About the VBT
The Virtual Book Tour empowers authors to connect their books with interested readers through the medium of weblogs and personal websites. We got the idea from Ben Brown of the micropublishing house So New Media, who had done this sort of thing before.
In a nutshell, a Virtual Book Tour consists of an author "stopping" at a given number of websites in a given about of time, the same as they would do at bookstores during a real world tour. At these stops, the author may be interviewed, may take over the site for a day and blog themselves, may answer questions from readers, get their book reviewed or do all four.
Typical tours last one week (seven stops) and require at least 2 hours per day of participation from the author. Tours are free if we approach the author and begin at $500 if they approach us. The initial fee entitles the author to 8 hours of free administrative time. Beyond that, time bills at $75 an hour. We also provide a less expensive matchmaking service between authors and weblogs we think would enjoy their book. This service bills at either $75 an hour or on a per blog basis.
Got it? Now tell us about your interest in the tour.
- I am an author interested in receiving a Virtual Book Tour for my book.
- I am a publicist/agent/publisher representing an author who would be good for the Virtual Book Tour.
- I am a website owner interested in being a stop on the Virtual Book Tour.
- I just want to stay informed of future tours.
The VBT for Authors
So you're an author and you've got a book that you think would be great for a Virtual Book Tour. Makes sense to us. Thanks to our first three tours, VBT HQ now regularly entertains hundreds of requests for tours. We obviously don't have the labor power to satisfy all of them so before you send us your request, we ask that you observe the following guidelines.
- Only published authors may tour. The VBT does not accept self-published authors.
- The VBT focuses on in-print literary fiction and narrative non-fiction, aimed at the intelligent, general reader. Please do not suggest any book that falls outside these parameters (technical, self-help, how-to, political treatise, genre fiction with no literary bent), no matter how far. The VBT also only gives tour to books that are currently in print.
- The audience for the VBT is primarily young, single or newly married, urban and educated. Please be honest about the audience for your book when making a request.
- The VBT is only free if we approach you. Please see our rates page otherwise.
- The VBT is a supplement to existing publicity efforts, not a replacement for them. While we do our best to give exposure to books that we feel didn't get it, the VBT will not save a book hasn't been given any publicity attention at all.
- Tour sites are asked to be honest but fair in their impressions of the touring book and will not be censored if they don't care for the book on tour. Or put another way, the VBT is a book tour, not online advertising.
- In order for an author to tour, the publisher will be expected to provide a new, free copy of the touring book to each of the tour sites (no ARCs please). The author is expected to have unobstructed access to a computer and the Internet throughout the length of the tour and provide similar access to the owners of the tour sites. Should you tour, you'll be posting on websites, getting interviewed, reviewed, possibly photographed and recorded. It's not a good project for the shy.
- In our experience, most authors come to us seeking help with publicity. If we find that the VBT and your book are not a good match, please consider our consulting services which will either match up your book with appropriate blogs or offer online publicity advice by the hour. These options are charged on either an hourly or per blog basis and are almost always more affordable than a full-blown tour.
- When making your request, please include your name, the name of your book, how long it's been on the shelves, and your publisher. Be prepared to send a copy of the book to VBT HQ:
Virtual Book Tour
798 Stanyan St. #6
San Francisco, CA 94117
Got it? Make your request!
The VBT for Publicists, Agents and Publishers
So you represent a book you think would be perfect for a Virtual Book Tour. Cool. While we're always interested in checking out new and interesting books, we get dozens of requests every day. So please keep the following in mind before pitching us...
- The VBT is only free if we approach the author. If you approach us and would like us to set up a tour for you, please see our rate page. We also advise on tours you might like to set up yourself. For those we charge an hourly rate of $75.
- The VBT focuses on in-print literary fiction and narrative non-fiction, aimed at the intelligent, general reader. Please do not suggest any book that falls outside these parameters (technical, self-help, how-to, etc.), no matter how far.
- The audience for the VBT is primarily young, single or newly married, urban and educated. If your book is a WWI memoir, perhaps we are not the best match.
- The VBT is a supplement to existing publicity efforts, not a replacement for them. While we do our best to give exposure to books that we feel didn't get it, the VBT will not save a book that hasn't been given any traditional publicity attention already.
- The VBT focuses primarily on authors without large marketing budgets earmarked for them. Please do not suggest an author currently tearing up the bestseller list.
- We ask tour stops to be fair and honest in their assessment of the touring book and do not censor them. Put another way, the VBT is a book tour, not online advertising.
- In order for an author to tour, the publisher will be expected to provide a new, free copy of the touring book to each of the tour sites (not ARCs). The author will need to have unobstructed access to a computer and the Internet throughout the length of the tour and provide similar access to the owners of the tour sites. Touring authors will be posting on websites, getting interviewed, possibly photographed and recorded. It's not a thing for the shy.
Some things you might need to know about weblogs and the advantages of virtual touring:
- The weblog (blog) is among the most effective mediums for creating buzz and is increasingly assuming a prominent role in media and the culture at large. Most major news publications, from ABC News to Salon.com have blogs. The campaign site for Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean has one. Weblogs were responsible for conveying first person accounts of the September 11th attacks and the bombing of Baghdad. Books such as Malcolm Gladwell's "The Tipping Point" and Richard Florida's "Rise of the Creative Class" became cultural phenomena largely thanks to the viral marketing effect of weblogs. The most popular blogs routinely service tens of thousands of readers a day.
- Cost and time effective. An author need never leave home to "tour." Tour stops can take less than an hour a day.
- Novelty. Despite their rapid rise in popularity, weblogs are still seen as being on the cutting edge of mainstream culture. The VBT is a great way to brand an author and their book as being ahead of the curve.
- Desirable demographics. The weblogs in the VBT network largely appeal to a young, college-educated audience with disposable income, eager to be exposed to new books.
- The web has proven itself to be among the most effective mediums for connecting readers, authors and their books. Online bibliophilic communities such as Readerville, Book Muse and Book Reporter are routinely browsed by thousands of visitors a day and are significantly responsible for breaking books by authors like Jim Crace and Charles Baxter.
Sound good for a book under your watch? Please tell us about it!
The VBT for Site Owners
So you've got a site that you think would be perfect for inclusion in the VBT. I'm intrigued. Tell us more about your site, but please keep the following in mind before approaching us.
- The VBT focuses on in-print literary fiction and narrative non-fiction, aimed at the intelligent, general reader. If you're a reader yourself of this sort of thing, then you're probably a good tour site. We don't do technical books, just so ya know.
- We don't like to be stat whores but we do need to know that someone reads your site besides you and your family. We might ask how many people. Please don't be offended. We need those stats to show authors that the VBT is worth their time.
- Please be a website that focuses, at least somewhat, on books. If your blog is largely home for political tirades, celebrity gossip, stupid iPod tricks or the coming apocolypse, we're probably not the best match.
- If you are selected as a tour site, you'll receive a free copy of the touring book. During the tour, you'll be devoting one day of your site's posting to the tour. Although that doesn't sound like much, you must read the book, arrange to do something cool with the author (interview them, let them take over your site, go horseback riding with them etc.), and then do it. As a time commitment, we'd say it's at least a few days' worth.
Interested? We might be too. Please get in touch.