The Greatest Benefit of Virtual Book Tours

Laptop in classic library

I’ve been promoting authors’ books with virtual book tours (VBTs) since 2007. I could share numerous benefits of VBTs: promoting a book from the comfort of your own home, the vast audience they reach, and their longevity (I can type the author’s name and book title from one of my first clients into Google and still see results from her virtual book tour.). I might even discuss two detailed articles I wrote on why VBTs work and how to judge your VBT’s success from my own experience promoting Little Shepherd when it first came out.

But I’m not going to talk about any of that. Why? Because that’s not what I feel is the greatest benefit of virtual book tours.

For me, the greatest benefit of promoting my work and the work of others through virtual books tours has been connecting with readers and other authors.

It’s easy to forget the hard-working people behind the blogs; but owning several blogs myself, I doubt anyone does it just to get free books. These blogs are labors of love where the people behind the computer screen relish sharing the books they read and spreading the word about their favorite authors. Some bloggers come and go, but many I’ve known for years. We chat about our families. We rejoice over special occasions and pray for each other in times of need.

Then there are the authors. As a blogger and writer, as well as a book publicist, I’ve had the opportunity to correspond with hundreds of authors over the years. Some have become close friends and I’ve met a few in person. You don’t always know when it happens. One day you’re promoting an author’s book and the next you’re chatting online as if you’ve been friends since childhood. You celebrate each other’s achievements and give each other a virtual pat on the back when a rejection letter appears.

Take Marilyn. She hired Pump Up Your Book (PUYB) to promote Judgment Fire from her Deputy Tempe Crabtree series when it was released in 2007. I had been blogging about PUYB’s authors for a few months, and since mysteries are some of my favorites I requested to review it. The following spring, Marilyn released Smell of Death from her Rocky Bluff P.D. series. She returned to PUYB to promote it, and I was asked by our founder, Dorothy, if I would like to handle Marilyn’s tour. Since I loved Judgment Fire so much, I quickly agreed. Marilyn and I have journeyed together through many other book releases over the years. Always a joy to work with, I look forward to spring and fall because it means Marilyn has new books to share. She has been a blessing; a source of support as this novice author spreads her wings; and a wise and helpful mentor.

When I first started blogging and promoting books, I had no idea how many friends I would gain as a result. Guardian Angel Publishing released Little Shepherd in 2010. My three-month virtual book tour had more than 70 blog stops. All these people I had worked with over the years wanted to help me promote my book. I’m still humbled just thinking about it.

Yes, writing is a business. Marketing is an important part of your success. But nothing beats all the friends you make along the way.  Cheryl Malandrinos

Cheryl Malandrinos is a children’s author and freelance editor. She is the author of Little Shepherd, released by Guardian Angel Publishing, and A Christmas Kindness, released by 4RV Publishing, under her pen name, C.C. Gevry. A digital version of A Christmas Kindness will be released in 2013.

Since 2007, Cheryl has been an online book publicist specializing in virtual book tours. She is a member of the SCBWI, a book reviewer, and blogger.

Ms. Malandrinos lives in Western Massachusetts with her husband and two children. She also has a son who is married. Visit her online at http://ccmalandrinos.com/ or http://ccgevry.com/.

* This post first appeared on November 11, 2013 at Marilyn’s Musings.