10 Things You Need to Know About Virtual Book Tours

Note: I’m hosting Dorothy on my blog today because I know, from personally using Pump Up Your Book for two of my novels, how dedicated, professional and passionate she is about supporting her authors.

10 Things You Need to Know About Virtual Book Tours

By Dorothy Thompson, CEO & Founder of Pump Up Your Book

By now, most authors know what virtual book tours are or at least have heard of them.  They’re that wonderful marketing tool that should be a must have in every new book’s campaign.  With each new book I write, I’m making a game plan before the book is even published and a virtual book tour is the first promotional venue on that list.
While most of us know what they are, there are still a few new authors who might have heard of them but have no idea what they involve.  I give you my top 10 things you need to know about virtual book tours so that you will know what to expect.

  1. Virtual book tours are the BEST way to get the MOST online exposure for your book. Not only are you presenting your book and yourself to thousands of people, all of your interviews, guest posts and reviews are archived which means months down the road, you’re still selling your book because of that one tour.
  2. Virtual book tours ARE a lot of work. Not only are you searching for the perfect blogs to host you, you are acting as the middle man between you and the blogger unless you are using a paid service such as Pump Up Your Book who will do all the work for you.  Even if you do sign up with Pump Up Your Book, there is still lots of work to do completing assignments – filling out interviews and writing guest posts unless you choose an all review tour.  Even though it requires a little bit of your time to fill out interviews and write guest posts, it’s well worth it.
  3. You will learn more about your book than you ever did. I had an author tell me that through the interviews and guest posts she had to complete, she never learned so much about her book which caught her off guard.  Now when she is interviewed on radio shows and makes television appearances, she is better prepared.
  4. Virtual book tours will build up your author platform No matter if you’re a fiction author or a nonfiction author, virtual book tours will build up your author platform using your key search words.
  5. Your reviews are guaranteed. Offline publicists while they mean well do it all wrong.  They query a book blogger, make arrangements to send the book, then that’s where it stops.  The review is not a guaranteed thing.  The reviewer can post the review anytime they see fit.  With virtual book tours, your review is guaranteed on a certain date unless the reviewer jumps ship which rarely happens.  I had an author tell me she signed up with an offline publicist who sent out many books and only one or two reviewers actually came through for them.  That was money loss for the author.  Books don’t come cheap these days so coming up with a date you and the reviewer can agree upon guarantees that review will be a given thing.
  6. Many reviewers now take ebooks which save you money. Thank goodness someone was smart enough to invent a device that automatically loads a book in a few seconds (no waiting to go to the book store anymore my friend) and makes it fun to read.  When Amazon lowered their price of the Kindle, sales soared and book lovers started talking about getting one.  What that means is that it opened up a wonderful way to get these books to the book reviewers quickly and less expensively.  Have you noticed how much books are and how much it takes to ship them?  Not saying all reviewers will take ebooks, but as time goes on, most will have an e-reader and, as a matter of fact, will prefer an ebook.
  7. More website hits, more blog hits, more Twitter hits and more Facebook Fan Page hits. All authors should have a website or blog and accounts at Twitter and Facebook.  No matter if you think they’re all a waste of time.  A virtual book tour will definitely give you more hits at all places as long as your links are in your bio.
  8. Going on a virtual book tour raises your Alexa rankings. What is Alexa?  Alexa measures how well you are doing in the search engines.  By going on a virtual book tour, and including interviews and guest posts during that tour, your website and blog links are included in every bio (or should be!).  Those are incoming links which Alexa uses to measure your ranking.  The more your website or blog link shows up on other sites, the more valuable your site is to them and thus, your rankings soar.
  9. You will learn how to sell your book through media exposure. Not all authors take advantage of their interviews and guest posts by gearing them toward their audience, thus luring them to their book and/or website/blog.  I’ve had many authors on tour and the ones who really take the time to make their interviews and guest posts effective selling tools are the ones who profit the most.  The key thing here is to make your audience curious.  One liners in the case of interviews may not cut it.  Of course there are only so many ways you can answer “What’s your book about?” but take your time and get your audience’s curiosity piqued so that they do make your way over to your website or your book’s buying link.
  10. Virtual book tours teach you how to connect well with others. There is no better way to learn how to network.  All these wonderful book bloggers who agree to host you are your new friends in your extended network and they will be there for you the next time you have a book to promote (unless they completely hated it of course).  You’ll also learn how to use the social networks effectively as you study how to get people over to your stops by persuasive wording.  Remember to talk to your audience, not at them.

