by Cheryl Kaye Tardif (aka Cherish D’Angelo)

Over the years, authors who wanted to promote their books directly to the public had one main option; they had to physically travel across the country conducting book signings and readings in various bookstores and praying that people would show up. This meant spending money on flights, hotels, transportation and meals. This traditional type of book tour is expensive and very few publishing companies are willing to pay for them. But now, authors have a different method of ‘touring the world’―the virtual book tour.

Virtual book tours (also known as virtual author tours, guest blogging, blog tours, online book tours or VBTs are a simple concept. The author “tours” various blogs and sites that pertain to a theme in the book or to writing/publishing in general. This way, you can potentially reach thousands of avid readers each tour day from the privacy of your office or home.

The goal of marketing your book is to expose it to as many people as possible in an exciting, cost-effective and entertaining way. Guest blogging can achieve that goal. Most blogs are archived, so your post becomes permanent and often viral, spreading from site to site. That is leverage. You are in essence leveraging your internet presence and duplicating yourself with every VBT stop. Your blog tour is working for you even while you sleep. Try doing that at a bookstore signing!

Virtual author tours really took off in the last three years. They began with a handful of authors posting to other blogs in order to promote their works online. They announced those dates just as they would a bona fide book signing. This kind of author tour is now becoming all the rage. Some bookstores are no longer allowing authors to do book signings. Limited space and time constraints are the common reasons. Plus, it just isn’t time efficient and monetarily feasible for most authors to do the physical cross-country bookstore tour. Well, unless you are one of the super authors that get paid the big bucks, like Stephen King or J.K. Rowling.

Virtual book tour services and book marketing experts are popping up all over the internet. Authors can now outsource the organization of a VBT. I suggest that you thoroughly check out these companies and ask yourself if the price is worth it. Some services cost thousands of dollars, while some cost less but only post your content to duplicate sites―ones they have set up themselves. The latter is not an advantage to you. You need to have wide coverage and exposure to various sites and audiences. Go where your readers are.

Planning a VBT is time-consuming, but not that difficult. Bloggers are more open to having guests than ever before, so you may find it more worthwhile to take the time to plan your own blog tour. This way you’ll have more control over who hosts you. Or you may decide that hiring someone to coordinate the tour is best. Do what’s right for you. I choose to do my own because I want to have flexibility in what each site posts and I enjoy the contact with my hosts.

Virtual book tours take time, patience and research, but as I have discovered, they are definitely worthwhile. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. So why not start today? You have the entire world at your fingertips!

Thank you to everyone for dropping by this blog and visiting me on my Cherish the Romance Virtual Book Tour. Lancelot’s Lady is available in ebook edition at KoboBooks, Amazon’s Kindle Store, Smashwords and other ebook retailers. Help me celebrate by picking up a copy today and “Cherish the romance…”

Lancelot’s Lady ~ A Bahamas holiday from dying billionaire JT Lance, a man with a dark secret, leads palliative nurse Rhianna McLeod to Jonathan, a man with his own troubled past, and Rhianna finds herself drawn to the handsome recluse, while unbeknownst to her, someone with a horrific plan is hunting her down.

You can learn more about Lancelot’s Lady and Cherish D’Angelo (aka Cheryl Kaye Tardif) at http://www.cherylktardif.com.

Prizes & Giveaways: Follow Cherish from September 27 to October 10 on her Cherish the Romance Virtual Book Tour and win prizes. Leave a comment here, with email address, to be entered into the prize draws. You’re guaranteed to receive at least 1 free ebook just for doing so. Plus you’ll be entered to win a Kobo ereader. Winners will be announced after October 10th.