oday, an author and publicist gave me the heads up that her client (her handsome hubby) would not be available for a tour in about four weeks. Their holiday schedule pushed everything back.
At first blush, you might think this is a terrible tragedy. After all, I have to fill that day with some sort of content. But as a seasoned virtual book tour host, I can tell you I was in heaven.
This author/publicist had the common sense to understand that VBT hosts need plenty of advance notice if a tour need to be canceled or rescheduled. With nearly a month, I have plenty of time to find an author to fill the slot. It also allows me to bump up another author and give them plenty of notice to change their promotional lists with the new date.
I e-mailed back with a reschedule date and a big KUDOS for telling me well in advance. What I learned next was interesting, and why I decided to pen this post. These authors had tried virtual book tour stops with other authors. What they learned was that many authors don't show up. They are disorganized, ineffective and simply do not understand VBT deadlines.
These authors vowed not to fall into this category. I guantee they will not. I respect them for telling me and have no issue rescheduling their booking. Other authors who fail to follow up don't get the same treatment.
I cannot blog about this enough. If you set out to promote yourself and book virtual tours, you MUST be organized, efficient, and communicate with your hosts.
You have got to be willing to do the back work to get it in on time – ON DEADLINE – to your virtual book tour host.
You have got to be willing to show up to respond to comments, or do live chats are required by virtual book tour hosts.
You have got to be willing to participate in a big way to connect with fans, new readers and other professionals in publishing.
If you cannot buckle down to organize yourself and be responsive to requests, do not bother booking tours.
If you want to do it, but are overwhelmed, or if you have booked some and become overwhelmed, ask for help. Get friends and family members involved. Ask other authors for advice if various forums like bookblogtours or get advice from pros.
If you want to do this, but none of the above works for you, check your budget and research VBT firms to help out. But he warned: You still have to produce something for tours, even if you hire a virtual book tour promotions company. No one can do it all for you.
The purpose of VBTs is to allow the author to express personal views, share stories about their novels and their heart as a writer. No one else can do that but you.
HOT TIP: Think of your virtual book tour as a series of deadline-oriented articles due to a paying employer. As a freelancers, you have 10 articles lined up with 10 different magazines. You have different sets of facts to collect for each article. Then, you must put them into one cohesive piece that the editor will love – so much so they will want you back.
Carry this analogy over to VBTs. Each tour stop has its own set of facts to report – i.e. materials requested. These "facts" must be put into some kind of order to send into one e-mail to your virtual book tour host. Keep a close check list handy that you can follow to meet the guidelines of each tour – or blog pitstop.
If this were a paid assignment, you would NOT want your editor to have to track you down to complete it. Would an editor hire you again if they had to do that? I don't think so. A virtual book tour host isn't going to give you a second chance if you are lazy and disorganized. We simply do not have time to do so, and with so many other authors out there willing to take time to do it right, why should we?
CAVEAT: This post sounds harsh, I'm sure, but these are tough lessons you need to learn and accept as authors vying for the attention of readers with small pocketbooks and lots of choices. Good virtual book tour hosts will make exceptions for deaths, natural disasters, childbirths or other life happenings that get in the way. Sometimes lifes curveballs simply cannot be predicted or helped.