Tips for Hosting a Virtual Author Event
If you’re stuck indoors, like most of us are right now, it’s time to consider hosting a virtual event. It’s a simple way to market your book from home! I’ve done webinars on Zoom and similar platforms for years. I love doing virtual events and I jump at the chance to do as many as I reasonably can.
Even if you are unsure about virtual events, I encourage you to add this strategy to your repertoire of marketing tools because it’s a solid way to promote a book.
Yes, we absolutely love in-person events, and there’s nothing like meeting readers and attendees and shaking hands (can we still do that?). But in the absence of in-person gatherings – or if you don’t want to travel – virtual events can be really fantastic. So let’s dig into some of the how-to’s for these events, so you’re prepared to knock it out of the park!
1. Check Your Surroundings
Make sure the area behind you on camera is not cluttered! You don’t want attendees to focus on that stack of books on your desk instead of you. Ideally, get yourself a plain backdrop such as a wall or a lovely bookcase. You can even order fun screens from Amazon if you’re really eager to appear in front of a spiffy backdrop.
2. What’s Your Light Source?
The other extremely important element is lighting. You can easily check lighting on your phone by recording a video in the room where you’ll hold your virtual event. I love natural lighting, and I always try to keep the lighting as natural as possible. But if your room is devoid of a lot of natural light, you can try your existing lighting or get a ring light fairly inexpensively (again, on Amazon).
3. Be Sure to Smile!
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4. Where’s Your Camera?
It’s pretty easy to stare into your computer screen (I have done this a lot) but you really want to look at your camera because otherwise it seems like you’re gazing off and not paying attention. I have a small red dot by my camera to remind myself to pay attention to where the camera actually is.
It’s tricky at first because if we can see everyone, we’re inclined to look at them, but when you do that you really aren’t looking “at” them, if that makes sense. This takes a bit of getting used to, so don’t worry if you don’t get it on the first try. But put something by your camera so you’re reminded to look there. Maybe a big arrow!
Link to the rest at IndieReader
PG would add that it might be a good idea to do a practice run-through with a handful of friends as an audience and record it. Replaying the recording to see how things look and sound when you’re not in the middle of doing the online event can help identify issues you’re not aware of during the performance (and it is a performance).
Additionally, based upon PG’s experience doing presentations in meatspace, no matter how many or few show up online, be upbeat and enthusiastic about communicating with them.
Whether numbering 300 or 3, an audience will sense any disappointment you’re feeling if you don’t consciously plan to be and act upbeat. It’s a performance, not a conversation. (Yes, really. Even if you characterize the event as a conversation, if you perform poorly, it will be a bad performance and a bad conversation.)
If you communicate any disappointment to an audience, you’re communicating the idea that the people who are participating are not very important and/or that you feel like a failure.