Comparing a virtual book tour to the traditional, and why go on a book tour in the first place?

Crazy is Normal: a classroom exposé started its virtual book tour journey on October 1 to November 15, 2014, and I do not expect to make a profit.

A profit would be nice, but as you read this post, you will discover that traditional publishers usually don’t expect a profit—if there is any—until long after the book tour—if there is one—because old fashioned book tours are rare and expensive.

Just in case you think every traditionally published author gets a book tour from a publisher, think again.

In March 2010, the Los Angeles Times reported, as the business of publishing changes, book tours increasingly look like bad risks. “In 99.9% of cases,” says Peter Miller, director of publicity at Bloomsbury USA, “you can’t justify the costs through regular book sales.”

Traditional book tours are expensive, because authors usually fly from city to city between states or countries and the cost can runs into the thousands.

For instance, Brian Jud explored the Cost of a Traditional Tour, by car, and concluded that the direct cost of a six month book tour would run $12,345, and he would have to sell 2,465 books to break even.

In addition, Publishers Weekly—in 2006—said, “There are 5,500 adult trade fiction titles published every year, and a tiny percentage of those books’ authors get sent on tour… Assuming that an average 10-city tour costs, say $25,000 (toting up airfare, hotels, escorts and co-op advertising), most book tours are far from cost-effective in terms of the number of copies sold at signings.”

How is a virtual book tour different and why is that important?

I’m inviting you to read on and discover how much this virtual tour has cost me in dollars and time, and we will start with the publicist, who arranged the 20+, Book Blog tour and charged $534.35.

You might think that’s expensive, but consider the $12,345 and/or $25,000+ mentioned above for the cost of a traditional book tour.

Next, there’s the cost of the complementary books sent to the book bloggers who agreed to be the hosts of Crazy is Normal’s virtual book tour.

This is where I stop to deal with potential critics who will claim sending out free books is like buying a review, but that kind of thinking is wrong because the traditional book publishing industry has done it for decades—long before POD, e-books and Amazon came alone.  Traditional Publishers have always sent out hundreds of free copies of new books, for instance, to book stores, magazines, newspapers, and other authors hoping that this would result in positive reviews and media attention.

To send out complimentary copies for this virtual tour cost $28.93 for eight e-books and $103.69 for fourteen paperbacks for a total of $132.62, and that included the postage for the paperbacks that I ordered directly from Amazon for the e-books and Create Space for the paperbacks. Create Space allows authors to mail directly from the printing plant and placing the order was easy.

Then there was $180 to promote Crazy is Normal during the virtual tour with e-mail blasts from Bargain Booksy (Oct. 5), The Fussy Librarian (Oct. 7), eReaderNews Today (Oct. 17), Book Gorilla (Oct. 20), Kboards (Oct. 25), and Indie Book Promo (starting Nov. 8). I might add more before the tour ends. If so, I’ll update.

The great thing about a virtual tour (I’ve been on several and one local-traditional tour in 2008), the author doesn’t have to leave home and that saves a lot of time and money.

In addition, I also supplied nine excerpts for the book, wrote four guest posts and answered questions for five interviews that will appear during the tour. I didn’t keep track of the time, but if each one took an hour, on average, that’s 17-hours, well spent.

I’m also using Twitter during the Tour to announce each stop, and here are the Tweets I’m using several times a day. I’ll be back to add new ones as they appear.

The publicist I use to organize and arrange a book blog tour is Teddy Rose and Bill Pope, Virtual Author Book

Day 1 of Bk-Blog Tour
1st Review
@ SoManyPreciousBookSoLittleTime

>>>Amazon Sales Rank #46 on Memoir-Educator genre list<<<

Day 2 of Bk-Blog Tour
1st Guest Post
@ InspireToRead
I worked with 6,000+ students

>>>Amazon Sales Rank #73 on Memoir-Educator genre list<<<

Day 3 of Bk-Blog Tour
2nd Guest Post
@ TheWormhole

>>>Amazon Sales Rank #85 on Memoir-Educator genre list<<<

Day 5 of Bk-Blog Tour
1st e-mail blast
@ BargainBooksy

>>>Amazon Sales Rank #8 on Memoir-Educator genre list<<<

Day 6 of Bk-Blog Tour
2nd Review
Welcome to #CassandraMsPlace

Day 6 of Bk-Blog Tour
1st interview
@ PinkysFavorteReads

>>>Amazon Sales Rank #13 on Memoir-Educator genre list<<<

Day-7 of Bk-Blog Tour
@ FussyLibrarian
2nd e-mail blast
60,919 readers interested in Memoirs

