October being release month for Stitch, Bake, Die!, the latest book in the eponymous Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mysteries, author Lois Winston is on a month-long virtual book tour. Lois refers to these as the Sit on Your Butt Book Tours because all her interactions with readers take place while…sitting on her butt. Not to mention all the time she sat in front of her computer composing a month’s worth of guest posts for the different blogs that are hosting her. However, she says a virtual tour beat driving hours to bookstores and libraries and hoping someone shows up.
Lois once did a signing at a bookstore where only two customers entered the store during the two hours she was scheduled to sign. One wanted to buy a newspaper (the bookstore didn’t sell newspapers,) and the other was looking for a gift for a birthday party her kid was attending later that day. Neither of these customers was interested in all those books about me. Talk about hurt feelings!
Lois has given bookstore and library talks where dozens of people came to hear her speak and others where one a few people showed up. Since I’m the main topic of these talks, I take a limited audience personally.
According to Lois, there are many benefits of a virtual book tour, especially a blog tour, which is not done in real time like Zooming. On a virtual tour readers pop in to say hello and comment whenever it’s convenient for them. Do they click on the link to buy a book afterwards? Hard to say. But according to Lois, that’s a lot less stressful than sitting at a table with a pile of unsold books in front of you and a smile pasted on your face. And a virtual tour can be done while wearing her Disney jammies and fuzzy slippers.
The virtual tour is also a lot more fun than trying to engage shoppers at a bookstore. I swear, these people must think that they’ll get sucked in by the “author ray” and be forced to buy a book! People go out of their way to avoid making eye contact. Some booksellers encourage authors to walk around the store and engage shoppers in conversation, but according to Lois, half the time people act as if she’s a stalker for merely smiling and offering a friendly hello and a bookmark.
Lois, like many authors, is shy by nature. Putting herself “out there” has never been easy for her. So it takes a lot for her to step out of her writer’s cave and psych herself up for these events. Over the years, she’s become better at faking an extrovert personality, but it’s still hard for her.
Except when she can go incognito.
It turned out to be a totally liberating experience for an introvert. And that’s what a virtual book tour is for Lois. Maybe next time she’s asked to do a signing or an in-person talk, she’ll dress up as a giant red kitty.
Lois is giving away five e-copies of Stitch, Bake, Die! during the Great Escapes portion of her virtual book tour which began on Oct. 4th and runs through Oct. 17. Enter the Rafflecopter at each stop on the tour for a chance to win. You can find the complete tour schedule here.