I've seen some amazing faux pas from authors in recent weeks. Some
are annoying, but harmless; others are a marketing and branding
catastrophe just waiting to happen. This week, I will share with you
some etiquette tips to help you navigate the sometimes tricky waters of
bad book reviews, approaching media and making friends with strangers
online. If you have an etiquette question you want answered, submit it.
Every day my Inbox is exploding with requests for virtual book tour slots. Some authors and publicists are incredibly thorough in their requests. Others send a simple sentence like, "Hey, heard you host authors for VBTs. Love to be featured!" They fail to include a Web site or book title.
You don't have to write a book to ask someone to read your stuff – or to host you at their blog. But there are some key details you should include in your missive:
- Month you want to be profiled
- Your Web site
- Your book title
- How you found out about the blog or Web site
- Alternative contact information
Some of these items – like your Web site and book title – should appear in your signature line, so you don't have to retype them. Here is an example of what you can send:
Author X referred me to your site after stopping by during a virtual book tour this summer. I checked it out and loved it! I think it would be a great fit for my VBT later this year. If you have any slots open in November, please let me know. You can reach me at this e-mail, or at AuthorY@noname.com.
Thanks for your consideration!
Book Title (November '09)
Most VBT hosts don't expect you to be super professional. They just need enough information to figure out if you are a good fit for their site blog. They also do not have time to read through a four-page e-mail, or six page news release (which I have received before).
If you do not hear immediately from a tour host, give them a week before you send a follow up e-mail. If you don't hear from them the second time, move on, unless it is a publication you seriously want to be featured in.
Once you book your virtual tour slots, then you will want to keep track of the coordinator e-mails for each site. Two to three weeks before your tour, drop them an e-mail to be sure everything is a go. This is a great way to stay connected and remind them that you are ready to go. It is especially effective if you have not yet received questions from the interviewer. Most VBT hosts do not mind the additional contact. In fact, most welcome it. Too many times, items get lost in cyberspace. It is easy to get overlooked until it is too late.
The day your post is up, it is always a good idea to get the comment role started by adding one yourself. A simple Thank You to the host is a great way to get comments started. If your post is not up for any reason, contact the blog administrator to find out what's going on before you visit forums or send out e-mails talk badly about your virtual book tour host. You never know when there has been a cyber glitch, a system crash, or a death or illness that prevented the host from posting for your date. Trust me when I say a little understanding and compassion go a long way. If you don't have it, you won't get it in return when Karma comes knocking at your virtual door. (Karma is ALWAYS watching!)0