I’m a bit old fashioned, and resistant to change; probably more so the older I get. So, when the idea of doing a virtual book tour was floated in the spring of this year, which would enable me to promote not just one, but all the books I had coming out, I had to think about it. I’d been on actual physical book tours before, and loved it – I have very fond memories of going round bookstores for the Arrowland tour with Rich (then of Simon & Schuster, now of Faber); it was so much fun, not only meeting people who bought the books but driving round with Rich and shooting the breeze. In fact, we’ve remained friends ever since.
At the same time, I was also there – almost – at the forefront of internet writery promotion, providing content and having a presence on the behemoth that was Terror Tales online back in the late ‘90s, early 2000s. But I guess I always saw this as supplementing getting out there to conventions and signings to meet readers. It added another dimension to it, yet could never really replace it – for one thing people can pretend to be something they’re not on the ‘net. And yes, I had a Myspace page when that was all the rage, then switched to Facebook when everybody was doing that – though I resented the move at first (like I said, I’m resistant to change). But I didn’t go on Twitter until 2013, after various publishers insisted I had something up there. Though, actually, I now find it thoroughly entertaining – and the interaction reminds me a lot of those old TT Message Boards.
But a virtual tour? Never done one before, and thought I never would really. Anyway, I agreed and a bunch of stuff was lined up for me, including blog posts, guest essays, podcasts and interviews – and this time the more physical stuff was supplementing it instead, like Guesting at three events (the SFF Social, HorrorCon and Liverpool HorrorFest), TV appearances and launching Monsters at Edge-Lit. I found that even though I was appearing in person at these – and had a whale of a time, I hasten to add – the online stuff was as much a part of the experience before, during and afterwards, as being there. And you know what, I’ve had just as much fun interacting with people online and getting the word out that way, as I did meeting people in the flesh over the past few months.
It’s been a busy time, but also massively rewarding – probably my best year yet for PR. And anyone who wants to check out the full itinerary, can do so below… Of course, the hard work publicising things hasn’t stopped just because the summer is over. It’s been continuing right up to this week, when I answered questions for another forthcoming online interview, and was fielding yet more about the announcement of my mass market novel from Solaris, Sherlock Holmes and the Servants of Hell, coming out next July. You’ll find the press release for that here and a few more titbits I gave Tor.com here. Actually, that experience has also shown me the importance of online PR and how fast word can spread virally, as news posts started appearing within an hour of the original going live – and are now going global. I’m even blogging about it on here!
So, would I do something like it again? The answer is: Hell, yes! It’ll never replace getting out there and meeting people, chatting to readers and fans – indeed, I have a few more appearances lined up before the end of the year, including the obligatory FantasyCon in October – but it definitely works in terms of letting people know what you’re all about. And that can’t be a bad thing for any writer, can it?
The full Shadow Writer summer virtual book tour: Fiona Mcvie Interview; Bitten By Books Multi-Author Event; Mass Movement Blog; Interview and Blog for Rising Shadow; ‘A Hero’s Journey’ for Sci-Fi Bulletin; ‘Top Post-Apocalyptic Films’ for Abaddon; Gentlemen’s Grindhouse Radio Podcast; ‘Modernising a Legend’ at Geek Syndicate; ‘Heroes and Villains’ at Civilian Reader; Starburst Bookworm Podcast; Barbara Donlon Bradley; Luke Greensmith HorrorFest Podcast.