A native of Colorado, Mrs. Yolanda M. Johnson-Bryant, aka That Literary Lady, currently resides in the Piedmont Triad area of North Carolina, with her husband. Mrs. Bryant is a published author, freelance writer, novelist, editor, ghostwriter and a literary, marketing and entrepreneurial consultant and advocate. She is the founder and owner of LW Media Group, Bryant Consulting and That Literary Lady. She is a columnist for Examiner.com, EzineArticles.com and other literary venues. Mrs. Johnson-Bryant is a member of The Nussbaum Entrepreneurial Center, Women of Leadership and Learning (WELL Women) and Toastmasters. She is also a member of Junior Achievement, the Women’s Resource Center of Greensboro, the Volunteer Center of Greensboro and other community organizations. Visit her at www.yolandamjohnson.com, www.lwmediagroup.com, www.bryantconsultingonline.com, and www.thatliterarylady.com
Face Time with Your Fans
Let’s face it, times are hard. Citizens are losing their homes, their cars, and even their jobs. If life is tough for the average nine-to-fiver, imagine how it is for an author. We are employee and employer—we have to work twice as hard as the average worker. Unless our traveling expenses are being paid for us, it is much more difficult to afford to travel around the county for book signings, book club meetings, conferences, festivals, and other events.
This is one of the many reasons I love technology. Previously, an author had to pay registration fees, hotel fees, and airfare to attend an event—not to mention food and other expenses. Now an author can have face time with his or her fans without leaving the comfort of their homes, saving thousands of dollars, especially if an author travels several times a year. Resources such as video chatting, conferencing, and webinars make it easier to connect with fans and readers.
I have listed a few resources that will allow you to be face-to-face with your audience at little or no cost. We all love to save money don’t we? I do—especially now.
Everyone is familiar with Skype. In addition to single video chatting, now users can participate in Skype Group Video Calling. With Skype 5.0 or Skype for Business, users can video conference with multiple users who can view, talk, chat, screen share, and instant message one another during the conference. Skype even offers Skype ready phones and video cams at a discount rate. Skype is available for your television, mobile device, tablet, Mac, and PC.
Skype also allows authors to reach classrooms and libraries through video conferencing and video chat. You can find out more about this resource, called SkypeanAuthor, by visiting skypeanauthor.wetpaint.com.
ooVoo Video Conferencing can be used for online meetings, Web conferencing, Web presentations and training. ooVoo has twelve-way video conferencing, instant messaging, desktop and file sharing. Users are also able to record video chats. ooVoo has special pricing for its premium members.
GoToMeeting charges for its services; however, the charges are much less than your traveling alternative. GoToMeeting can accommodate a mass of users at one time. I recently attended a Facebook webinar presented by Mari Smith, and over 6,000 users were in attendance—over 10,000 had signed up. GoToMeeting offers High-Definition Video Conferencing, desktop viewing, share keyboard and mouse control, e-mail and instant messaging integration, chat, total audio service, desktop record and playback, application sharing, and other tools. GoToMeeting offers completive monthly and yearly rates. GoToMeeting offers a thirty-day free trial.
Webex by Cisco is another low-cost option. For as low as $15 a month, users can meet face-to-face with integrated video and audio. Users can video conference from the comfort of their homes, from their mobile devices, or from their iPads or other tablets. Webex also allows users to record and share their video conferences. Webex offers a two-week free trial.
Google+, one of my favorites, has Google Hangouts, which allows up to ten users to video chat at one time. Users can video conference, chat, and YouTube all within one platform. Users can also screen share and most of all, it’s free.
AnyMeeting is another good resource for video conferencing. Users can hold small or large meetings. AnyMeeting allows a six simultaneous video cast, while meeting with up to two hundred users. AnyMeeting is free with ads and starts at $17.99 for ad-free conferencing. Users can also make money with AnyMeeting with integrated PayPal services. Users can send custom invitations and registration forms, screen share, and record meetings. It also gives users the advantage of collecting attendee information and follow-up.
Although it doesn’t allow for video conferencing, Free Conference Calling does allow you to speak to your audience. It is a free conferencing service that allows up to 1,000 callers at a time. Conference calls can be up to six hours in length and can be used twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. This service allows conference calls to be converted into MP3 files and downloaded onto a user’s hard drive or automatically shared via social media. Each account is assigned a call-in number, a conference code, and a user code. I use this service to interview guests for my podcasts. I then upload them to my podcast show On the Air with That Literary Lady on iTunes.
As you can see, authors have several options to meet with their fans and readers that allow everyone involved the ability to remain in their comfort zones.
Many authors will forgo reaching out to their fans and readers because of the lack of funds. This can potentially cause a loss in readership and a loss in bottom line sales. Now, with the available conferencing technology, they don’t have to. They can set up an impromptu book club meeting or book chat.
For other resources and creative ways to come face-to-face with your audience, research to find out what’s available. Resources are being created at a fast pace, and there is really no reason an author cannot connect with their readers. Happy chatting!