>>>Amazon Sales Rank #9 on Memoir-Educator genre list<<<

Day-8 of Bk-Blog Tour
Says “this fabulous memoir”
3rd Review

>>>Amazon Sales Rank #16 on Memoir-Educator genre<<<

Day 9 of Bk-Blog Tour
@ BeingTillysMummy
3rd Guest Post

>>>Amazon Sales Rank #30 on Memoir-Educator genre list<<<

Day 10 of Bk-Blog Tour
@ BeingTillysMummy
An excerpt from Crazy is Normal

>>>Amazon Sales Rank #41 on Memoir-Educator genre list<<<

Day 13 of Bk-Blog Tour
@ Unselfish
4th Review

>>>Amazon Sales Rank #49 on Memoir-Educator genre list<<<

Day14 of Bk-Blog Tour
@ BackPorchervations
5th Review

>>>Amazon Sales Rank #58 on Memoir-Educator genre list<<<

Day15 of Bk-Blog Tour
@ SincerelyStacie
6th Review

>>>Amazon Sales Rank #19 on Memoir-Educator genre list<<<

Day 17 of Bk-Blog Tour
@ HeckOfABunch
7th Review and Giveaway

Day 17 of Bk-Blog Tour
3rd e-mail blast
@ eRederNewsToday

>>>Amazon Sales Rank #3 on Memoir-Educator genre list<<<

Number 3 Memoir Crazy is Normal Day 18

Woke up this morning to this and 8-hours later Crazy is Normal was still ranked at #3 on Amazon.

Day 20 of Bk-Blog Tour
4th e-mail blast

>>>Amazon Sales Rank #2 on Memoir-Educator genre list<<<

Day 21 of Bk-Blog Tour
@ BooksBooksandMoreBooks
8th Review

>>>Amazon Sales Rank #4 on Memoir-Educator genre list<<<

Day 22 of Bk-Blog Tour
Lu Ann Worley
@ RockinBookReviews
9th Review
& Excerpt

>>>Amazon Sales Rank #4 on Memoir-Educator genre list<<<

Day 23 of Bk-Blog Tour
With Melissa Beck
@ TheBookBinder’sDaughter
10th Review
With Interview

>>>Amazon Sales Rank #4 on Memoir-Educator genre list<<<

Between Book Blog visits—10-24 to 10-28—promotional ads ran on:

Day 29 of Bk-Blog Tour

With Lisa @ The News in Books

11th Review

With Guest Post

>>>Amazon Sales Rank #8 on Amazon’s Memoir-Educator genre<<<

Day 30 of Bk-Blog Tour

Hosted by M. Denise Costello

12th Review

With Excerpt

>>>Amazon Sales Rank #5 on Memoir-Educator genre list<<<

Day 31 of Bk-Blog Tour

13th Review
@ DWD’s Reviews of Books, Audibooks, Music and Video

Day 33 of Bk-Blog Tour
November 2, 2014

LOW RES Biographies and Autobiographies for the 2014 Southern California Book Festival

Day 34 of Bk-Blog Tour
14th Review
@ She Treads Softly

Day 34 of Bk-Blog Tour
People Reads Weekly Feature Promotion from November 3 – 9

>>>Amazon Sales Rank #14 on Memoir-Educator genre list<<<

Day 35 of Bk-Blog Tour
15th review
@ Celtic Lady’s Reviews

Day 35 of Bk-Blog Tour
November 4
Choosy Bookworm Promotion

>>>Amazon Sales Rank #5 on Memoir-Educator genre list<<<

Day 39 of Bk-Blog Tour
Indie Book will run from November 8 to December 8

>>>Amazon Sales Rank #44 on Memoir-Educator genre list<<<

Day 41 of Bk-Blog Tour
The Fussy Librarian Promotion

Day 41 of Bk-Blog Tour
16th Review
@ What U Talking ‘Bout Willis?

