Virtual book signings

So, you've written a book. That's great. Maybe you've self published, maybe you've gotten a small niche publisher or maybe you're with Random House. Whatever your situation, now you are going to have to sell.

Book signings are envisioned as charming events: the local book shop, a library-like setting, perhaps a reading followed by wine, cheese accompanied by sales and autographed copies.

That's a wonderful vision but it belongs in much the same category as home phone lines and a Sunday newspaper you could spend the whole morning reading. Travel is expensive and the small or midsized book shop that provides these bucolic settings are all but gone. Beyond that, unless you are an A-list writer, your publisher is probably neither arranging these tours or paying for your travel and expense. Many writers of self-help and business-focused books are often relegated to networking events and MeetUps where they hawk their books in the back of the room.

Consider a virtual alternative.

You can draw interest from diverse geographic areas. Promoting the event through blogs, social media and the websites frequented by your target reader will draw interest. If you do more than one, buzz from the first will draw more interest in subsequent virtual signings.

You can do things online that you can't do as effectively IRL (in real life). Of course, your readers aren't meeting you and shaking your hand, but your virtual signing can include video, an open chat, a reading from the book, an opportunity to purchase and download a signed digital book, or to order a printed copy and have a signed version shipped to you.

You can capture the names and contact information of your viewers, making it easier for you to follow up with them through a blog, newsletter or social media. Capturing information and identifying your key demographic through your virtual event gives you a built in community of interest for future books, articles, and events.

Because there is no travel involved, you can do your virtual reading/signing no matter where you are, even piggybacking on other trips if you need to.

The key to any virtual event is two fold: content and promotion. Your book, your topic and your expertise and how you structure your event (a reading, a discussion of the overall themes of the book, a small talk followed by an interactive Q&A) are the content.

Virtual events can give you an opportunity to share some rich media content that may not be enabled in your book. Are you a travel or food writer? Your virtual event can include a photo tour or some video highlights.

But how will you let people know about your event?

  • LinkedIn groups. A recent survey shows that 81 percent of all LinkedIn members belong to at least one group and 52 percent of those participate in discussions. This is a great place to enter information about your virtual event - finding groups that address your target reader.

  • Social media. Your Facebook page (You don't have one? You should.), your Google+ page, Quora, Maven, BranchOut and Twitter are all good places to reach out to people who you have already connected with.

  • Newsletter/blog/website. Authors like to write and often maintain blogs or newsletters. Use them to promote your virtual event.

Old schoolers may balk, but virtual events can make you more accessible to a larger audience, grow your footprint beyond your geographic limitations and - as anyone who has ever sat at a signing table having in-depth conversations with the store staff knows - maximize the benefits and the reach of your efforts.
Portfolio can help you plan and produce your virtual book event. Contact us to get started