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Virtual book tours, the origins of

Today’s NY Times covers virtual book tours, the increasingly popular practice of book authors touring blogs instead of touring the non-virtual bookstores of the US and staying in non-virtual and expensive hotel rooms. From the article’s midst:

[] was founded by Chris Anderson, the editor in chief of Wired and the author of “The Long Tail”; Adam Goldstein, a 19-year-old sophomore at M.I.T.; and Kevin Smokler, a publishing expert credited with creating the first blog book tour. That was for “Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers” by the science writer Mary Roach, in 2003. Since then, Mr. Smokler said, “It’s become de rigueur for public relations to include blogs and online media as part of regular touring.” was one of the tour stops for the Stiff book tour (here’s the entry) but I also participated in the first blog book tour more than a year earlier, for a book called Rainy Day Fun and Games for Toddler and Total Bastard, written by Greg Knauss and published by So New Media, a small publishing concern lovingly run by Ben Brown and James Stegall and now, sadly, defunct. The Rainy Day Fun… tour was the inspiration for Kevin in putting together the later tour. Not sure why the Times indicated otherwise.

And if you want to go back before most people were aware of these blog thingies, author M.J. Rose recalls participating in a virtual tour circa 2000:

So the NYT finally did an article on Author blog tours, which if memory serves, some of us have been doing for a quite a long time… in 2000 I did one that included Salon and and a few other places that updated regularly and operated the way blogs do even though then we didn’t call them that.

Update: So New Media is still going strong…just their old domain is no longer working. (thx, greg) And hey, Rainy Day Fun and Games for Toddler and Total Bastard is still available ($5!) and still funny. I’m planning a re-read now that I’m a total bastard and soon-to-be toddler wrangler.