Teddy Rose is the owner of Virtual Author Book Tours. When and how did she decide to offer authors the opportunity to have a virtual book tour? What are her requirements for accepting a book? How many packages are offered? What is her favorite part of the job? Has she ever had any trouble with reviewers?
When and why did you decide that you wanted to offer authors the opportunity to have a virtual book tour?
First, allow me to give you some background: I started my book blog, http://theteddyrosebookreviewsplusmore.com/, as a hobby in 2007. I have been an avid reader all my life and kept notes on all the books I read. However, I could never find notes on a specific book when I looked. Then a few friends from my book club started book blogs and I had a eureka moment! I thought to myself, “I can start a blog and add a search capability to it and then I’ll always be able to find my notes!” However, just a few weeks after starting it, publishers and authors started contacting me asking if I wanted review copies. Wow, free books, just for my thoughts! That was another revelation!
In 2010, I received an invitation to take part in a virtual tour from a fellow blogger. She started her company with friends and in further talking with her about it, I found out they only covered traditionally published authors. I had read some excellent books from independent authors and thought they may like to do virtual tours as well. So I decided to offer it to both traditionally published authors and independent authors and see what happened. It took off!
What requirements do you have for accepting a book for a virtual book tour? How many different packages do you offer?
The top requirement is it has to be a book I think our tour hosts will be interested in! It also has to be within my own ethical beliefs. For instance, I have turned down cookbooks that had meat in them because I am vegan for ethical reasons. We offer tour packages ranging from 5 all the way to 25 reviews. We have had requests for more on occasion and we can do that as well. We also do other services including setting up and running social media for authors, running their sale campaigns, optimizing their Amazon listings, etc. We also can get reviewers without a tour.
Do you have many repeat customers? If so, why do they return?
I would say about 80% of our business is from repeat customers and referrals from them. I think that says a lot about how we run the business and the service we provide. I have many authors say that they have tried cheaper virtual tour companies but just didn’t receive the level of service they wanted or expected. I am a type A person with great attention to detail, so I stay on top of everything from start to finish, even some after service.
As, Christopher Meeks said in his testimonial, “I’d never be able to put together so much the way Teddy Rose does. I’ve used other less expensive tour coordinators, but Teddy brings much more to the table. She’s extremely organized and follows through on everything.”
What is your favorite part of your job?
Interacting with all the tour hosts and authors. I have made many friends over the 7 years I have been doing this. I have also been lucky to meet some of the tour hosts and authors I work with in person. In 2015, my husband Bill and I drove to California. I was able to arrange to meet 4 authors that I have worked with a lot including Christopher Meeks, Shelly Lowenkopf, Tegon Maus, and Lloyd Lofthouse. It was such a treat to break bread with them and discuss books. It turned out that Shelly Lowenkopf knew John Steinbeck, my favorite classic author. It worked out so perfectly because the day before, Bill and I had toured the Steinbeck museum in Salinas, California!
Is there anything about this job that you don’t like?
Yes, when tour hosts don’t post when scheduled and then don’t answer my emails. It’s like they fall off the face of the earth. I have no way of knowing if they are okay or if something serious has happened. I care! All I ask is they take one minute to email me to either cancel or reschedule. It is the same courtesy I give to other tour coordinators when I take part in their tours. I really don’t think it is too much to ask. Tour schedules get posted all over the internet so it isn’t fair to readers who follow our tours if the schedules aren’t kept up to date.
What is the most difficult part of your job?
Telling authors that I don’t think they book would be a good fit with our tour hosts. Dealing with tour hosts who don’t return emails.
Have you ever had any trouble with reviewers?
Yes, as I explained above, there are reviewers scheduled to post who don’t and they don’t contact me. We don’t expect people to always post a review if the book doesn’t resonate with them or if something has come up in their lives, I just ask that they let me know so there are no surprises for me or the readers following the tours.
We also had one troll reviewer. She had emailed me saying that she wasn’t going to be posting a review because she didn’t like the book. Then about a month later I saw she posted two different reviews. One was a pretty fair and balanced review on her blog, but the one on Amazon just said, “I would rather have seen the zombie apocalypse.” The book was literary fiction. We do ask that reviewers give fair and balanced reviews, not snarky reviews. LOL!
Do you read all of the books that go on tour?
Many of them but not all. We cover many different genres because we have reviewers who read them However, I don’t enjoy all genres personally. I do on occasion read a book outside my comfort zone if something sparks my interest in the description. In fact, I read a paranormal book that I really enjoyed! That is usually way outside my comfort zone.