A few months ago I saw this news item:
LONDON, 2 November 2009 â€” This November HarperCollins and Skype have created an innovative world first event – ‘Cecelia Ahern’s Virtual World Tour’ – to promote the publication of her latest novels….Cecelia, one of the UK’s best selling authors…will join events around the world via Skype video.
Unable to embark on her regular worldwide promotional tours this year due the arrival of her first baby this autumn, HarperCollins and Skype are bringing Cecelia together with her fans through real-time Skype video. Cecelia will join events live from her home in Dublin and will appear on screens at selected retailers in central city locations. Events will range from celebrity-hosted evenings to invite-only retailer events. Fans will be able to speak to Cecelia and buy pre-signed copies of her new books….
Kate Fitzpatrick, Digital Marketing Manager says: “Our partnership with Skype has given Cecelia a fantastic opportunity to reach her fans in all corners of the globe at a time when she is unable to travel. As a first truly international PR event for HarperCollins the use of Skype has proved that distance doesn’t have to be a barrier for fans to engage and interact with their favourite authors.”
Ms. Ahern wasn’t the first, actually: four months earlier, Mark D. White did the same thing.
Mark D. White, editor of “Watchmen and Philosophy: A Rorschach Test” from John Wiley & Sons, has held what may have been the first virtual book signings via video calling with Skype….
White was pleased that his first stop was at Joseph-Beth Booksellers in Cincinnati, where he attended graduate school. His image was projected on a screen in the author event space.
He said he could easily see the fans and they could see him as he called via Skype from the kitchen in his New Jersey home….
White, who also had a virtual signing at Schuler Books & Music in Lansing, Mich., said virtual touring saves time for authors. “An actual in-person book tour would be a significant burden. I have young children and lots of responsibilities,” he said. “This way I could tour–and sleep in my own bed.”
Instead of trying to convince bookstores to project me into their author space (which I would DO if asked, naturally), I thought it might be fun to connect with some of you more directly.
So here’s the Wise Bauer Virtual Book Tour Experiment.
If you have a webcam and microphone and can get five or more people together for a book party, I’ll join you. (For how long is up for negotiation–that will largely depend on when you want to have your party.) We’ll provide technical assistance–we can help you out with a choice of methods and make sure ahead of time that your web-portal is up and working.
So are you interested? If so, please email my intrepid assistant Pattie Kirkland (pattie at welltrainedmind dot com) to work out details.