My virtual book tour finished mid-March, and as with all marketing things, it’s worth taking a look at it to see what I can learn. And I’m also talking about audiobooks, which is the Question of the Month. And… well, Ninja Captain Alex has a new book out 🙂

Insecure Writers Support Group badge

This is my Insecure Writers Support Group post, in which we share our successes and failures as writers, our insecurities, in fact. Anyone can join in, just sign up at the IWSG Sign-up page, write a blog post on the first Wednesday of the month, and go back to that sign up page to link with everyone else–or a goodly sample. Our host is Alex J Cavanaugh, and cohosting this month are:

Thoughts on the Virtual Book Tour

available now ZR tour pic

My Virtual Book Tour for Zanzibar’s Rings is over. I was left feeling very flat when it ended on March 15th, a month after it started. All the work leading up to it–eight guest posts, and a character interview, and the toing and froing with the organiser to make sure all the covers and links were correct. As always, things were a little screwed up for the start, but we sorted it out. Helps being in a different timezone, sometimes, since I sent the solution to mistakes before she woke up!

But I was disappointed very early on, when I realised that several of the guest posts had gone to sites which appear to have no reader interaction (not even my ‘thank you for having me’ message was posted), and not much social media presence. The tour organiser tweeted like mad, though, with several interesting graphics I hadn’t seen before. Maybe a scifi book with a background of delicately drying roses isn’t quite what I imagined as an appropriate sales image, but still…

But my IWSG buddies really came through for me, and Patricia’s innocent question “Why do I write Science Fiction” must be the best guest post I’ve ever written (although the ones for Princelings Revolution for Denise and Ronel come a very close second!). Thank you all.

I did get two nice reviews out of the tour, but only one has made it to Goodreads so far, and I’m watching online retailers for the others. I’m often slow putting mine up, so I can’t complain.

Will I do another? Well, despite the continued support of this form by some of my writer friends, no. It’s obviously not a good fit for me. If I wrote cosy mysteries I’d use Great Escapes Virtual Tours, but I wouldn’t recommend this one. And maybe scifi and blog tours simply don’t go together?

Audiobooks – the question of the month

Have any of your books been made into audio books? If so, what is the main challenge in producing an audiobook?

The first two of my Princelings books are available as audiobooks – and I have codes for free downloads available if you’d like one to review (leave a comment and I’ll respond to the email you use).

triple banner Princelings audiobooks

Er, yes. The third.

The third seems to be a victim of covid. I know the narrator is okay, but has had health problems. He finished the first round, but so far has not fit the revisions in among his other projects. I must wave at him and see if he can give me some of his time.

Learning points

  • Even if you know exactly the right voice, and it belongs to an experienced voice artist, and you use the usual contract form, don’t cut corners, go through the routine to find your voice artist online and ask them to bid
  • Be clear about the type of accent you’d prefer for each speaking character unless it REALLY doesn’t matter. Make sure your artist knows the basic fallback (and if you want e.g. Ohio, make sure you audition for it)
  • Be picky when you review your voice files. Be as picky as you want.
  • Go through the voice files with your manuscript or published book in front of you.
    • If it’s already in paperback, the audio words have to match the paperback… unless…
    • If you’re happy to bring out a new version, then give the artist the new version to record, and then amend your version for any words that are better than yours! Then publish your new edition before the audiobook comes out (Audible, for one, will check against the ebook)
  • Be picky. But be nice. And don’t over-apologise. Your voice artist is as professional as you are.
  • After all this effort, have a plan for launch and marketing

I hope that helps.

And finally… CASSADARK is out now!


I read it as more-or-less standalone, so don’t worry if you haven’t read the rest of Ninja Captain Alex’s series. See my review here.

My Virtual Book Tour, Audiobooks, plus CassaDark launch #IWSG
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50 thoughts on “My Virtual Book Tour, Audiobooks, plus CassaDark launch #IWSG

  • 6 April, 2022 at 11:12 am

    Great tips for the audiobook production process — especially the part about being picky. One of my narrators changed a word and it changed the meaning of the scene — and she didn’t want to fix it until I pointed it out to the producer who agreed with me that the original meaning is more important than what works for her. Suffice to say, I got another narrator for the next book who was absolutely professional and checked in with me about some things before she even stepped into the sound booth.

