Saturday, May 25, 2013

Building the Buzz: Day 25 Virtual Author Chats


Traveling around the US to promote your book can be lonely, exhausting and expensive. Thank God for technology. Now you can achieve the same thing without leaving your living room. Pants are optional.
There are literally tons of organizations all over the US (and other countries) that would love to have an author come visit them. I know everyone immediately thinks of schools (and then all the adult authors say woe is me). But they aren't the only ones who would benefit from an author chat. Adult literacy programs, ESL programs, national organizations that focus on literacy or even a subject that ties in with the theme of your novel. And this says nothing of libraries, the home base for book lovers.

What a lot of these organizations have in common is a need for programming and not a lot of money to make it happen. This is where you come in.

Sure, we'd all love to earn a fat speaker's fee, and that can happen, but first you need to pay your dues. That comes in the form of free or nearly free author chats. Little more than a decade ago, you would be limited to where you could travel for a reasonable amount of money, but not anymore. With Skype, Facetime and Google chat you can be anywhere.

I realize that some of you may be asking a very basic question. If I'm not there to sign and sell books, how is this marketing? This is where it might take a little elbow grease on your part. When you've found an organization that might be a fit and approach them about speaking, you don't have to give away everything.

One way to incorporate a little marketing is to ask if they can distribute one-pagers at the event. This is a flyer like handout that you would send for them to print and give to attendees. It can have all your basic bio information (See why you need a cool bio) along with information about your book.

Another way is to work your book into the conversation. Some topics will lend themselves naturally to a little self-promo, such as a discussion about the current publishing models. Others will be less obvious, but heck, authors are creative people so figure it out.

You might consider teaming up with a local bookstore in the area where your speech will broadcast. If the organization allows it, they can set up a small table and sell books at the reception afterward. These types of things almost always have food. It is both a positive and a negative that you won't actually be there.

And no matter how the speech is handled you should always include information about your book in your introduction and provide a link to your website as the sign off screen of your speech.

For today's task, identify two or three groups that are outside of your day trip travel zone and reach out to them about possible programming.

3 comments:

  1. Ack! Noooooooooooo!!!!!!
    Well, okay, it's a great way to generate interest in your book -- you're not wrong there -- but Skyping is not me.

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  2. This is a great idea. I saw on Marissa Meyer's website that she's open to having Skype sessions set up.

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  3. I bet lots of book clubs would love to read a book and have the author attend the virtual book club!

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