There you have it.  10 reasons I feel you need to know about virtual book tours in a nutshell.  If you have a tour coordinator as opposed to setting one up yourself, she will walk you through it so that it will be a fun experience for all.  Your book will thank you for it.

 

Dorothy Thompson is CEO/Founder of Pump Up Your Book, an award-winning public relations company specializing in online book publicity.  You can visit her website at www.PumpUpYourBook.com or follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/pumpupyourbook and Facebook at www.facebook.com/pumpupyourbook.

 

 

Why I Write

I write because there is no one left in my life who knew me before I knew myself.

I write because I can talk to the paper and not be interrupted or misunderstood or frozen mid-sentence by a quizzical stare from a listener’s eyes.

I write because I can’t (nor would you want to watch me) sing or dance or paint or sculpt or provide anything else of artistic value to the universe other than what I can create with my paper and pen.

I write because my days are numbered; I have less days to live than I have already lived, and the abstraction of mortality is waning, replaced by the very concreteness of careening years.

I write because I kept my mouth shut for too many years of my life. I write because I could exorcise the ghosts of the past, the goblins of the present, the amorphous fears of the future wielding a cheap plastic-barreled pen and a college-ruled notebook.

I write because words spoken are swallowed by time. Words written are meals cooked today for a banquet to be held later. I write because I have lived an unexpected life and the surprises–both full of dread and full of awe–would otherwise drift uncharted.

I write because I want my children to know me, not mother me or wife me, or sister me, or aunt me, or grandmother me. But Christa Me. The deep and the shallow places. I want them to have access to bits of my soul, perhaps slices of me that they may not hunger for until I am no longer here to feed them.

I write because, in doing so, I shape the memories, give them words that will be my eternal life breaths.

Why do you write, paint, dance, sing, create….?

What really matters?

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I want to share a post I wrote years ago that still thumps in my now retired teacher heart:

Some days, I want to hurl the textbooks and state-mandated curriculum through the windows that open only to the windows of another portable classroom, and announce:

Okay, let’s talk about what really matters.

Let’s talk about what you’ll face in the world. How tragedy and joy are holding hands, and they’ll play Red Rover with you for the rest of your life.

I know some students are experts at the “divert the teacher from the lecture” game. And some teachers are sucked in and allow class time to be swallowed by rambling tales of the teacher’s children’s latest antics, their spouse’s occupations or lack thereof, or the state of their disunion. 

But that’s not what I’m advocating.

I’ve squandered so much of my own life afraid of the unknown, afraid of deciding, afraid of not deciding.

I wonder, if someone had grabbed me by the collar of my uncertainty and encouraged me to risk, to ignore those who did and who would steal my dreams…what would that life had been?

Five Reasons a Writer Should Stay Put

My husband and I have been married almost twenty-five years. We’ve moved ten times. (I just counted because I do my best creative procrastination when I’m on deadline.) These haven’t been military related (though I’ve been militant about a few of them), due to job transfers (with the exception of four moves due to Hurricane Katrina), or because we’ve been evicted (thank God).

It’s because we’re idiots, I tell you, idiots.

Seriously, I told the husband that the only place I am willing to move after this recent was:

1. to Houston to live in the same city as my children, 2. to Houston , and 3. to Houston. And the only thing I’m taking is my toothbrush. And the dog.

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And this is related to writing…how?

I’ll tell you. Here are five reasons writers shouldn’t move:

  1. Having to unhook the laptop/computer from my online life support (the router/modem) is painful. Like putting the scissors to the VISA or losing a finger. I posted DNR (DO NOT REMOVE) on my router, and I’m thinking of having someone sign off on having seen it.
  2. We show up at the new house before the internet connection…and, oh dear God, in the name of everything holy, how will I survive because I’m on deadline, I haven’t checked out Nordstrom Rack’s clearance sale, and found out if Jennifer Aniston’s really pregnant this time because she’s been pregnant for decades now, and–oh, yes–I’m on deadline.
  3. We confuse the Muse, and mine is pretty damn ticked off right now because she can no longer sit on the balcony and watch the world go by while I’m dawdling, waiting for her to remember who made it possible for her to be there in the first place. The duck pond across the street is not, definitely not, doing it for her.
  4. Our book-buying addictions are exposed. After the fifth or sixth box labeled “bathroom,” weighing in at fifty pounds came down twenty-seven steps, I’d blown my cover. I told him I’m researching the idea of building a small cottage office using paperbacks and hardbacks, and a few workbooks as mortar.
  5. My office is a mess. Not the purposeful, organized mess I’d already created at the other house. This is a new mess that doesn’t know where it all belongs.