    As for your virtual tour: I did a webinar last night (I’m still exhausted) where they suggested you Google your genre + blog/podcast and then go through these until you find what works for you (liking the blogger/podcaster, seeing interaction on the posts, whatever other considerations you have). Tom Morkes (who presented the webinar) compared it to finding your mini Oprah’s: someone influential in your niche with access to your hidden fans (e.g. for your Princelings series that could be someone who blogs about guinea pigs: books/rescuing them/taking care of them/movies featuring them/etc.) who then shares your book with them and then it has the Oprah effect (you know, when she says she likes something and everyone goes out to buy it?).

    Hope this helps! And thanks for the mention 🙂

    Ronel visiting for IWSG day The Difference Between Reading Books and Collecting Books

    • 6 April, 2022 at 11:33 am

      Good thoughts. And yes, the problem with the third book is largely because I wasn’t picky enough in the second. Sigh.

  • 6 April, 2022 at 11:47 am

    Never thought about what is involved in an audio book. Never thought about picking a narrator. Always good to learn new things. Thanks.

  • 6 April, 2022 at 12:27 pm

    Thanks for the mention!
    I’ve always set up my own tours so I know the sites featuring me get traffic. (I ended up with twenty-five stops! Lots of guest posts to write.)

    • 6 April, 2022 at 1:59 pm

      It did occur to me to see where someone like you went… should have done that… maybe next time (hollow laugh)
      Hope the book does well, Alex, I’m sure it will.

  • 6 April, 2022 at 12:36 pm

    Sounds like we had many of the same experiences. I used to do book tours as part of promotion and found them time consuming and hit or miss with too many of the hosts not even putting up a post. Sigh. But I also made some great connections by doing them. Of course getting a new book out there would help . . .

    • 6 April, 2022 at 2:01 pm

      I had a lot of fun with Mother Daughter Book Reviews with my early Princelings books – they were really good and most of her community were, too. As a toe-dipping exercise this time, it’s put me off completely. I can do better asking my friends here at IWSG. 🙂

  • 6 April, 2022 at 12:58 pm

    Hi Jemima!
    Thank you for co-hosting the IWSG today.
    I have no experience when it comes to audiobooks, but it seems like there’s a lot involved!
    So Audible checks the audio book against the ebook? Wow, that’s an eye-opener!

    • 6 April, 2022 at 2:03 pm

      Well, they say they do, as ‘people like to read along’. And I can see that, especially with an ostensibly MG book, it would be worth while.
      And you know, it was a great opportunity to revamp my early works, and take out things that irritate the modern editor in me. Like too many speech tags… 🙂

  • 6 April, 2022 at 1:23 pm

    Thanks for co-hosting this month. Sorry that your blog tour was a bit disappointing. Maybe you’ll find another blog tour company that has a better fit of bloggers for your books.

    • 6 April, 2022 at 2:04 pm

      Yes, I did some research, but relied on my writer friends’ experience more than I should, probably. Thankyou for your help, Natalie.

  • 6 April, 2022 at 1:29 pm

    Thank you for your excellent advice. I was aware the narrator could mispronounced words. My pet peeve is the female and male characters sound the same. Never had a clue Audible, for one, will check against the ebook.
    Thank you for co-hosting and sharing these great tips.
    Lynn La Vita @

    • 6 April, 2022 at 2:05 pm

      A decent narrator should make the characters distinct from each other. Especially the men and women! Giving them an ‘audition piece’ (one page) that includes your main characters is important.

  • 6 April, 2022 at 2:11 pm

    I’m sorry your tour didn’t go as planned, Jemima. That’s frustrating. Thanks for sharing your knowledge about audiobooks. My publisher took care of all that, which gave me room to do other things. Ah, for the good ole days when all we had to do was write.

