Rather than trek from city to city, many authors today are touring from home in their underwear. The virtual tour continues to rise in popularity, and there is no shortage of venues in the blogosphere to visit. No air travel, no road trips, no filling the tank at four bucks a gallon – sounds like a terrific alternative to the traditional tour. But is it? I’m touring virtually right here right now, though I am wearing shorts and a tank top. I live in Hawaii, which makes the conventional tour a bit more difficult – but not impossible. So, why am I typing instead of talking to you at a bookstore? Do virtual tours sell books?
Maybe. But I don’t think they sell all that many. What the virtual tour does do is give an author exposure. Before reading this, you may have never heard the name Douglas Corleone or the title of my latest novel, Last Lawyer Standing. But if you just read that sentence, you have now. (Please try to remember it). Are you likely to rush over to Amazon and purchase my book based on my musings on virtual tours? Of course not. But my name may stick in your head – Douglas Corleone, Douglas Corleone, Douglas Corleone – and next spring when my first international thriller titled Good as Gone comes out, you may remember it. (If you need help remembering my surname, think of the Corleone family in The Godfather saga).
In advertising it’s well known that a consumer needs to see a product about 7 or 8 times before the product truly sinks into that consumer’s memory. The bar I’ve set for virtual tours is 30 blogs in 30 days. (I accomplished that last year; this year, only half as many). So if you come across half my guest blog posts this year, there’s a chance you’ll remember my name, maybe even my face, and hopefully my book jacket, next time you’re browsing the shelves in the New Mysteries section at Barnes & Noble. And maybe then, you’ll pick up the book, read the dust jacket. If so, whether you purchase the book or not, the virtual tour has served its purpose.The virtual tour should remain part of any new author’s arsenal. But it shouldn’t replace the traditional tour. Nothing compares to meeting readers face-to-face and signing their books in front of them. The virtue of the virtual tour is to give an author an additional platform, to expand his or her overall internet presence. If it accomplishes that minor goal, it’s done its job and it was well worth the 400 or 500 words written in your underwear. Thanks to the Stiletto Gang for helping me help you remember my name – Douglas Corleone, Douglas Corleone, Douglas Corleone – though I still hope to meet you someday face-to-face. Let’s say next spring?
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Bio: Douglas Corleone is the author of the Kevin Corvelli crime novels published by St. Martin's Minotaur. A former New York City criminal defense attorney, Doug now resides in the Hawaiian Islands, where he is currently at work on his next novel. Visit him online at www.douglascorleone.com and follow him on Twitter @douglascorleone and Facebook.