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Doing a virtual book launch (during the coronavirus pandemic)

How to do a virtual book launch

*** A talk with actual content may be more effective than just reading aloud from your book.


The Virtual Author Talk: How to, and How Not To (David O. Stewart) Samples:“A single talking head gets old/dull pretty quick. A Q&A format is livelier and easier to watch.” and “Because people have less invested in attending the virtual event, not having had to travel or even get out of their sweatpants, they may bail out quickly if the event starts slow, or glitchily. Start strong. Don’t be dull.” Solid practical advice for author talks.
Online Book Events: A Necessary Pivot in 2020, But How Do You Compete? (Jane Friedman, 9-24-2020) Even if you offer a creative and enticing online event, it’s hard to sell when so much content right now is available for free. Before you decide to run an online event, consider this advice from Jane's Hot Sheet.
Virtual Author Events Are the Next Big Thing (Claire Kirch, PW, 5-1-2020) Booksellers say the format draws big audiences, but sales vary. St. John Mandel has drawn audiences of up to 400 people at each of the dozen virtual events she has done to promote The Glass Hotel, and sales of her 2014 novel Station Eleven, about a flu pandemic, are also way up.
Pros and Cons of Virtual Events Weighed by Publishers, Booksellers (Claire Kirch, PW, 9-9-20) Subscription required. Quoting Jane Friedman, The Hot Sheet: "One key takeaway: if an author is doing a series of events to promote a book launch, they should either all be ticketed and paid or all free. Otherwise, it’s unfair to those hosting. Also, a bookseller reported that sales don’t always occur at the time of the virtual event, but on the day before and the day after."
DIY: How to Plan a Virtual Book Tour (Jennifer McCartney, Publishers Weekly, 6-9-14) This particular type of book tour lasts about two weeks, with an author “visiting” a new blog every day, while promoting each stop on social media. An author may choose to hire a publicity professional to book a tour, or decide to go it alone. A blog tour starts with a lot of research. Aim to begin planning at least three months before your book’s publication date. First, make a list of 50 blogs that might be interested in your book—for a book review, a question and answer segment, an excerpt, a book giveaway, a webinar, a guest post, or a combination of these. She offers brief instructions for a successful event.
How to Throw a Virtual Book Launch Using Facebook Live (K.B. Jensen on Jane Friedman's blog, 5-11-2020) "Practice using Facebook Live prior to the launch and using your third party-app with a split screen, too, if you will use that. When Helen had her launch, she was able to interact beautifully with her friends and fans in an authentic and collected manner, because she’d gotten over the nerves in her practice sessions counting down to her launch." Watch recording of Helen Starbuck’s launch for Legacy of Secrets.
      "If selling books directly, announce the cost of the event ticket on your event pages. The “ticket” includes the cost of your book, tax and media mail shipping. The cost for a signed and shipped copy of Helen’s book was set at $20, for example. Ideally, you’d set up payment options through your author website. You could also create a payment link through Square. Some authors take PayPal or Venmo, as well. Whatever payment method you choose, ask your fans to put their address in the comments or email you their address, so you know where to send the books."
How to Effectively Use Live Video (Even If You Fear the Camera) to Reach Readers (Amy Collins on Jane Friedman's blog, 10-7-19)
Resources and Tips for Creating Virtual Events: Video Conferencing, Virtual Meeting, and Video Sharing Applications (American Booksellers Association) Links to information on Zoom, GoToMeeting and GoToWebinar, Crowdcast, Skype, Facebook Live, Instagram Live, YouTube, Be.Live. See downloadable PDFs for guidelines from various publishing houses.
Making the Most of Zoom aka Zooming through the pandemic (blog post on this site).
Virtual Book Launch Events: 8 Ideas from Authors.(Diana Urban, Book Bub Partners, 4-30-2020) How authors did book events from Instagram Live, YouTube Live, Facebook Live, a Zoom webinar, Twitch Livestream, prerecorded videos, Twitter Chat, and Reddit AMA. With links to "how-to" pieces.
How to use Facebook Live (Sophia Bernazzani, HubSpot)
Facebook Live tutorial, streaming (YouTube video, Sean, 2-25-17)
How to go live on Facebook (YouTube)
Best Practices for Hosting a Digital Event (Kristen Klein, Zoom blog, 3-4-2020) If you expect attendees to mostly just listen, consider a Zoom Video Webinar. When you need more back and forth between the audience and the host, a Zoom Meeting might be the better option.
Zoom: Live Stream to YouTube or a Custom Streaming Service
7 Steps to a Successful Virtual Book Launch Even if You Don't Have an Audience (Yet) (Author Unlimited, 4-23-17) Prepare. Research. Schedule. Invite. Create the Event. Promote. Social Media. Thanks/acknowledge.
2020's Virtual Bookish Events (NetGalley, We Are Bookish)
BookCon's Virtual Author Tour series
How to Throw the Best Online Party. Ever. (Barnes & Noble, 4-27-15)
The Big List of Children’s Authors Doing Online Read-Alouds & Activities (We Are Teachers)
The Quarantine Book Club

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