    • 6 April, 2022 at 2:40 pm

      Hi Jemima,
      Thank you for those tips about audio books. These are things that I need to know.
      Thank you also for co-hosting this month.
      All the best.
      Shalom aleichem

    • 6 April, 2022 at 4:09 pm

      Ah, the good old days – before I had the courage or the characters to write! Then again, maybe I’ve just finished my apprenticeship!

  • 6 April, 2022 at 3:47 pm

    Sounds like you went through a lot with your launch. Sorry it was underwhelming. I am glad that the IWSG people pulled through for you! Thanks for co-hosting!

    • 6 April, 2022 at 4:11 pm

      Well, I tried some new things, and maybe they didn’t work, or maybe I didn’t try the right things. But I’ve learnt from it! And yes, the IWSG pulled through. We’re a wonderful bunch of people – Insecure, writers, and supportive!

  • 6 April, 2022 at 3:55 pm

    I’m glad you enjoyed writing that guest post for me. ^_^
    I’ve done a blog tour like that before and it had its good and bad moments. I much prefer organizing my own and being the one in charge.

    • 6 April, 2022 at 4:13 pm

      I think you can organise your own with a strong network of people who will host you. I appreciate I’m not as strongly connected as some people, so it helps that people like you introduce me to your followers. And as you know, I’m happy to return the favour.

  • 6 April, 2022 at 4:16 pm

    I suspect blogging’s heyday is long past, though I continue to post each month as an exercise in creative nonfiction and networking. I’ve never paid for a blog tour, but I host lots of authors, mostly in my genre, on my blog, so I have a roll of people to contact for guest spots. Most are glad to return the favor, and it’s free! Thanks for the specific audiobook tips, and happy writing in April.

    • 6 April, 2022 at 5:51 pm

      Looking at all the YouTube, TikTok and podcasts, I think you’re right. Which raises big questions about the indie-author’s route to new readers…. maybe for next month!

  • 6 April, 2022 at 4:22 pm

    Great tips on hiring a reader for the audio. I’d like to listen to it. I enjoy audio books. Maalgaard4 @ gmail

  • 6 April, 2022 at 4:34 pm

    Sorry to hear that your blog tour wasn’t as impactful as you’d hoped. I set up mine on my own and I’m extremely grateful to the people who helped out, they had great posts. I simply wasn’t able to get enough people to sign up for it. But remember that every little bit of presence does help get the word out.
    Thanks for the tips on audiobooks!

    • 6 April, 2022 at 5:53 pm

      Yes, I comforted myself with the splashes across Twitter etc. I did go into it as a bit of an experiment, but still…

  • 6 April, 2022 at 5:00 pm

    Great advice on audiobooks. Thanks! I’ve also been disappointed with blog tours sometimes. Plenty of folks will accept your fee and put it out there, but a lot them don’t have much of a following. I try to trust in “ripples” and that momentum builds over time. @samanthabwriter from
    Balancing Act

    • 6 April, 2022 at 5:55 pm

      Or they may have a following, but not one that wants your type of book, despite what may or may not be said in the marketing process 🙂 I’m hoping this acts as a cautionary tale for others, anyway.

  • 6 April, 2022 at 5:25 pm

    You have good advice for audio books. I look forward to reading Cassa Dark. Thanks for cohosting this month.

  • 6 April, 2022 at 6:06 pm

    Sorry to hear that the book tour wasn’t quite as you hoped. But it all adds to internet presence for whatever that might be worth. And maybe some results will take time. Just about anything is worth a shot is the way I see it and you can’t beat all that you learn from the experiences you have and the chances you take.

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out

  • 6 April, 2022 at 6:33 pm

    Sorry you had a disappointing tour. Usually, I set up my own tours. I did do a couple of tours set up by a tour company (I guess that’s what you’d call them) Anyway, I have better luck on my own. It isn’t easy and it’s time consuming. Hope you see some good results. Thanks for cohosting this month.

  • 6 April, 2022 at 7:20 pm

    So much to learn here! Thanks so much for sharing.
    And thank you for co-hosting!

