Why Go Virtual?

We get it… virtual events are no one’s first choice.  And in the wake of a global pandemic, many people are zoomed out.  But new and ongoing advancements in both tech and user-comfort have made the online format a great option for some of our hosts.

#1 - it increases accessibility exponentially.

You’re no longer limited to your geographic community, but can expand the scope of your event to a global audience.

#2 - Virtual visits tend to be cheaper.

If you’re working with a limited budget, a thoughtfully produced virtual visit can be a wonderful way to engage with your patrons or participants, without breaking the bank.

#3 - have the best of both worlds!

We’ve been arranging many hybrid events, where the author appears in person to a limited crowd, but is broadcast virtually to a wider audience; or where the author appears virtually on a big screen before a gathered crowd. Both options have been very successful with our hosts.

How to plan a successful Virtual Visit


  • Know your audience, and choose an author you know will appeal to them. Meet readers where they are, rather than luring them where you think they should be.  Don’t discount authors who write in different genres, or those that can bring something unique and unexpected to the virtual format. 
  • Avoid Lectures! In the virtual format, engagement is a constant challenge.  To provide a more intimate and interactive experience, select a moderator from your community who knows the author’s work well, and broadcast a moderated conversation between them. Don’t forget to include a robust audience Q&A!
  • Get Creative. Think outside the box as you’re preparing, and take advantage of the tools you’re working with.  Here are some ideas that have worked well with previous visits!
    • MTV Cribs style author office tour. 
    • Bookshelf Bingo (working with the titles in the author’s personal library)
    • Incorporate meal prep or cocktails – have the author prepare a recipe specific to the book, or mix a cocktail and invite participants to do the same. (sharing recipes in the confirmation email is a must – then participants can gather ingredients and follow along. 
    • Talisman Show and Tell: Have the author select an item in their office from which they derive motivation and inspiration, and explain to the audience the story behind it’s power.
    • Pet Cam: have the author introduce their pets to the audience, and allow selected participants to do the same.
  • Sweat the Small Stuff: Pulling off a successful virtual event is all about nailing the details. Here are some MUST-DOs for your next online appearance: 
    • Schedule a tech check with the author or their representative, using the same links you’ll use on the event date. 
      • Make sure the author’s space is well lit
      • Make sure the author’s head and shoulders are well framed 
      • Request that the author have a hard-wired internet connection (rather than relying only on wifi)
      • Choose a platform that works best for your audience. It’s worth checking out options before making your decision—Zoom Webinar, Crowdcast, Web Ex, Extended Session, and All in the Loop are a few of the platforms we find our hosts have had success using. Ultimately the decision will depend on the needs and budget of your organization, and we are happy to offer additional input based on our experience.
      • Have a plan for Recording. Your contract will typically include a second on if and how recording is allowed.