I am happily preparing for a party at the moment – an online one to celebrate the publication of my new book, Tripping The Flash Fantastic.
Date For Your Diary: Saturday, 10th October 2020
Time: 7.00 pm to 9.30 pm
Venue: Your computer, laptop, I-Pad etc at your home!
Link for Event: https://www.facebook.com/events/1246876649024453
(Can’t beat the convenience here! No traffic hold-ups. Just a good internet connection needed which you hopefully should have anyway!).
Tripping The Flash Fantastic is the follow-up to From Light to Dark and Back Again and again is published by Chapeltown Books. The blurb for TTFF reads:-
Allison Symes loves reading and writing quirky fiction. She discovered flash fiction thanks to a Cafélit challenge and has been hooked on the form ever since. In this follow-up to her From Light to Dark and Back Again, Allison will take you back in time, into some truly criminal minds, into fantasy worlds, and show you how motherhood looks from the viewpoint of a dragon. Enjoy the journey!
Online launches take a variety of forms. I went to a friend’s one earlier in the year where they used Facebook Live, which is like a live rolling camera. I’m going to have a standard Facebook event and the party will be a long online post but on one specific topic, broken up by various things designed to entertain. The big advantage for guests is they can pop in and out of an event like this as they wish. I’ve often done this myself to wave the flag for the writer concerned.
Incidentally, never worry if you cannot go to the whole of an event like this. The writer would far rather you popped up on their event to wish them well and disappear again if you can’t stay online rather than not pop up at all. Again, I’ve often done this and then, when I can, pop back to an event towards the end of it. The nice thing of course with Facebook posts is I can scroll through what I missed and soon “catch up” with any quizzes going on etc.
I would have held a cyberlaunch for TTFF anyway, regardless of the current situation. All of the writers I know and I have had our usual events cancelled and I suspect it won’t be until well into next year before we can hold Book Fairs in halls etc, where we can physically bring our books to a “real” place and hand over paperbacks to people in exchange for the right money!
So any kind of online launch is a must for any writer with new material out right now and is a useful advertising tool anyway.
Advantages of Online Launches
Online launches have their advantages.
1. Food and Drink!
Well, you always have these at a “real” party so why not for an online one? The big advantages are there are no costs (as long as you source your pictures from a royalty-free site like Pixabay or Pexels) AND there are no calories involved. (So I won’t worry one little bit if my Slimming World consultant comes along – and I hope she does!!).
Youtube is a blessing here and I am looking forward to choosing several pieces of appropriate music to put on in between my posts. All parties should entertain their guests. I want to be entertained too and to look back at the event and think yes I enjoyed that. If I did, it is likely others would have done!
I can share in the posts extracts from my book, tips on writing, what I loved about writing a particular story and so on. This is “value added” to any writers who come to my cyberlaunch, we all always learn from this kind of thing and appreciate that too, but it does shed an insight into the writing life for non-writers. More people than you might expect do take an interest in that even if they don’t write themselves. I think it is a kind of fascination with the process of creating something from nothing, which is what all writers do, regardless of what we write.
I hope to hold a quiz and a raffle for my online party and there will be prizes.
Any writer will tell you that if someone fills their posts on Facebook etc with “buy my book, buy my book” and nothing else will quickly switch potential readers off. Nobody likes to be nagged! BUT the ONE exception is where someone has a new book out and are getting ready to have an event as I am. People expect that kind of post then and aren’t annoyed by it. But you stick to the rules.
In the run-up to my event, yes I will be promoting it and the book, but I will make sure I write posts on useful topics to writers in between that and, even more importantly, in the period immediately afterwards my launch. You are seeking to engage with people and you don’t do that by nagging them! If they see, especially after the event, you are writing on topics of interest, they are more likely to stay with you.
6. A Chance To Engage With Readers and Potential Readers
The cyberlaunch will give me a chance to engage with people as I share stories. Even if they don’t buy the book immediately, they may come back to it later. I am putting the word out there in what I hope will be an entertaining way. I know from direct experience I never mind being “sold” a book if the launch has entertained me. Sometimes I will buy, sometimes I will come back to buying it later, and that’s fine. Writers expect that.
7. A Chance to Show Support
If you ever wonder how to show support to the writers in your life, here’s your chance! Do pop along to their cyberlaunch and join in with the discussions. Wish them luck. It is one of those things that when people see others commenting on a cyberlaunch, they will then join in too so do get the ball rolling. It really will help your writer friends. Also, do review their books if you can. It does not have to be a long review but you do need to be honest if you’ve been given a copy of the book by your writer friend. Say so. Amazon don’t mind that. They do mind if they find out later!
8. Using Different Types of Media
With a cyberlaunch, you can use video, still pictures, audio as well as the standard text posts. That makes for an interesting mix of things for people to look through as they go through what has happened on your Facebook event. It makes things interesting for you too.
9. Developing New Connections
I have discovered new books, authors new to me etc when going to events held by fellow writers. That benefits me as a reader too.
10. Reusing Material!
There’s nothing to stop a writer using some of the material for their cyberlaunch in other promotional work later and/or for their website.
The important thing is the event should be fun and should entertain your guests. You need to be every bit as good a host for this kind of party as you should be for a “real” event. And yes there is hard work in the preparation beforehand.
The good thing though? No cleaning up afterwards!
Read blog posts by Allison Symes published on Chandler’s Ford Today.
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