Before COVID-19 dramatically altered the lives of so many including authors, I knew next to nothing about online technology such as Facebook Live and ZOOM. As the virus spreads and is impacting hundreds of thousands of people across the globe, in-person book launches, tours, meet and greets at bookstores, signings, book club talks, and other events have been postponed indefinitely or cancelled. That has forced a rethinking of how these events can still proceed in unprecedented times. Enter technology.
Facebook Live, ZOOM, and other virtual platform technology was already being used, but I had shied away. Not anymore. Initially my amazing public relations and marketing team were trying to turn lemons into lemonade as my author events became casualties of the virus. It was clear that with no vaccine in the foreseeable future, our lives would change for months or even years as people modify their social behaviors. So I’m learning the ins and outs of ZOOM, the virtual meeting and webinar platform. I’m also taking cues from Energy Pilates Fitness my fitness provider, who is holding both free and paid classes on their Facebook page and via ZOOM.
What my team, Chris Olsen Communications is recommending that I do: hold readings, interviews, bookstore and book club appearances, and my initial launch of Salvation Station on April 14 taking advantage of the technology we are fortunate enough to have available. If we’re able to host in-person events that’s fantastic, especially since you can serve food and beverages! But an upside to all of this turmoil is that web events can have a much greater reach than those taking place in a specific community. Once life returns to at least some semblance of normal, I think the best approach for me (and a lot of other businesses/authors) is employing a combination of both. What’s the saying—necessity is the mother of invention? For me it’s necessity is the mother of learning.