I’m certain there are more, but my brain’s still adjusting to its new thinking environment.

 

Seven Random Musings on Day 2 of 2016

A few random musings on this second day of 2016:

1. Yesterday, I called DirectTV to change the credit card for our automatic pay. Of course, the first voice belongs to the insistent automaton gate-keeper who no longer allows a direct connect to Customer Service without providing a reason she deems valid.

The bigger shock was that speaking to a human to make the change would cost $5.00. ARE YOU KIDDING ME???? Something about having to pay for human contact just strikes me as prostitutional…I’m asking for customer service, not customer servicing.

2. I’ve started a number of 30-day challenges (#planwithmechallenge, scripture writing plan, infinitepossibilitiesproject and probably others I’ve already forgotten) which are all motivational and affirming and enlightening, but with my commitments, I’m afraid it’s going to take me ninety days to finish them.

3. I’m becoming an Instagram junkie. If Facebook and Twitter are keeping attendance, I’ve been truant. I still post there, but usually by default from when I post on Insta.

4. We’ve moved, so no more Views from the Bywater Balcony (posted on Instagram). I miss my balcony, but for a number of reasons better discussed later, we’ve exchanged it for a view of a park with a duck pond.

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We’re also now about two blocks away from Walmart. Walking there means buying less because it’s a beast to schlepp too much back home.

5. I’m excited about this year of writing…a book for Amazon’s Waterfall Press that’s scheduled for publication in October, finishing Digging Up Dirt781FB123-6A77-4445-A98F-DAD39ADA00CA, which has been delayed due to my contract, and several more ideas that I’m anxious to start.

6. I’ve been invited to the 2016 Pulpwood Queens Girlfriends Weekend, and it’s such great fun to be around readers and writers and the town of Nacogdoches. More to come about that!

7. Bullet Journals (see more HERE and HERE)

New Year + Old Me = Yet to be Determined

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In 2015, I celebrated:

  • our son’s marriage and gaining a daughter-in-law
  • spending time at the Pulpwood Queens Girlfriends Weekend
  • meeting new writers
  • meeting new readers
  • a weekend with writer friends
  • spending time with my children
  • a contract offer from Amazon
  • my husband recovering from two surgeries (well, make that one…still working on the other one)
  • fun times with old friends
  • Instagramming
  • yoga pants
  • Pero (all natural, coffee substitute)
  • every day I woke up breathing

And you?

Oh, the places we went. . .

Definitely not a portfolio of our 24 years together…just what I happened to have in iPhoto. . .the last photo, our first. and I think only, selfie captures both of us best. We have fun together.20130121-122160_7-DSC_6158IMG_1413 IMG_0132 P1090524 IMG_0066 IMG_1977 20090516-2617_0-DSC00159 DSC_0789 IMG_0128

Pathetic Pick-up Lines

You know those situations where, when they happen you’re too discombobulated to say anything coherent. . .then, a few minutes or maybe an hour later, you slap your own forehead and say, “Damn, why didn’t I say that?”

In the last two months or so, I’ve been in situations where I probably should have first slapped the forehead of the person involved. Looking back, though, that probably wouldn’t have been a wise course of action. But both instances did make me wonder what the hell some men are thinking. . .

The first incident happened when I was on a mission in Walmart. “Mission” defined as a trip not involving aimlessly wandering around the store, lollygagging in the pen and notebook aisle (I know…such a nerd), or allowing people with fewer items to step in front of me in line. Mission means I’m in, I grab what I need, I’m out.

I was on my way to work at the clinic, so I was wearing leggings, a scrub top and my rather beat-up Asics. Generally, what I wear to Walmart is not mention-worthy; however, it does factor into the story. I finally reach my car, which is in an area of the parking lot so far away from the store entrance it probably has a different zip code. Just as I’m placing the last bag in the truck, I spot a car behind mine, seeming as if the driver intends to turn to go down the next lane.

But, no.

I hear, “Excuse me, miss. Can I ask you a question?”

Being ever-polite and hyper-helpful, I answer, “Sure.”

That’s when I note the man driving the car, which itself was likely in great condition about ten years ago, is about five times my size, wearing his hat backwards, and sporting an abundance of gold on his person…including his teeth.

