Posted on 04/19/2021 at 10:11 AM by Guest Author
Knowing how to host an author event online will serve you now and in the future. That’s why we put together some best practices you can follow to ensure your first virtual author event is a success!
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It was around this time last year that we talked about how to engage readers during the pandemic.
We highlighted the value of doing a virtual author event, such as a reading, to connect with readers and introduce them to your work.
And although the world is slowly getting back to normal, it’s still worth learning how to host an author event online, especially if you’ve never done it before.
Because it can go a long way toward furthering your writing career.
When you write a new book, you need to generate interest in it and you. Unfortunately, this can be difficult to do, especially if you’re an indie author.
But when you know how to conduct a virtual author event, you can bridge the gap between yourself and new potential fans.
After all, the greatest thing about the internet is that it allows us to connect with people all over the world.
Here are some other advantages to hosting an author event online:
It’s a more cost-effective option than an in-person event.
It lets you extend your reach far beyond what an in-person event allows.
It’s more convenient for you and attendees.
There’s less risk of having to cancel due to other unforeseen circumstances.
It’s better for the environment, as people don’t need to travel to a venue.
It’s not quite as nerve-racking as speaking in front of a crowd.
Of course, hosting such an event is one thing; hosting a successful event is another. And that requires a fair amount of preparation and follow-up...
A lot of bookstores and libraries have been collaborating with authors to put on virtual events over the last year. And chances are this trend will continue.
That said, you may not have the opportunity to develop such a partnership just yet — and that’s okay.
By following the tips and best practices below, you can learn how to host an author event online yourself.
Let’s get started!
1. Set a Goal for Your Virtual Author Event.
First things first, it’s important to set a goal for your event. Specifically, you need to decide whether your goal is to generate sales or just expand your reader base.
By knowing what you want to get out of the event, you can frame it accordingly.
Further, you can determine how well it went by looking at the number of sales, downloads, social media followers, and/or newsletter subscribers you got after the event.
2. Choose the Appropriate Platform.
There are several platforms you can use to host your virtual author event. And a big part of learning how to host an author event online is choosing the right one for your needs.
Some factors to take into consideration include the following:
Cost (if any)
Overall user experience
Many authors opt for platforms such as Instagram Live, YouTube Live, Facebook Live, Zoom, and Twitch. So, if you’re unsure which one to use, take the time to test them out.
Ultimately, you want to be comfortable navigating all the different tools and features that are available.
3. Plan What You’re Going to Cover.
Much like planning out your book, you want to plan out your virtual event.
Some authors prefer to have a detailed outline and corresponding script, whereas others like to keep it a little less structured. The approach you take is completely up to you.
However, it is worth blocking off time to read a passage from your book, answer questions from attendees, and allow for general conversation with the moderator (if one will be present).
Additionally, you may want to include a call to action at the end of the event — one that tells readers exactly where and how to get your book.
4. Schedule a Day and Time.
Once you have a plan for your virtual event, the next step is to decide when it will take place.
To maximize attendance, it’s best to choose a day and time when most people are available. A good rule of thumb is to schedule events for evenings and weekends.
As for duration, you should aim for an hour or less. In fact, author and literary community organizer Cody Sisco states that a short event can be just as impactful.
Make sure to factor in time when choosing your platform (noted above) and planning your event, as you don’t want it to cut off unexpectedly.
5. Spread the Word.
No virtual author event is complete without attendees. After all, the whole point is to connect with readers and generate interest in your work. That’s why you need to spread the word.
Here are some ways to notify people about your event and encourage them to join:
Send an invitation to your email subscribers.
Include a special note in all newsletters leading up to the event.
Share a post about the event on your social media channels.
Form a street team to extend your reach.
Contact book bloggers and influencers with large followings.
(Tip: When sharing information about your event, don’t forget to take time zones into consideration. Chances are your attendees won’t all be from the same place, so it’s important to include the time zone abbreviation in all posts, emails, and other materials.)
6. Decide on Background and Attire.
Although virtual author events tend to be less formal than in-person ones, you still want to make a good impression.
Conducting such an event gives attendees a glimpse into your life and allows them to get familiar with your brand. So, decide how you want to present yourself by choosing your background and attire ahead of time.
7. Test Your Technology Beforehand.
In learning how to host an author event online, don’t underestimate the importance of technology. It plays a key role in the success of your event.
A blank screen or lack of sound can frustrate attendees and cause them to leave. Therefore, test your camera and microphone beforehand, and log on to the platform prior to the event to ensure there aren’t any issues.
8. Make Sure to Follow Up with Attendees.
Finally, once your event has come to an end, don’t forget to follow up with attendees.
Share a post on social media thanking everyone who participated and include a link to get your book.
Do the same via email and welcome those who subscribed to your newsletter after the event.
If you want to achieve greater success in your writing career, you must learn how to host an author event online.
Although putting on a virtual author event can seem daunting, especially to the most introverted, it’s well worth the effort. Doing so gives you the opportunity to connect with readers across the globe and encourage them to read your work.
Just keep in mind that the bar for online events has been raised this past year, so follow the best practices provided here.
(Planning on running a free ebook promo before or after your online author event? Download our Ultimate Guide to Data-Driven Promotions and learn how to leverage data to improve your book marketing results!)
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