Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Angela Wilson, Book Blog Editor, About Virtual Tours, Intro by Morgan Mandel - Pt. 1

Can't afford to travel? Consider a virtual book blog tour. Here's the first of three installments where Angela Wilson, Book Blog Editor for Pop Syndicate, tells you what you need. Angela Wilson is a freelance author publicist, an author, freelance Web content director and Book Blog Editor for Pop Syndicate, a pop culture site with more than 8,000 hits per day. Each week, Pop Syndicate hosts authors on virtual tour. And now, here's Angela...

Virtual Tours
Authors have found an innovative way to use the Web to promote themselves and their work. Virtual author tours, or book blog tours, are fast becoming an inexpensive way to meet new readers and further develop your fan base.

Blog tours allow authors to post content on a variety of sites during their heaviest marketing season. It's a great way to get your name up in Google searches, and introduce yourself to new readers. It's not difficult, but it is time-consuming, and any author who goes this route should be prepared to give up a little writing and a family time to fulfill blogging obligations. Don't let that time element scare you. With proper planning – and short-term tours – any author can manage to do it.

Standard items you need for your tour:

One-page bio. You can use the one you have in your media kit, but make certain it is written in Web-friendly language.

Q&A. Make a list of the most common questions you get from both readers and interviews. Intertwine a few questions unique to yourself, or allow you to offer up unique tidbits about yourself and your writing. Answer them and you're good to go.
Columns. Have five to 10 columns about anything – writing, life, balancing career with family, your latest FAB review. Use one column per blog submission. Use the ones that are best suited for a particular blog. For instance, you will want to send a column about writing to a blog about writing. You want a good variety of columns because you don't want to be too repetitious. Readers want fresh content, and you don't want them to get bored by reading the same copy on different sites. There will be times when you need to write a new column, but at least you will have a stash to get your started.

Audio interviews. If you have them, use them, giving credit to the group or business that conducted the segment.

Book trailers. Be sure these are up and ready on YouTube, and forward the EMBED code to your tour hosts.

High- and low-resolution JPEGS of yourself and your cover art. Try to include a few different poses of yourself, maybe one relaxed at home and a studio shot. Adjust the size so they can easily email, or post them in the media section of your Web site for downloading.

A list of blog tour stops. Post this on your Web site, blog, MySpace, Tagged, Ning, Facebook, and give copies to your blog tour hosts. Also send out to your listserve or everyone in your address book.

Leave yourself open for unique items requested by various Web sites. If a site receives thousands of hits per day, you will want to work a little harder for them than a site with 12 hits. Be sure to save all documents with your name and the content. For example: AngelaWilson.Q&A.doc, AngelaWilson.mug.JPEG, etc.

Don't sweat it if you don't have everything now. Just get the basics together and add to your tour folder when you can. Remember that Web 2.0 will demand audio and video elements – the two most lacking – for future audiences. Start off with at least three unique columns and add to those when you can.

Until Tomorrow,
Angela Wilson

Want details on Pop Syndicate virtual tours? E-mail Angela at

Join Pop Group on Linkedin -

Some content originally posted at Mike's Writing Workshop & Newsletter at


  1. Hi Angela,
    Thanks for the great information!

    A blog tour is the way many major authors are going now. Your expertise is really appreciated for those of us who feel safer telling stories than promoting them--or ourselves.

    You make it sound not so threatening. I'm looking forward to the rest of your columns.

  2. Hi Angela,
    I'm very happy to welcome you to my blogspot. You've got some valuable information to tell authors about promotion.

    Have a good time!

    Morgan Mandel

  3. Thanks Angela. That information is really helpful. Not all authors are savvy about doing a virtual tour and this is a great resource.

  4. Angela,
    This is a great information for those of us planning a tour. Do you have a recommendation on the ideal number of blogs to visit?

  5. A virtual book tour sounds like just the ticket, especially when real tickets are so expensive these days. I'm definitely going to look into this!

  6. Lillie -

    The number of blogs you visit depend on a few things:

    1. Your genre
    2. Your online expertise
    3. Your time

    Some genres have more blogs than others and will be easier to place, while others will be harder sells. If you are not experienced online, don't know much about blogging, or have never done a virtual tour, I would suggestion starting slow. Do one per week, beginning with Friendly Blogs - those set up by people who know and love you and will help you sort through the details as you gain experience.

    I STRONGLY encourage all authors to begin touring with people they know. Once you have experience, you will develop a different professionalism when dealing with other sites. This goes a LONG way to making good connections and giving a great impression to those who don't know you. I can always tell an inexperienced virtual tour author within the first few lines of an email. They ask many questions that they should already know the answers to. It takes a lot of time to respond. I do my best; not all sites will give that courtesy.

    Feel free to email or post any other questions along the way. More to come tomorrow and Friday.

    Thanks to Morgan for the invite!

    Angela Wilson
    Book Blog Editor
    Pop Syndicate

  7. Great information. Thanks for letting us pick your brain.

  8. Thanks for the helpful hints, Angela.
    Let's see if someone can stump you tomorrow.(g)
    Morgan Mandel

  9. Visiting the blog late today, but I'm glad I came by and learned a few new things about the virtual tour. Will try to come back tomorrow.

  10. Thanks to all for your comments!

  11. Wow, this is amazing. I just finished reading all 3 parts and you have hit the nail on the head, Angela. I really liked how you told us how it really is and I especially liked your advice on how to prepare for your tour (e.g. writing up guest posts ahead of time). I'm going to blog this in the morning. Thank you...nothing like coming from the horse's -'s - mouth!

  12. Anonymous7:11 PM

    You write very well.


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