Writing a book can be the easiest part of the entire process. Even after it’s printed, you still have to market your book. Some authors are fortunate enough to have a motivated agent, but for the vast majority of authors the burden to market the book falls upon the author. Ask anyone who has ever gone on a multi-city book tour, it is exhausting. If you are funding it yourself, it is also expensive. Thankfully today a book tour doesn’t mean living out of hotels, eating fast food or spending more time in transit than connecting with potential readers.
Even small authors and self-published works can now use the strategy of the digital book tour. It costs less and provides a much greater return on investment for both your time and money.
What is a virtual book tour?
The smartest authors have used this tactic on radio and television for years. Consider Tony Robbins. Before every book release, his team schedules hundreds of 30-minute radio interviews on stations that his potential readers are listening. He can cover the nation and never leave home. In major cities he may still do traditional book signings but they are typically associated with another high-priced event. His time is too valuable to trek from book store to book store. For famous author’s this is a proven strategy. Now it’s available to the vast majority of authors without name major recognition or a Public Relations firm.
Podcast are the new On-Demand Radio
Consider Chris Drucker. In 2014, he launched his book Virtual Freedom with a digital book tour. Never leaving his home in the Philippines, he was able to promote his book to #4 on Amazon Best Sellers. While Chris couldn’t get invited onto radio shows, he could get invited on to podcasts. While podcasts have been around for nearly a decade, today they are more aptly called “on-demand radio”. Listeners can download and listen to episodes at their leisure on their desktop or mobile device. In 2016, some new cars will even be able to download episodes directly as they drive. But back to Chris.
Podcast tend to be very niche. Their listeners very loyal and engaged. Chris used this fact to target over 20 podcasts to be featured on as a guest expert. All were established shows, had sizeable audiences (10k to 400k listeners) and listeners that matched his ideal reader / buyer persona. Over a month, Chris contacted the hosts and set up times to record the interview. Unlike radio which is revenue driven, podcasts are content driven. The podcast show hosts welcomed Chris’s stories, perspective, and wisdom. To maximize the impact, Chris asked the host to publish (air) the shows during the 2 weeks prior to the launch to drive sales and initial rankings.
Turning their listeners into his customers
When someone buys a book from Amazon, they are Amazon’s customer not yours. Chris wanted people to buy his book. He also wanted to connect with them so he could communicate with them directly. The heart of his business was not his book, but his placement service that found virtual assistants for busy overworked Americans. The book sold for $20, the placement service for $500. To capture people’s email addresses, Chris promoted his own website and offered free downloads and checklists. This was free bonus information that attracted visitors and engaged leads.
You can do it also
In late 2015, there are nearly 200k podcasts in the United States alone. Most are interview based formats. For the typically podcast host, the show is his passion, his art, not his primary business. This means they are limited by time and resources. By connecting with them and providing valuable content to their listeners you are helping them as you help yourself promote your new book.