Talking Virtual Book Tours with Wayne Zurl, author of 'A New Prospect'

Our guest today is Wayne Zurl, author of the mystery novel, A New Prospect. Wayne is on a virtual book tour in June and July 2011 with Pump Up Your Book and we decided to ask him a few questions about virtual book tours as part of his stop at The Writer’s Life.

Thank you for this interview, Wayne. Can we start out by having you tell us briefly what your new book is about?

A NEW PROSPECT follows Sam Jenkins, a retired New York detective lieutenant as he hires on as chief of police in Prospect, Tennessee, a small city in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains.

Sam’s first day on the job provides him with a homicide to solve. Cecil Lovejoy, a wealthy real estate developer is stabbed to death at the annual British car show.

The investigation quickly nets the chief more suspects than he ever wanted. Plus, the victim’s politically powerful widow throws a monkey wrench at the case by requesting State Detectives lead the investigation. Does she doubt Jenkins’ ability or think he’s too good at his job?

More and more authors are realizing the potential for sales that derives from virtual book tours. Can you tell us your personal reasons why you chose a virtual book tour to help get the word out about your new book?

I’ve arranged for a dozen local book signings where I’ve sold from 5 to 15 copies per event. I envisioned more action, but have been told I’m doing okay.

I admit being a dinosaur when it comes to the workings of 21st century social media, but have learned enough about it to see that conventional ways of selling a novel may be obsolete. The publicist I chose to conduct my virtual book tour showed me many positive reasons to use her service.

Is this the first time you have heard of them? If not, where did you hear of them?

I’ve heard of virtual everything going on over the Internet, but really didn’t understand the mechanics. I didn’t know a blogspot from a sunspot. This is the first time I investigated the possibility of a VBT being a good avenue to publicize my novel. Another author from a group I belong to at Linkedin.com mentioned his VBT and it sounded interesting.

As you know, a virtual book tour involves - among other things - interviews and guest posts. Do you prefer one over the other?

I prefer an interview with good questions. I spent 20 years of my adult life testifying in court. I do well answering questions. Especially when I have them in advance; it’s almost like an open book test. But I can live with guest posts when given a few topics from which to choose a topic to write about.

Some authors prefer an all review tour. Can you tell us if you are one of them and why or why not?

So far I like the reviews I’ve gotten for A NEW PROSPECT. Who could hate 4 or 5 stars and a bunch of compliments? Everyone seems to love the story and main characters. But I think a diversification of events is the best way; reviews to get additional opinions on the story, interviews to allow readers to learn things about me, and even the guest posts provide views to other aspects of my personality. I think a writer would short change themselves with a review only tour; too impersonal.

What do you hope to achieve through promoting your book through a virtual book tour?

In the big scheme of publishing, Wayne Zurl is a virtual unknown. From all I’ve read so far, the number of people reached by these virtual tours and social media exposure is staggering.

On-line booksellers are littered with books by new authors. I need people to recognize my name and that my book was chosen as best mystery at the 2011 Independent Professional Publisher’s Book Awards. Unknown films that win an Oscar become big names. Maybe my “Indie” will make A NEW PROSPECT the SLUM DOG MILLIONNAIRE of detective novels.

Do you promote online through other means? Website? Blog?

I have a website (www.waynezurlbooks.net) and use Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Author Central at Amazon, authonomy.com, YouTube for my promotional video, authorsden.com, goodreads.com, smashwords.com, bookblogs.ning.com, filedbyauthor.com, manicreaders.com, gather.com, and Indie Bound and January Magazine pages on Facebook.

Who maintains your website/blog?

The last time I worked with computers professionally, they were 7 feet tall. I have a computer whiz who guides me through my technophobia. He’s actually looking for a 12 step program for me to join. But he does everything I ask to keep my website looking interesting, new, and professional. He built a section I can tend myself which I call my diary. I have a mental block about saying I have a blog. It sounds like I need surgery.

What are your experiences with offline book signings? Do you have much luck selling your book through that method?

As I mentioned before, I’ve already done a dozen book signings and will continue to do more at potentially good venues. They all went well enough, but there is time and expense involved, and I sit around for 3 hours hoping to generate interest in me and my books.

Some people are funny. When they see a person sitting at a table flanked by a couple signs, they assume you’re trying to sell them something they may not want; a book, a timeshare, or some new invention that makes polishing your copper a breeze. These people scurry away without making eye contact. Other people are curious. They stop to talk and buy a book or not. I’ve met some interesting and nice people that way.

Here’s a fun question. If money were no object, how would you promote your book?

That is a fun question. As an ex-civil servant I love to spend other people’s money. So, if I didn’t have to pinch pennies, I’d hire someone to book me on a bunch of local and national network TV shows. I like public speaking and can be as charming as hell for 15 or 20 minutes if I work at it. National TV would really get the word out there.

Thank you for this interview, Wayne. Do you have any final words?

Sure, having the last word is fun, too. I think anyone who wants to read an authentic police novel, written by an ex-cop who has assembled a cast of quirky characters and allows a middle-aged guy to be the hero should buy A NEW PROSPECT.

Sorry, no vampires, zombies, or teenage werewolves—only a good old-fashioned murder solved by old-fashioned police work.

For more information about Zurl or his books, visit www.waynezurlbooks.net. Follow his virtual book tour at http://www.pumpupyourbook.com/2011/05/19/a-new-prospect-virtual-book-tour-june-july-2011/.

Connect with Wayne at Twitter at http://twitter.com/#!/waynezurl or Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001483038544.



Check out the trailer! Love the music!

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