The publishing industry has so many outlets that new technologies are constantly reinventing book marketing and the ways authors connect with readers. For several years now, web conferencing and video chat technologies have been progressing from beta trials to large powerful networks, hosting both authors and their audiences.
Video conferencing or web conferencing occurs when multiple locations communicate via two-way video and audio transmissions. This has also been called visual collaboration and groupware.
Web conferencing can be used by authors to launch a book, introduce branded merchandise, or simply connect with their readers. If your book has an international audience and you do not have the budget to travel, video chats are the next best thing to meeting readers in person, plus they keep your carbon footprint low.
Opportunities to connect through a video event vary by vendor in services, quality and price. Here is a limited list of web conferencing or video chat vendors and what they have to offer.
ShinDig hosts video chat events in which guests are able to move freely in and out of conversation. Audiences are able to take polls, ask questions, and address the speaker or the entire group. 50 to 1000 people can attend an online event. They are also able to discuss what is going on with one another as they are involved in the event. ShinDig allows its customers to offer Video Chat Book Tours and Listening Parties. Fee-based.
Google Hangouts allows users to have one on one conferencing, group conferencing, or On Air conferencing that broadcasts to a worldwide audience. You can stream a keynote, have a panel discussion, or do a reading. On Air integrates with YouTube, where it archives your events. Free.
UStream allows you to become a broadcaster and create a live broadcast whenever you want. UStream provides audience analytics and suggestions for how an audience may be improved. Customers can offer webinars that can be broadcasted to your own audience as well. Audiences may share UStream video with friends real time on their mobile devices. Fee-based.
If you have a corporate past, you probably remember Polycom. The site allows broadcasting to groups and individuals. It integrates with Google Talk and Facebook and has click to connect convenience, so you can invite people to join by sending a URL, IM, email, or calendar invite. It also supports mobile devices. Fee-based.
Early in the year is the perfect time for authors to challenge themselves to try something new. If you enjoy presenting to and interacting with your readers, real time video events are an interactive way to draw your audience together.