Friday, December 07, 2007

What's happened to book promotion?

What's happened to book promotion? Specifically, what's happened to the traditional book tour? According to a recent article in the Christian Science Monitor, traditional book tours may be passé. Authors and publishers who are seeking book promotion opportunities may be ditching the multi-city book tour -- which is expensive, time-consuming, and disruptive -- in favor of virtual book tours. Virtual book tours, it turns out, are the latest trend in book promotion because they're new, they're sexy, and they're cost-effective and efficient -- in fact, they're everything that traditional book tours are not.

So what is a virtual book tour? Again, according to that Christian Science Monitor article, a virtual book tour includes saturating the Internet with your multimedia trailer ("book trailer," from what I've read, is a trademarked term, so I'm cautious about using it) and podcasts. It includes a blog tour. It includes maintaining your own Web site and getting attention for that site to maximize the number of hits.

To that, I'd add that a virtual book tour also includes blogging and bringing visitors to your blog (your blog may, or may not, be a part of your Web site), self-publishing your press release (or multiple press releases), publishing a bylined article (or multiple bylined articles), and snagging as many online book reviews as possible.

And, while your virtual book tour is a big part of your book promotion effort, keep working on your traditional book promotion efforts. You don't have to go anywhere, or make s series of bookstore and library stops in various cities, to feel good about your traditional book promotion efforts. Every radio show appearance, and every newspaper and magazine interview, that you can do by telephone adds to your visibility and gives your overall book promotion effort a boost. And a national television show appearance is still worth going to a major city, such as New York or Chicago, to do, if you're lucky enough to score an invitation. It probably will always be the Holy Grail of the book promotion world.

Virtual book promotion -- also called online book promotion -- is an important shift in the book publicity arena. But I wouldn't stop pitching "Oprah," either.