Thursday, January 07, 2021

A Virtual Book Launch - Yea or Nay?

My plan for this entry is to write about virtual book launches. I am writing this on Jan. 6. I am depressed. I lived through the upheaval of the 60s and 70s. I was hoping I'd never have to go through such things again. There are so many things I could say about what is happening in Washington DC as I type. But I won't. I'll save my outrage for a more appropriate venue and continue on as if nothing is happening. Soooo.... Virtual book launching! 

February 2 is the day that my second Bianca Dangereuse novel, Valentino Will Die, will hit the shelves and the e-universe and the airwaves. The official launch during this pandemic year will be a Facebook Live virtual event hosted by Poisoned Pen Bookstore in Scottsdale Arizona! Which means that you can ALL come without traveling all the way to Arizona! The LIVE event will be on Facebook on January 30 at 4:00 p.m. Mountain Standard Time (That’s 6:00 Eastern, 5:00 Central, 3:00 Pacific. You’re welcome.) Click here to see all the information. If you can’t make the live event, never fear, the video will be available for viewing ever after at the Poisoned Pen site.

The old days - an in-person appearance!

Ten years ago, here on Type M, I (Donis) asked what you Dear Readers like or dislike about the performance when an author talks to an audience - what annoys you, or what makes you eager to read the author's book? I repeated the question on Facebook and on the DorothyL reader's forum, and I received dozens of interesting answers to my informal survey. My question for today is:

1. Do you as a reader attend virtual author appearances? If you do, what do you like about them and what do you not like?

2. Are you an author? If yes, what are your thoughts on virtual book events? Do you fear being nothing more than a talking head?

When I did the original survey about live author events, the top Dislike, mentioned by 25% of responders, was arrogance/pomposity in the speaker, or as K.B. put it, "if the writer comes across as one who is doing us all a favor by being there, but isn't really 'into' it."

(Personally, I don't mind if an author has a big ego. In fact, I think she probably ought to. Just don't push it in my face.)

Coming in at at a close second is panel-hogging. It annoys some folks no end when one panel member seems to become enamored of his own voice and won't let the others speak. (speaking on behalf of authors, here, I think most of us would second that.)

 Other pet peeves mentioned, in no order, were:

 Being unable to hear the speaker, or unable to hear questions directed to the speaker.

 Reading from the work and not interacting with the crowd.

 Salesmanship (I take this to mean hawking like a carnival barker.) P.B. says, "I don't want to be sold; I want to be befriended."

 An author not making eye-contact/being distant with someone who brings her copy of the author's book to be signed.

The number one Like, mentioned by almost half the respondents, is warmth and humor (though one respondent did say humor is fine but she doesn't come to hear a comedy routine)

 Also mentioned several times: Attendees like to hear about the writing process, the writer's life, where the ideas for the story/characters came from, the author's research experiences.

I, Donis, like wit, if it seems natural and not forced. I like it when the author seems to be enjoying herself. She will keep my interest if she has depth and passion about her work.

I've come away from many an author talk with warm feelings and a desire to read everything he ever wrote.

One of the best author events I ever attended years ago when Louise Penny appeared at our local library. She won us over from the first moment she walked in by shaking the hand of and personally introducing herself to everyone who had come out to see her. Her talk was intimate, personal, and joyful. I came away with the impression that this is a woman who is filled with love for her work and her life. Even if her books weren't as good as they are - and they are amazingly good - after seeing her in person I wanted to read everything she ever wrote at least twice.

This is a brave new world for all of us, so tell me, Dear Readers and Writers, what makes a successful virtual author event? Help us virtual book launchers out!



Tanya said...

Hi, Donis! I recently joined Ellie Alexander's (Kate Dyer-Seeley) Facebook live launch for the latest release in her Bakeshop cozy series. I am not a fan of Facebook, but I like her books so I attended and it was actually pretty entertaining. Mainly because Ellie/Kate has a lively, enthusiastic, and warm personality and because the readers who tuned in had obviously read the previous books and asked good questions via comments/chat. She did giveaways using a random-name generator with names of people who entered comments. She also gave a visual tour (photographed by her husband, the Tech Guy) of the real town in Oregon that is the location of the stories, highlighting places that are tied to parts of the plot (without giving away plot points). I thought that was a clever way to drum up interest in the book. It was a little over an hour and I was surprised that it held my interest long enough to hang in for the whole thing. Only criticism I had was that she mentioned two bookstores that would have signed copies so quickly near the end that I missed it and will have to email her to find out where to get a signed copy. I'd consider her virtual launch an example of one that went very well. If you know her, maybe she can tell you if she feels it helped her sales.

Donis Casey said...

Thanks, Tanya! I love the idea of the photos. I often used slide shows for my in-person events, but I don't know how to do slides and FBLive at the same time. I suppose I could print off copies of the photos. Is that what Kate did?

Sybil Johnson said...

All very interesting stuff. I like the idea of Fackbook launch parties. It allows you to reach readers from everywhere.

Donis Casey said...

I'll let you know how it goes, Sybil

Tanya said...

Hi, again! When Ellie presented the photos, each one came up as a full-screen graphic, and you could hear her voice as she described each location. Then the image shifted back to seeing her talking. I'm sorry, but I don't know the tech side of how that would have been done. Maybe someone more tech-savvy can chime in?

She has an email contact on her web site, so you could probably ask her how they did it. She says the tech tasks are handled by her husband.

Donis Casey said...

Thank you again, Tanya. I'll see what I can find out!