Friday, February 18, 2005

Virtual book tours gaining in well they should

Another online 'blogozine' (Small Business Trends, in this case) is joining a virtual book-tour circuit, which reminded me that I've been wanting to talk about this at my main journal - consider this a short treatment on the subject, to remind me to write a longer one this weekend.

The idea's real simple: like a physical book tour, an author gets booked to appear at a series of literary websites during a specific span of time. These sites will do different things to mark your visit, depending on how sophisticated their own technology is - anything from an internet interview (via email or chat), to a guest post, to a phone interview for later podcast. You stitch a wide range of well-known literary websites together for such a tour, both bookstore eCommerce sites and fan blogs, so that for example 14 such 'appearances' in 14 days would count as a full tour, with you actually reaching the same amount of new potential readers as a full physical tour would've garnered, for only a fraction of the cost.

This is such a fantastic idea, for both underground authors and bloggers, for so many reasons. Obviously, for example, such a 'tour' gives a broke writer the same power to reach new readers as usually only a marketing juggernaut like James Patterson would, all while basically staying at home the entire time and not spending an extra cent on such a tour (but quite a bit of time - the author in question should be ready to devote four or five hours a day if taking on such a tour, I think).

But equally important, and maybe easy to forget, it would give all these bloggers something to actually write about, and new content to produce, instead of the usual "I'm quoting someone who's quoting someone who's quoting this syndicated article" entries that fill up so many of them. Ever since getting my Bloglines account up and running, I've quickly become a fan of several people out there who have sometimes really interesting things to say about literature, but too often have nothing new to say, but rather are synposizing and linking to other things they find (much like this [metafeed] of mine). If you get these amateur essaysists, reviewers and interviewers on one of these 'virtual book-tour circuits,' where once every week a different author comes by and conducts an online interview, I bet you'd see a flowering of thoughtful, in-depth discussions of the arts on the web, like dozens of little Paris Reviews floating around, which would be infinitely more interesting than Seth linking to Jane who linked to Marc who linked to Marianne who linked to a comment at Bookslut that someone made yesterday. Anyway, more on this in my main journal, Monday.