Debut author touts the online book tour

EDITOR’S NOTE: I’m passing along (with her permission) an update from from local author and BCAC member Therese Walsh.

My debut novel, The Last Will of Moira Leahy, was released Oct. 13 by Random House. Since then, I’ve embraced the 21st century book tour — that is, a book tour that is almost exclusively online. I’ve visited sites dedicated to readers, others dedicated to writers, some dedicated to mothers. I’ve visited specialty sites, too, such as an independent bookstore site devoted to all things twin — apropos for my book, as the lives of twin girls are at its heart. I’ve conducted interviews for some sites, written essays for others, and been involved in several post-essay Q&A sessions. I’ve also utilized my own blog at Writer Unboxed.

Is an online blog tour as lively as a multi-city book tour? Though I’ve never participated in the latter, I can tell you that an online book tour can keep a writer extremely busy. It can do a lot to help spread the word about a book, which in turn can help with something called Rate of Movement. Rate of Movement refers to how quickly your books are moving off the shelf, and out of stores, in a given period of time. Rate of Movement is used to determine many things, including how likely it is that a bookstore reorders your book and just how visible your book is on a store’s radar. Rate of Movement also reveals the number of books that a store orders from a publisher that don’t sell, the number they return to a publisher. So, overall, Rate of Movement is a very important early indicator of a novel’s success.

The goal when doing any sort of tour is to get the word out about your book so that many people go to a bookstore and buy — to push that Rate of Movement number in the right direction, to encourage re-orders from bookstores, and to prompt a re-print from your publisher. If you’ve heard that the first few weeks following a novel’s release are important, it’s because of this very issue.

The Internet is the best tool ever created for spreading the word, and that’s why Internet tours are so popular today. Bonus: You can “tour” while sitting at home in your pajamas.

Write on, all!

Therese Walsh
101 Best Websites (Writer’s Digest, ’07, ’08 & ’09)

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