>>>Amazon Sales Rank #15 on Memoir-Educator genre list<<<

Day 42 of Bk-Blog Tour
17th Review
@ From Isi – Come. Read. Enjoy

>>>Amazon Sales Rank #9 on Memoir-Educator genre list<<<


Day 43 of Bk-Blog Tour
18th Review
@ Reading to Distraction

Day 43 of Bk-Blog Tour
19th Review & Excerpt
@ Manic Mama of 3

>>>Amazon Sales Rank #9 on Memoir-Educator genre list<<<

Day 47 of Bk-Blog Tour
Author event in Oakland, California at the main library with the California Writers  Club’s Berkeley Branch followed by Howard Allen VanEs who talked about book marketing

 >>>Amazon Sales Rank #41 on Memoir-Educator genre list<<<

Day 48 of Bk-Blog Tour
21st Review
Interview & Excerpt
@ Deal Sharing Aunt

>>>Amazon Sales Rank #10 on Memoir-Educator genre list<<<

Day 49, November 18, 2014
This is the Last day of this Bk-Blog Tour
22nd Review
@ Feminist Reflections

>>>Amazon Sales Rank #15 on Memoir-Educator genre list<<<


Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran,
who taught in the public schools for thirty years (1975 – 2005).

His third book is Crazy is Normal, a classroom exposé, a memoir. “Lofthouse presents us with grungy classrooms, kids who don’t want to be in school, and the consequences of growing up in a hardscrabble world. While some parents support his efforts, many sabotage them—and isolated administrators make the work of Lofthouse and his peers even more difficult.” – Bruce Reeves


Lofthouse’s first novel was the award winning historical fiction My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. His second novel was the award winning thriller Running with the Enemy. His short story A Night at the “Well of Purity” was named a finalist of the 2007 Chicago Literary Awards. His wife is Anchee Min, the international, best-selling, award winning author of Red Azalea, a New York Times Notable Book of the Year (1992).

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9 responses to “Comparing a virtual book tour to the traditional, and why go on a book tour in the first place?”

  1. Reblogged this on This College Dropout.

  2. I instantly understood the value of the virtual tour as soon as I heard about them.

    For one thing, forgetting the cost …. the exhaustion of hauling ass all over the country until you really don’t know where you are or who you are talking to. I participated in a whole bunch of virtual tours until my heart surgery. Since then, I’ve had a lot of trouble getting back up to speed and have refused to commit because I don’t know if I can really do what I’m promising.

    I know authors depend on reviewers and bloggers to do their part in making these tours work. Considering how much of our lives are virtual these days, it seems a sensible step in book promotion — especially since so much of the book world is becoming virtual. I actually prefer Kindle books to paper books. Lightweight, take up no physical space on my over-burdened bookshelves — and my Kindles have LIGHT. Don’t underestimate the importance of that light for someone who is a hard-core bedtime reader!

    I wrote to the President’s office today about common core and standardized testing, for whatever good it might do. I am so depressed over the state of education, it breaks my heart and I feel so helpless. Are we going to be the last generation that reads for the joy of it? Is human civilization heading back into its own dark ages?

    I worry. I worry a lot.

    1. You worry. I get angry. The more I read and learn about this deliberate crime to destroy democratic public education, the angrier I get. That’s probably the former Marine Vietnam veteran in me. But we aren’t alone. There are children, teens, young adults, parents, teachers, administrators and even elected representatives spread across the country fighting back against the wealth and power of a dozen or so aging billionaire oligarchs who also control most of the traditional media. Maybe somewhere along the line, some of the younger billionaires will wake up and come to the defense of the people. We can only hope.

      The only difference between the media in the U.S. and China is that in China the government controls most of the media but in the U.S. it’s the CEO’s and a few billionaires that control the six largest media corporations that also happen to make up about 90% of the media that people get their news and information from that also feeds us the lies and cherry picked propaganda of the oligarchs.

      The only thing the resistance has is the Internet and the billionaires are even trying to take that away from us in their attempt to end net neutrality. After that, all we will probably have is e-mail newsletters.

  3. Carla Dawn Dunlap Avatar
    Carla Dawn Dunlap

    When we are passionate about something we can scare other at times. It takes courage to be as passionate as you are in this video. I can relate. I was very disappointed in my education growing up.

    My teachers were good people however, I feel what you have expressed here is correct. They, at times, I am sure felt ill equipped to handle their own attempts to engage and transfer the knowledge they had acquired into the lives of their students for it is in this arena young minds are stimulated. The very kinetic flow of wisdom handed down through a generational ancestry of educators, if you will, is emulated in most any other field of trade, skill, occupation, etc. in the work forces around the globe where learning through use of the entire being is common place, I do feel here in America we have failed to provide the broader scope you speak to here. Thank you very much for sharing your views. I am interested to read your book.

    Best Wishes,
    Carla Dawn Dunlap

    1. Carla,

      You say you were disappointed in your education while you were growing up. I’m curious what your disappointment was.

