A Writer in the World: At the DMV

 

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A few weeks ago, I found myself in the DMV, or whatever its name is in the state of Florida. For the third time in my life, I was waiting while one of my daughters took her road test in order to earn her license.

As I sat there, it occurred to me that this is one of the most tense, anxiety-provoking situations that a parent experiences. Because, you see, there is nothing you can do. Your job is done. You cannot take the test for your child; you cannot even be in the car to provide moral support or words of assurance. You have to sit back, hope you’ve done your best to prepare her and try to keep the nerves from getting the best of you.

As a writer, I experience something similar every time a book is released. I’ve written the best story I can. I’ve revised, edited, revised again. I’ve had it formatted, chosen the best cover I possibly could. And then I release it out into the world.

I can’t go with it. I can’t be there every time someone buys my book to explain why I made the choices I did, why a character says what she does. I have to let it go and trust that I’ve done my best.

That day in the DMV, my daughter dashed back into the waiting room wearing a triumphant smile: she had passed. The hard work had paid off, and it was time to celebrate.

Since I’m gearing up to release a new book, I know I’ll be back in my virtual waiting room again soon. I hope the results are just as awesome.

 

 

 

 

 

What on earth is a virtual book tour?

 

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If you follow my posts here with any regularity, you’ve been part of a virtual book tour!

When you see a post about a book that includes a review, a guest post from the author or an excerpt of the book, that is probably a stop on a virtual tour.

Once upon a time, when an author wrote a book, she would go from town to town to promote said book at book stores, libraries and book clubs. It was the staple of a book contract back in the day when a small number of books were published by a few large presses.

But today, things have changed. Books are published at a much larger rate, and neither traditionally  nor independently published writers are sent on those kind of tours very often. Only the big names rate that sort of promotion.

Instead, we use virtual book tours, where the author can promote her book to a large number of people worldwide. . .all without leaving home or even getting out of her pajamas.

Life is good.

I co-own Promotional Book Tours, which is a company that sets up and runs these tours. Here’s how they work.

An author comes to us and requests a tour. We offer several different options, from smaller, shorter tours to our larger, six-week versions.

Once the tour is booked, we offer it to our very select group of bloggers, people with whom we work on a regular basis. They can sign up to host a stop on the tour or to simply participate in a promotional blast, which usually is the first day of any tour.

A tour stop can be an excerpt of the book, a guest post written by the author, an interview with the author or a review of the book by the blogger or her designated reviewer. At PBT, most of our tours include two stops per day for the length of the tour.

Most tours also include giveaways, with prizes that can range from book swag to Amazon Kindles. The giveaways appeal to readers and to bloggers; it brings traffic to the tour and allows the bloggers to grow their own following. It also increases the writer’s visibility in social media.

At PBT, we also promote each tour stop heavily on our Facebook and Twitter feeds. With some tours, we offer video interviews as well.

Working at PBT is pretty cool. I have access to amazing books, work with the best bloggers in the cyber world and meet the finest authors and readers.

If you’re an author looking for a way to increase your presence in social media, raise the visibility of your book(s) and establish a strong base of book reviews, a cyber tour is an excellent idea.

If you’re a blogger, hosting tour stops will give you both content and traffic.

If you’re a reader, following these blogs and tour companies like PBT will give you a head’s up on the best books around and allow to get to know the authors.

For more information, click the PBT link above or visit our Facebook page.