Yes, it’s another post about virtual appearances. But this one has pictures! And links! Because… if you’re promoting a book these days, it’s gonna be an online experience. Which can actually offer some great opportunities from the comfort of your own home, in pajamas from the waist down. (Then again, I’ve been wearing men’s pajama bottoms as pants for ten years, so I was ahead of the curve on that one.)
A couple of months before MURDER IN THE BAYOU BONEYARD launched, I contacted some of my regular local book tour stops and scheduled online events. Then my pal Mariah Fredericks, author of the Jane Prescott Mysteries, offered to interview me virtually for the Astoria Bookshop – three thousand miles away, in my old Queens stomping grounds where my Catering Hall Mysteries are set. Yes, yes, a thousand times yes, I cried out!
Inspired, I reached out to a half-dozen bookstores around the country and set up e-vents and e-ppearances – see what I did there? – in different parts of the country. The shops were receptive, especially about events that could bring together authors from different parts of the country, or even other countries for that matter. Edith Maxwell and I chatted at an event hosted by Pennsylvania’s Mystery Lovers Bookshop. Hallie Ephron and I discussed our different genres at Book Carnival in California. Both Edith and Hallie live in Massachusetts. I’m in southern California. Houston’s Murder by the Book took the brave step of having me as a solo guest. I was afraid no one would come but John McDougall did an amazing job of publicizing the event and conducting the interview. John told me not to worry if initial turnout was low because “these events have a long tail,” meaning that once they’re posted to other outlets like Facebook and YouTube, they often pick up a lot more views. But twenty-five people e-showed up for the live-online event. That’s five times the number of attendees I’ve had at some in-person signings.
This coming Wednesday night, I’m e-joining Elaine Viets and Lori Rader-Day at Left Bank Books in my husband’s hometown of St. Louis. I’m sorry I won’t be able to celebrate with some toasted ravioli and gooey butter cake (that’s for you St. Louis folks -Provel! Ted Drewes!), but I’m excited about sharing the e-dais with two authors I might not be able to meet up with otherwise, seeing as how Lori is in Chicago and Elaine is in Florida. Remember how I said you can even yak about your books with writers from other countries? Well, on October 5th, Canada grand dame of mystery Vicki Delany will join me and Daryl Wood Gerber for An Evening of Cozies at San Diego’s Mysterious Galaxy bookstore. On October 24th, I’ll be one of five authors Zooming at Witches, Screams and Skeletons, sponsored by Murder on the Beach, located in Delray Beach, Florida. (Notice how I’ve added links so you can check out all these events. You know my motto – N.S.S.: Never Stop Shilling.)
Emboldened, I created a unique event as part of my promo push. On Sunday, October 11th, I’m hosting Haunted Louisiana: Fact or Fiction?
In a quest to tackle this fun and oh-so-perfectly-timed-to-Halloween topic, I enlisted my Louisiana friend Chere Coen, who’s written tons of non-fiction and fiction about the state, as well as noted New Orleans podcaster Mark Bologna, whose podcast Beyond Bourbon Street is a personal favorite. Author pal Keenan Powell has a Crowdcast account and I lured her into sharing it with us. She’s going to help me run the event and share some spooky tales from Alaska, where she lives.
John from Murder by the Book seems to be right about that long tail of these virtual appearances. As of my writing this, the Facebook video of our interview has 905 views. The Astoria Bookshop chat between Mariah and me has 342 views. Considering it’s not specifically a mystery bookstore, that’s pretty great. I hope these views translate into sales for all the stores. Even if a small portion do, I’ve reached far more people than I would have through live events. And all in my pajamas.
At least, from the waist down.
Readers, have you e-tended (sorry, I can’t help myself) any online events? What do you and don’t you like about them?