Thanks for coming by to read this post on Book Promotions.

  70. Great interview and congrats on a fantastic business idea, Nas. Wendy's blog tour has been wonderful. I look forward to many more.

  71. Hi Lacey,

    Thank you and also for being one of the hostess for Wendy as well!

  72. creativity of writer is purely impressive. It has touched to the level of expertise with his writing. Everything is up to the mark. Written perfectly and I can use such information for my coming assignment.