Blending media: the Art of a Good Book Tour

By Booth Media Group

When you write a new book, it’s a beautiful thing, a fresh creation, a message for the world. And writing it is certainly the hard part. After all, you’ve put in hours, brain cells, and probably a few tears into those pages. The editing and revising process was soul-numbing, and your editor is your best friend and arch nemesis all at once. But finally, the book is done and on the digital shelves of your nearest Amazon.com.

So what’s next?

The next step is somehow to let the public know your book is ready for them to buy and read and love. This step has many facets and options. One option is to go on a book tour. Variations on a traditional book tour that are a bit more affordable for most new authors are the virtual book tour and doing one major event in your hometown. All three of these options follow the general outline below. They will all help you launch your book. Combining these tours and events with as many key radio shows as possible, plus offering an article on a newsworthy topic that connects to your book to daily newspapers and key monthly publications can really help spread your net of visibility.

A traditional book tour means that you will travel into various cities and go to various venues, usually book stores, read little excerpts from your book, and then answer questions. Ideally, you’ll also do radio, tv, and get print coverage in these cities to promote your book and events.

In your head you’re probably imagining cozy rooms full of earnest and interested people all giving you their undivided attention and then flocking to the cash register to buy your book which you will sign with a pithy saying and your best autograph. But reality can be very, very different.

Often, bookstore events draw just a few people. A “crowd” is when people who aren’t your family show up. But even with a sparse turnout, these events are important for a number of reasons:

Connecting with readers:holding local events gives you a chance to connect with readers. In a world when we are usually so far apart from the authors, icons, celebrities, and leaders who influence us, being present and tangible still has value.

Connecting with booksellers: these are the people who, after all, have the power of recommendation when that wandering soul comes along an asks, “I’m looking for a good book. What do you recommend?” And if they’ve met you or know about your book, they are more likely to say, “Why, this new one from Whatever-Your-Name-Is is really good!”

Connecting with the location: and this step really requires media of all kinds: print, radio, television, and online. The beauty of being in a city is that you have the opportunity to capture media that prioritize LOCAL stories. You might be from Timbuctu, but you can pitch the local angle because you’re physically in town.

People need to see and hear about your book a number of times before they will buy it, according to studies. So when you blend radio and tv interviews, print and online reviews and features, and local events, you are giving your book the best chance of finding open eyes (and ears.)

Book tours aren’t necessarily for everyone, but have a chat with your publicist and see if they might be right for you.

What Exactly Does a PR Firm Do? Part Three

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We’re finally here! We’re ending our three-part series about what a PR firm does with book tours.

Book tours are one of those things that, if you decide to pursue, should be handled by a PR agency. Pitching, following up, and booking interviews can be stressful and time consuming – so let a trained professional do it!

Deciding to embark on a book tour is like deciding to take a road trip across America. It’s not impossible by any means, but some planning and a map are highly recommended. Think of a PR agency as your road map and a trained guide all in one. We’re here to make sure you have a professionally planned and successful book tour.

When deciding on a book tour you should have a reason for traveling to specific cities. Having a conference, event or connection to the cities you’re touring in will give you the best media coverage.

At Booth Media Group we have booked hundreds of book tours so trust us when we say it takes dedication to have a successful campaign. When looking into a book tour, you must keep in mind that it is a full-time commitment for the duration of the tour. A good PR firm will start planning for a book tour at least 3-4 months in advance.

To make your book tour successful, besides hiring a PR firm, you should have a reason for touring in a city. If you’re going to Chicago, New York and Austin, you have to have a compelling reason for the media in each city to talk with you and learn about your book.

The hook for the media can be anything from having a conference in the city, having your book celebration or commenting on the anniversary of a major historical event, or even having a party at a restaurant in the city.

These local events will interest the media, who will then also talk with you about your over all message. It’s also very valuable to have friends in each tour city who can come to your events – and bring THEIR friends! With events, who you know can be very helpful, and there is really is strength in numbers. The media are more likely to be interested in you, and the venues are more likely to help promote you, if you can bring more warm bodies with you.

As crazy as a book tour might sound (and feel,) having a dedicated PR firm behind you (and before you) will help things go smoothly. They can even be fun!