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Virtual library tours for authors

When Elaine Wilkes asked me to preview her new online training program, “How to Get Your Book and E-Books into Libraries,” I asked her 2 questions: (1) May I offer the program as an affiliate? and (2) Would she write a guest blog post for me about virtual library presentations? She said yes to both!  Elaine’s books have been both traditionally and self-published. Nature’s Secret Messages was awarded the rare star recommendation from  Publishers Weekly while her latest book, 101 Awesome Things to Do for Someone Who’s Sick, will be released September 12, 2013. Learn more on her website.  

Virtual library tours for authors

By Elaine Wilkes

Did you know you can speak to groups at libraries all over the country—without leaving your home?

Virtual library tours are the latest thing. Like virtual book tours, you don’t have to pack and travel. You just need a computer, a webcam, and a smile.

3 libraries host 1 author

Adriana Trigiani, author of The Shoemaker’s Wifeenjoyed the benefits of a virtual library tour in suburban Chicago when three libraries simultaneously used an interactive webinar to host her book talk.

Here’s how it worked: Adriana and the libraries used webcams so that each library was able to see and hear all four camera images on one big screen at the same time. Adriana could interact with patrons at all three libraries at once from her home in New York — how cool is that!

libraryAdriana — and any other author making a virtual presentation to a library — could see, hear, and speak to them, but couldn’t shake their hands. To make it feel even more real and in-person, the libraries offered Italian refreshments to go with the theme of the book. As a result, each had a waiting list for the book.

Library coordinator Laura Birmingham of the Indian Prairie Library in Darien, Ill., said this was actually better than an in-person event because the large screen made it possible for everyone to see the expressions on the author’s face “up close and personal.”

And . . . the technology they used was free. The Illinois libraries used GoToMeeting.com’s free 30-day trial, but some use other options that include Google Hangouts and Skype.

Success tips

The New York Library System has similar programs that uses webcams to connect patrons with authors in sessions that resemble large book club meetings.

The potential to be seen all over the country, but without leaving your home, is huge if you know how to do it. The trick is knowing who to contact at the libraries and how to approach them.

Once you snag your first virtual book talk, keep these tips in mind:

  • Do a test run with the library
  • To make sure your book is described accurately, give the library the press release that announces your book.
  • Ask the host library if it would like others to participate, too.

What are you waiting for? Fire up that webcam and start contacting libraries now! And just think — you don’t even have to select cities where you’ve got a friend who will house you for free!

Note from Sandra: Elaine spent more than 120 hours putting together her comprehensive new online training program, “How to Get Your Book and E-Books into Libraries,” with much of that time spent developing a database of library contacts for you to use. I’ve been reading the material and listening to the audio files and have to say that anyone who’s smart enough to know that it’s important to get into libraries so you sell more books, reach more readers, and create more fans, should definitely check it out while Elaine’s offering a sale price on the training. Learn more on the e-course website

Do you have a question about virtual library tours or how to get your book into libraries? Ask it here and Elaine will respond. 

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  1. Susan, as soon as I learned about this from Elaine, I knew we needed a blog post about it! I’m glad you were inspired!


  2. I liked the first article so much, I clicked over to this one as well. Thank you for this. It is so exciting to hear, at my age, that I could be visiting libraries to present my books, read to children, talk with parents all while sitting in my office or living room. Thank you for this article.

    1. Thanks, Susie! Yes, we can reach a lot more people without traveling now. It’s pretty exciting!


  3. Does this approach with English Libraries?
    I live in London.
    Sheila Marlin

    1. Sheila, Elaine wrote this based on her experience with U.S. libraries. You will need to do research to see if it works the same way in the UK.


  4. Great tip of the day, Sandra! I have a goal to get my nonfiction history book into libraries from coast to coast. This is a fantastic idea. Just signed up for Elaine Wilkes’ class to learn more.
    Thank you, thank you, thank you!

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