      You then say your teachers were good people but then you think they were ill equipped to engage students and transfer knowledge to their students.

      I’m confused. Help me here. In education, teachers teach specific subjects that often have a curriculum that guides teachers in the subjects they teach. It’s up to the students to learn what teachers teach and students do this by asking questions when they are confused, doing the work in class and at home and reading beyond the reading assignments the teacher gives them. If a student is still confused, then the student almost always has an opportunity to see the teacher outside of class during open office hours and ask for more specific help.

      When I talk about teachers needing more training, I’m talking more about management of the learning environment in the classroom to handle at-risk, rebellious and resistant students who have no interest to learn what a teacher struggles to teach. In the video interview, I said that a full time year-long residency in a master teacher’s classroom with at least another year of follow up support is necessary so teachers do not feel overwhelmed with all the challenges and difficulties that walk in the class each day.

      When a teacher has more training in classroom management and guidance on what to expect from a master teacher and working with the master teacher’s students, then the teacher is better equipped to deal with these challenges.

      For most teachers, the easy part is teaching the specific subject area they trained in. The difficult part is maintaining an environment in the classroom friendly to learning because in schools with high rates of children who live in poverty, there are also many children who have no interest in cooperating to learn what the teacher teaches.

      The extra year of training in a full time residency program with a master teacher prepares them so they are better equipped to manage a classroom where learning takes place instead of mayhem created by difficult, rebellious, at-risk children.

    1. Hello Lloyd,
      I was in no was confused as to what your video was trying to convey nor the synopsis of you book’s content as you expressed it. I have not read your book. I was remarking with full knowledge when expressing my intentions towards my own educational challenges and the disappointment I had.

      I grew up in a fairly well to do middle class town in Illinois where education was thought to be of normal range standards at the time. This was in the 70’s and early 80’s when I was attending Elementary and High School. My disappointment came from the fact that I do believe my teachers had the desire to impart their knowledge to the students however, the application of their techniques fell short much of the time. Knowledge begets wisdom if properly applied and nurtured. In our school system, like many in those days, sports and social standing was considered as important if not more important than what we learned. My mother always said if we brought home a C and knew the material she was more satisfied than if we got an A and memorized the work without learning it.

      I believe this speaks directly to your issue. The handling of “youth” in rebellion and the willingness of the student to take instruction from an educator is a two way street. You have explained to me how it is the responsibility of a student to study and ask for extra help if they needed it. True. The mindful scholar with their spirit in becoming a person of wisdom would indeed follow this path in life if given the nurturing they required. The rebellious scholar would/could might/may find they did not have the ability to impart to their educators the depth of need and lack of perception or understanding why they could not find within themselves the drive to reach for the connective sync which would bridge the worlds between inner city, abused child, behavior disorder, learned generational bias, etc ,,, and the teacher who may or may not have the skill set and/or be willing either intellectually, emotionally, or socially through their educational preparation to reach back. The scope is far larger than simply education and I am assured you realize this.

      We are after all speaking of children and adults here. Young minds looking towards mentors to shape them and lead them towards the halls of that which they can mold their life with. My teachers taught more than one subject, nearly all of them. Our classrooms were not structured and the joy of learning was something found outside of the classroom for the most part. I see the classrooms of today as being a much more interactive and vibrant stage of mind stimulation. I talk to young people a great deal about what their experiences have been and they differ vastly from mine. We were stifled and encouraged to only read what the book said, only color inside the lines if you will, and not to ask questions which made our teachers uncomfortable. Yes, there were exceptions. Thank, goodness.

      I left school out of frustration. In all fairness. I was considered one of those rebellious youths, one that used her mind too much. I was far too creative and there was no teacher for “that kind of kid: in our system. I said my teachers were good people. I believe they were. I believe they face the same issues you are speaking to in your video and this is why i commented. I recognized the struggle you described in my own life and education. Obviously, the issue has not gotten a great deal better over the years since I removed myself from the public school system and acquired my G.E. D. in order to get on with life’s alchemy of turning my knowledge into hopeful wisdom someday. I live near a city in Iowa where the drop out rate is over 50%. It is not not improving.

      I would be interested to read your book and understand on a deeper level what you are offer in the way of solutions. Does it not boil down to the simple question, as so many of our social problems and issues do in this day, What do we want to build in this country and as a global community? What shall we do to begin and where can we all gather to discuss this with respect and kindness?

      Thank you for the opportunity to exchange and I look forward to exploring more with you.

      Kind Regards,
      Carla Dawn.