  • 6 April, 2022 at 7:24 pm

    I’m sorry your tour didn’t go as you hoped. That is frustrating.

    Re: audiobooks… When you mentioned that the words have to be the same as the book, that brought up something I have always wondered about. I write direct thoughts in italics rather than use filter words (, she thought). How does the person recording the book identify such lines as a thought?

    Thanks for co-hosting.

    • 6 April, 2022 at 11:23 pm

      I don’t think I had many in the books I’ve had done. These were originally written well over ten years ago. I think if I were reading the more recent ones (Zanzibar’s Rings has a lot of internal dialogue) I would switch from narrator voice, to character voice – but use it introspectively. How I talk to myself, really 😉

  • 6 April, 2022 at 7:52 pm

    Fantastic bullet points! Very helpful, and answers some of my questions. Sending out organic promoting vibes for the aftermath of your tour! Thank you for co-hosting.

  • 6 April, 2022 at 8:21 pm

    Thank you for your very informative and educational post. Your points about the audio books are excellent. And I was especially interested in your opinion on your virtual book tour, as I write speculative fiction too. Roses as the background image for a sci-fi story? It made me wince.

  • 6 April, 2022 at 9:33 pm

    Thanks for co-hosting today, Jemima, and for your informative post. Thanks also for the reminder to be picky. I know I don’t assert myself in a lot of situations. Have a great day!

  • 6 April, 2022 at 10:06 pm

    I appreciate your suggestions about the process of creating audio books very much. Thank you! Not sure WordPress will let me comment, but congratulations on completing that virtual book tour, even if it didn’t go quite as planned. You helped us all to see what is possible!

  • 7 April, 2022 at 3:27 am

    Sorry your tour didn’t go well. So frustrating. But thanks for your audio book tips. I will definitely keep your tips in mind.

  • 7 April, 2022 at 4:18 am

    Thank you for sharing all you’ve learned! I’m sorry your book tour didn’t go the way you’d hoped. I’ve thought about using a book tour company but not taken the plunge. The same with audiobooks. I feel like I need to do a lot more research before I jump in. Thank you for co-hosting!

  • 7 April, 2022 at 3:34 pm

    Congratulations on getting those books onto audio, and thank you for sharing your experience. I’m sorry you were disappointed in the blog tour. This is such a difficult business to be noticed in.

    Thanks for co-hosting this month.

  • 7 April, 2022 at 7:48 pm

    Thank you for taking us through your experience with audiobooks. I would love to narrate my own, a memoir, but no studio for me. And I don’t want it to sound like an amateur either. sigh I guess I’m a DIY’er because besides narrating myself, I always plan my virtual book tours myself. I love interacting with my blogging hosts. Not sure I garner readers, but I hear it takes 7 exposures before anyone will buy your book. I figure a blog post about it is the first. Thank you for co-hosting!!

    • 7 April, 2022 at 9:01 pm

      It’s hard to move out from doing it all yourself. Some of us are just too controlling 🙂

  • 9 April, 2022 at 2:29 pm

    I chose Amazon’s Audible site for my audio books. It’s simple to navigate. Narrators leave auditions. I enjoy listening to each narrators voice. I’ve had good experiences through this program.

    Marketing is time consuming, and I dislike it. Gathering bloggers, interviews…etc, takes energy and time. With my last couple of books I went with a book tour site, and they did all the work for a blog tour. It helps me so so much, and worth $ spent.

    Thank you for hosting!!

  • 9 April, 2022 at 5:52 pm

    Thank you for co-hosting this month’s question, Jemima. And thank you so much for this insight into blog tours for your book and audio books. This truly helps me to understand…that I will need lots of help to market any book I publish. More power to you, Jemima!

  • 11 April, 2022 at 6:52 am

    Great audiobook advice! I’m sorry your tour didn’t go as well as hoped.

  • 13 April, 2022 at 1:00 pm

    Sorry to hear that the book tour wasn’t quite as you hoped. However, it’s wonderful of you to share your learning with us. KL <3

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