Talking Virtual Book Tours with Phyllis Zimbler Miller

Your book has just been released and you’re scrambling for ideas on how to market it. With so many alternatives, which do you choose?

Virtual book tours have become the latest rage among authors no matter if it’s their first book or their fifteenth book. They realize there is no better way to get maximum coverage online than a virtual book tour, sometimes called a virtual blog tour, and love the fact they can do it from the comfort of their own home.

Phyllis Zimbler Miller decided to try out a virtual book tour to promote her latest book, Mrs. Lieutenant, and chose Pump Up Your Book Promotion to choreograph her tour. Some authors choose to do this themselves; others need help if they aren’t familiar with online book promotion.

“It was a wonderful experience,” she says. “Dorothy Thompson and her whole team are very committed to each author, take each author’s tour very seriously, and work towards maximum exposure in the right places.”

We interviewed Phyllis to find out more about her virtual book tour experience in the hopes it will help other authors learn more about them and clear up any questions they might have.

Thank you for this interview, Phyllis. How would you compare your virtual book tour experience with a live tour?

I liked the virtual book tour much better for two reasons: 1) much less wear and tear on the author as well as no disappointment that book buyers haven’t shown up at a signing and 2) because the internet can spread info about a book much farther than a local event.

Did you combine a live tour with your virtual book tour?

No, I am not interested in a live tour for the reasons stated above.

On a scale of 1 – 10, how would you rank your tour in terms of increased online exposure, and overall satisfaction?

Probably an 8+ in increased online exposure –- I wouldn’t have had any exposure on book blogs without the tour. Overall satisfaction – 9+.

Would you consider your tour a success? If so, in what way? If not, would you care to explain?

Absolutely consider my tour a success both in the exposure I got and the good reviews. Whether this translates into sales? I believe that a person has to come across something several times before buying. Each time that MRS. LIEUTENANT is reviewed or commented upon on the internet is another time the book’s title is in front of people.

How much time did you invest in the actual pre-tour process of filling out interviews and writing guest posts for your stops?

Only a few hours. Although as someone trained as a journalist, it is easy for me to quickly write short pieces or answer questions.

How much time did you invest in promoting your tour?

I did not spend that much time promoting my own tour (some mentions on my blogs and in social media). I didn’t want to “push” myself on people I know.

What part of your virtual book tour did you love the most?

Being introduced to all these great book blogs! I was truly impressed with the caliber of the book blog reviewers.

What part of your virtual book tour did you find a bit disappointing?

That more people didn’t leave comments on the posts. Although I know that only a very small fraction of people who read blog posts do leave comments.

Was your tour coordinator helpful and eager to find just the right stops for you?

My tour coordinator -– Dorothy Thompson -– was extremely good at finding the right stops for me. She’s both an ace with Google search and also with thinking outside the box. I particularly love that I got to write a guest post on her blog www.overthehillchick.blogspot.com because I’m a boomer and my novel takes place in 1970. Another huge plus –- she’s open to author’s suggestions.

How could the tour coordinator improve?

It might have been easier to handle guest posts and interview posts if we had shared a file on Google docs. Then there wouldn’t be the question of whether docs had been received or could be opened.

Did you notice your Amazon rankings change during your tour?

I didn’t check. As I said above, I believe that the effects of the virtual book tour will be seen in the months to come.

How did your internet presence (e.g. Google) change from the time you started your tour until the end?

Although I have my own (relatively new) blogs, my internet presence definitely increased during the tour as demonstrated by my Google alerts.

Any final words?

How about a widget to put on author blogs and websites during the month of the tour that could be clicked to go to the day’s blog stops of the author whose blog/website the widget is on?

This is the best book promotion expenditure I’ve made in terms of return on investment. I highly recommend Pump Up Your Book Promotion.

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