These days of social distancing can be a great time to virtually reach out to readers. Here are 6 social distancing, book promotion events that authors can put on for readers; readers are entertained, and authors may sell a few books or make new fans. It’s a win for everyone!
Social Distancing Events
If you write children’s books, you can do a read-aloud event where you virtually read your book out loud to children. If you don’t write children’s books, you can read aloud your favorite children’s book and still get your name out there. You can do this by posting a video on Facebook, your website, and YouTube, or using Instagram Live or Facebook Live.
This kind of event works great as a series of events too. You could do a read-aloud every week for a month, for example.
Live Online Interview
An interview is a great way to generate interest. You could prerecord the interview and post it on your website or social media, but a live event would give you better results. With a live interview, you can turn to the audience for additional questions once you’ve answered the pre-planned interview questions. Facebook has free video options (Facebook Live and the new Messenger Rooms), and Zoom has a free option that allows up to 100 people for 40 minutes.
Live Book Discussion
This is similar to an interview but instead focuses on a specific book. Come prepared with fun information about the book that your readers may not know. You can also encourage viewer participation by posting discussion questions or activities related to your book before the event. During the event, you could ask viewers if they have questions about the book, draw a giveaway winner or two from the viewers (could be a signed copy of the book, a digital copy of that book or another one of your books, a digital gift card—even a $5 gift card is appreciated!—a coupon, etc.). At the end, let people know where they can buy the book if they haven’t yet read it or want to buy a copy for a friend, and encourage them to leave reviews.
Virtual Book Signing
This event can have a lot of the same elements of a live book discussion, but it is more focused on individuals. At the beginning, you explain to viewers how they request their ebook to be digitally signed (a popular site to use is Authorgraph), and tell them to start sending in their requests. Then you may have a short intro where you talk about your book, before you take a break to start signing those books, addressing it to the person of their choice and leaving a short, personal message and your signature, like you would at a physical signing.
Bring excitement to the event by posting activities that viewers can do while they wait for their turn and drawing giveaway winners. For this kind of event, it’s a good idea to have an MC that can announce giveaways or run games, so you can concentrate on signing those books. Near the end, you can take questions. Of course, if you don’t get through all the signature requests by the time the event is over, promise that you’ll finish them after the event.
Create a webinar about something related to one of your books. If you write nonfiction, it could be a how-to webinar that further expands a topic in your book. If you write fiction, you could take a few elements from your book and talk about it, such as your book’s magic system or geography or history, or cooking methods and recipes (if your book has a lot of cooking references), or pet information (if your book is focused heavily on pets), and so on. Or you could create a webinar about writing the book: your writing process, how you get ideas, any tips you have for new writers, and so on.
A webinar is best done with a slideshow that presents information, while you talk about it. At the end, you can open it up to questions from the audience.
A Book Trailer
A book trailer is fun to watch and can generate interest in your books by reaching an audience you might not have otherwise found. Post your book trailer on YouTube and let your readers know about it. They’ll love having something interesting to watch while they’re stuck at home.
Advertising Your Book Promotion Event
Of course, if you do a social distancing event, it’s important to get the word out there first. Post about the event on social media, on your website, and in your author newsletter. Be sure to ask viewers to spread the word by also posting about the event and letting their friends know. You could also get together a group of other authors doing a similar event and advertise each other’s events, or even do a group event. There are also a lot of blog posts out there about these events, and if you contact the blog writer, they may be willing to add your event to their list.
Do you have any social distancing book promotion ideas to share? We’d love to hear about them in the comments below, along with what software you used to run the event.