He says, “If I give you my phone number, would you call me? I was following you around the store, but I didn’t want to bother you cuz you looked like you was in a hurry. So, when you left, I just followed you to your car…”

I’m stunned. Like whacked with a baseball bat kind of stunned.

What I said then, “Um…absolutely not.” (and dashed into my car)

What I wish I would have said: “Oh, but yes, I’ll not only call you, I’ll carve your phone number into my hand. Because I’ve been dreaming of the day when a man would be made so breathless seeing me wearing doggie-decorated scrubs and leggings with pulls from cat claws and scruffy shoes that he would stalk me in, not only the store I’m shopping in, but the parking lot. A man sporting ten pounds of gold, who’s not working in the middle of the day and is driving a vehicle in need of first aid is surely a catch. Wait right there while I call my husband, five children and grandkids to tell them not to expect me at Thanksgiving.”

Then, yesterday, I’m schlepping three twelve-packs of Coke Zero into my trunk, when I hear someone talking behind me. I turn around to find two men in a truck have stopped behind my car, and the one in the passenger seat–wearing a goofy grin–says, “You can put Cokes in my trunk anytime.”

What I said then: “Sure, that’s going to happen.”

What I wish I would have said: “You’re an idiot. Is that the best pick-up line you can manage? Of course, it’s the end of the work day, and we’re in a Walgreens parking lot, so it’s probably not the prime time and place for you to be seductive. But the only way I’d ever be putting Cokes in your trunk is if you were an elephant.”

 

Parking lots. Putting bags in my trunk. Dressing frumpy. These three things together seem to be problematic for me.

 

 

 

Keeping up with the Jonesing…a wearable sex tracker for a penis

A Fitbit for a penis.

I’m not joking.

It’s called Lovely (aka the wearable sex tracker), and it’s a project on Indigogo, a crowdfunding site. The goal of the campaign is to reach $95,000 by early July, and then it will be released for  $169. As of Monday night when I wrote this post, 174 people have funded $19, 710 in the past week.

According to the information on the Indigogo page:

Lovely monitors your body movements during sex and sends this data to the Lovely App. The App will suggest you new positions to try next time, show how many calories you burned during sex, what was your top speed and more. 

And no worries…the App will be available for Android and iOS, and will include a “beautiful docking station for your nightstand…” Because, of course, where else would you want to put your Lovely if not into something beautiful?
The page also features picture of the early prototypes, but thankfully it doesn’t detail who determined and how, what the size of the opening for the penis should be…it’s a one size fits all.
A few of my musings and features I find amusing:
1. It’s available in four colors…why? I’m disappointed it doesn’t glow in the dark. One would imagine that would add to the fun of using this little bit of happiness.
2. It will indicate the number of calories burned and provide the context. So, as the site shows, if your fun burned 131 calories, that’s equivalent to fourteen minutes of jogging.  Seriously? That’s not the context I or, dare I say, most women want to know. Tell us if we’ve just burned off the after-dinner tiramisu cake or gelato. Or we could have just had a glass of wine instead, which clearly would not require twenty-six minutes (fun time for 131 calories) to consume.
3. The Lovely also tells the man’s top speed. Duh. Did these people miss the men are microwaves women are crock pot analogy? Hell, if I want speed, I’ll drive on the Autobahn.
4. 832 moves recorded. Dear God. If they’re basing this on the twenty-six minutes, that’s thirty-two moves a minute. What is this, a boot camp workout?
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5. This little gadget not only vibrates, it provides personalized tips, ” with more detailed suggestions based on your unique style of lovemaking.” The example shown on their page suggests longer foreplay next time and a position between 68 and 70. Pictures are provided for visual learners, and there’s a database of 120 positions. So, those tips could be deflating if you open the screen and read, “Okay, Sam, you’re pathetic. Look up the definition of the word ‘foreplay.’ It is not a golf term.” Maybe newer models will talk to you during sex with commands like, “slower, faster, no–not there, are you awake?”
6. What I think could be one of the most dangerous aspects of this toy for some men is that it provides a history of previous encounters. Try explaining going sixteen miles per hour on your Lovely when you were supposed to be in your office.
There seems to be a built-in assumption that all of this data reflects a pleasurable sex life. But it’s only measuring the penis activity. Hmmm….
I’m thinking if some people need a sexual activity tracker with eight different features and an app to “enhance” their sex lives, they might want to first take a closer look at who’s wearing the Lovely. Because I don’t think just wearing a Lovely makes you lovely.