      1. Thank you for the thoughtful and detailed reply to my last comment.

        I don’t think most teachers can teach every individual student individually—to meet every student’s individual unique needs and potential—especially since most young people don’t even know what those needs are until they are an adult, and if they are fortunate to figure that out on their own at all. For instance, I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life until I was almost 30. Out of high school, I did not plan to go to college. I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I did know one thing. I didn’t want to wash dishes for the rest of my life. You see, from 15 to HS graduation, I worked a part time job nights and weekends 30 hours a week in a coffee shop washing dishes, and out of HS, I joined the U.S. Marines and ended up in Vietnam. However, by the time I was 23; I had changed my mind and decided to go to college with financial help from the G.I. Bill. And even then, during my 5-years in college, I changed my major three times and eventually graduated with a BA in journalism in 1973. With that degree, I ended up working for a few years in private industry for a truck company that was owned by Southern Pacific Railroad. Later, unsatisfied with that job, I quit, returned to college and spent another year earning my teaching credential through a year long residency program where I worked full time in a master teacher’s 5th grade classroom.

        In fact, it is impossible to expect a teacher to teach 170 to 200+ students individually meeting their every need. I don’t know what the class loads were in the Iowa schools you attended, but in the urban Southern California schools where I taught, the class loads averaged 34 students except for the one year that my memoir covers. That one year, our high school had a grant to lower class sizes in 9th grade English classes only. The rest of the staff still had the average class load of 34 students and each class was almost 60 minutes long. How does a teacher teach 34 students individually in 60 minutes? I think that is easy to say but impossible to achieve for a mere human.

        I think the best we can expect for K to 12 is to offer a basic education that focuses on literacy throughout the curriculum. When I say curriculum I mean science, math, PE, music, art, English, reading, cooking, parenting, etc. Instead of a focus on college/career readiness, the academic track should focus on fostering literacy and a love of reading, because with a high level of literacy comes college readiness.

        In addition, for the more disciplined and focused students, there would be advanced classes that would offer more challenges, and there should be a vocational track for students in high school that don’t plan to go to college. Almost every other country in the world offers two high school tracks toward graduation. One is academic and the other vocational. For instance, in 2009, Japan had the 3rd highest on-time HS graduation rate in the world at about 95%. What that number doesn’t tell us is that only 70% graduated from an academic track. The other 25% took the vocational track and went straight into the job market out of HS while in the U.S. by age 25, 89.1% of Americans have earned a HS degree or its equivalent and that is only on an academic track.

        The United States is missing that vocational track—one of the few and maybe only countries on the planet that doesn’t offer that choice to students.

        I don’t think anyone can find a country that offers an ideal and perfect education for every individual child that will meet their individual needs. The public schools in the United States are often compared to Finland or Singapore, because these two very small countries rank so highly on the International PISA test that only tests 15-year olds, but we never hear what their HS and college graduation rates are.
        In Finland:
        99l7% graduate from primary school
        66.2% graduate from secondary school—that’s high school, and we have to break that number down by academic and vocational HS graduation. 54% of that 66.2% graduate with an academic HS degree and 45% of that 66.2% graduate with a vocational HS degree. In addition, only 25% of the population has a college degree.

        In Singapore:
        66.6% graduate with a HS degree and 47% go on to earn a college degree. That leaves 33.4% of people in Singapore without a HS degree.

        In the United States, by age 25, American citizens who have a HS degree or its equivalent is almost 90% and the U.S. is ranked 4th in the world for college graduates behind Japan (3rd), Israel (2nd) and Canada (1st).

        I think for a child’s early years while the child is developing, maturing and growing, the primary responsibility of that child’s education falls to the parents not the 30 to 50 teachers that average child will have K to 12. At age 18, the child is legally an adult and is then responsible for the rest of her education and the choices that child makes is theirs. If they make a bad choice, then it is not the fault of the teacher or the parent. It is their responsibility and their fault.

        A teacher’s job is to teach the subject they were hired to teach and they have no power over the subjects that exist in the schools. That usually comes through legislation at the state and district level.

        The more training and experience a teacher has may result in better teaching, but the learning is up to the children and the support to the teacher and the student must come from the parent/s and/or guardians. If that support isn’t there, the teacher often can’t make up for it when they have to divide their time between many students deciding who gets the most attention and usually the students who get the most attention are the most disruptive and rebellious robbing time from other students who were willing to cooperate and learn.

Comments are welcome — pro or con. However, comments must focus on the topic of the post, be civil and avoid ad hominem attacks.

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