How to Create a Stellar Online Book Tour

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You thought writing your book would be hard work, right? Well, the work begins when you publish. Whether you are a traditionally published author, hybrid author, or independently self-publishing, you will need to market your book, and online is the place to do it. Social media marketing is the hip version of the old book tours where authors trekked from city to city selling their books. Today, publishers don't have the budget; only the biggest authors get this treatment. Have no fear; you can recreate this with less money and some elbow grease.

In the months leading up to your book launch, you will need to be planning for what I call the modern-day book tour. Hopefully, you've spent time building your author platform and boosting your online presence so people will be interested when you launch your book.

How to Create a Stellar Online Book TourThe tools you can use to build your book tour:

YouTube videos
Articles for your blog and guest posts
Slideshare presentations
Mailing list

You want people to hear about your book in as many ways as possible. Create a media blitz with as many of these as possible so people can share them with their networks.

These are a few examples of what you can do to make a big splash on your launch day.

Be ready to work hard.

Working with Guy Kawasaki and Shawn Welch on APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur – How to Publish a Book, we planned many events online for post-launch social media marketing. Guy and Shawn were guests on Google+ Hangouts and were interviewed about the self-publishing process sharing what they learned writing the book and self-publishing it. We were guests on Twitter chats and hosted our own Twitter chats. We chose the #ApetheBook hashtag and have used that consistently since the book launch. Guy did up to three daily interviews via Skype or phone for months.

How you can do this:

• Find people who host Twitter chats and contact them to let them know you'd like to be a guest.

• Let people know you are available for interviews, chats, and other online media.

• Use an easy-to-remember, relevant hashtag for your book. This will tie your content together across Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

• Be prepared to put in the time to get the word out about your book.

Build your own buzz

Another way to build buzz is to create your event. Jennifer Miller, the author of The Year of the Gadfly, has created several unique marketing events for her book. Jennifer is a traditionally published author building the buzz for her books with social media. She created the month of the Gadfly, and her goal was to hit 100 book clubs in thirty days to break a world record. She got a lot of great press for this. Jennifer was my guest for the #MyBookClub chat on Twitter and wrote about it in The Huffington Post in an article called Savvy Authors Surfing the Web to Bridge the Digital Divide.

How you can do this:

• Brainstorm and come up with something unique for your book. Then do it!

• Use online tools to organize your event.

Create a media blitz.

Jay Baer did a fantastic job with his book: Youtility: Why Smart Marketing is about Help not Hype. Jay, although traditionally published, built a team of people to work on his marketing pre-book launch. Full disclosure, I worked on a project with Jay for Youtility, but I learned post-launch that Jay had a whole crew. This was very smart. This gave Jay a whole crew of people ready to cheer on his project and want it to be successful.

Jay used the following marketing pieces (and probably more): a book trailer, a SlideShare presentation, and at least twenty-five articles from his book published on high-profile blogs. Jay has spent time building a network of friends who are at the same level in their career as he is: published authors, high-profile speakers, and fully vested in their social media platforms. He also built trust and readership with his popular blog: Convince and Convert.

How you can do this:

• Put in the time needed to build a strong online persona that people trust and look to for information. No short cuts here.

• Blog regularly on your niche topic to build your base audience.

•  Network with authors in your genre.

• Work with others to help you get your social media marketing assets built prelaunch so you are ready post-launch to hit the ground running.

Share your adventure

New York Times best-selling author Hugh Howey started as an indie writer and is now a hybrid author. He has built an enviable fan base online, watching the progress meters on this writing project with bated breath. How does he do this? He is 100% himself and shares interesting content. He creates fun unboxing videos when he gets copies of his books or products, shares photos from his travels at book signings and events and engages with his fans.

Why you should do this:

• Create media by taking photos and sharing them on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

Build a Pinterest presence to catalog your writer's life. More about how writers can use Pinterest here.

(Disclosure: I worked with Hugh on his Pinterest account)

• Post questions, share reviews, and let people learn about your journey as an author

• Have fun! You can tell that Hugh is living his dream and truly enjoying being a writer.

Make a media kit

You'll need to build your digital assets before your launch to be ready when people want to interview you. Sarah Robinson did a great job on her book website and media kit for her self-published book Fierce Loyalty: Unlocking the DNA of Wildly Successful Communities. You'll need the following:
  1. A short and long bio
  2. High-resolution photo
  3. Links to your social media profiles
  4. High-resolution book covers

Why you should do this:

• Make it easy for people to spread the word about your book.

• Create a media kit at least a month before your launch.

I hope this gives you some ideas on how to prep for your big day when your book launches. A book launch is a marathon, not a sprint, and doesn't stop the day after your book is released. Invest time in your social media marketing to create an interesting presence. You'll notice that none of these are hard-sell methods of marketing or sales pitches. Social media marketing is not a sales pitch; as a writer, your goal is to help people find your books and learn about you.

What are you waiting for? Get started!

Next week I'll cover the steps to create your media blitz with a thirty-day plan as I'm nearing the end of the social media for authors series.

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  1. PegFitzpatrick jaredeasley I am happy about your upcoming post on Media Kits 🙂 #PegRocks

  2. Peg, It is hard to resist your upbeat ways. Rockin a positive attitude and that picture!
     I will see what I can do, though I still feel lost in this eworld, and the sort of work that I do, literary fiction, seems to be the hardest sell. I am a veteran writer http://maryburns.ca/works.html, but a novice in your world. Never too old to learn, though, right?
    I will look for more tips.

  3. Super valuable info. I will def use for my upcoming book launch Community! startupnerd.co/community/
    Thanks for putting this together Peg!

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