When my memoir, Walking Nature Home, was published earlier this spring, I knew I'd be going on the road to promote it. I had mixed feelings about that. You meet wonderful people, but being "on stage" all the time is hard. Authors on tour end up doing some crazy stuff: David Sedaris puts a tip jar on the table!
Book promotion that way isn't very green: All that travel uses energy (mine and the planet's) and adds carbon dioxide to the atmosphere, contributing to global warming. (And then there's the road-food.) My memoir's about reconnecting with nature to save your life. It didn't make sense to promote it with a lot of planet-harming travel.
So I decided to limit the road-time and extend my reach by doing a blog book tour: "visiting" a variety of blogs over a several week period of time. On my scheduled appearance date, each blog host would post a review of the book, an excerpt with comments, an interview, or whatever they felt would intrigue their particular audience.
I picked blogs I enjoyed reading, with diverse audiences I felt might be natural for Walking Nature Home. People who were interested in nature, sustainable living, women's stories, health and healing, living a rich and full life. I pitched my idea, and when I had what I thought was a good-sized group of blog stops, I got the virtual tour organized.
I started on my own blog, Walking Nature Home (yup, it's named for the book—that makes for good Google-juice). I ended the tour there as well, with a summary of what each stop offered, and links. (One advantage of blog tours: Those posts stay up virtually forever, so readers can keep finding me and this book, the twelfth I've written.)
Along the way, I responded to dozens of readers' comments, learned from my host's insightful posts, and sold books. I saved some green (energy and money); I was interviewed in a nationally broadcast teleseminar on women's memoirs; I was invited to teach at a festival of writing and food in Moab, Utah, this October.
Most of all though, I discovered a community of writers and readers that formed organically by random connections in the virtual world of the internet. I'm still getting emails from strangers who discovered my book on one of the blogs I visited, people who say my words changed their lives, touched their heart, brought them comfort and inspiration. On that virtual tour, I somehow walked my way into their hearts—all without consuming any more resources than I'm using right now while stretched out on my comfy living room couch, laptop in my lap, writing away.