One of the silver linings of the pandemic has been the switch to virtual events in the last few years. I know a lot of us miss getting to attend book events in-person, but virtual events are more accessible for many and are a fantastic way to support authors and indie bookstores. Whether it’s due to scheduling, kiddos, location, or disability, the opportunity to simply log into an event from the comfort of your own home while in your pajamas has been oh so lovely.
From the event host’s perspective, seeing attendees from all over the world get the chance to attend bookish events has been thrilling. As the Programs and Marketing Manager for Loyalty Bookstores, I’ve planned and hosted hundreds of events. (Yes, I need a nap, but I love my job and getting the opportunity to host these virtual author events and champion their books is sincerely rewarding!)
Like any event, whether it’s in-person or virtual, the attendees are the key ingredient to making the event a memorable one.
Read on for tips on how you can support your beloved independent bookstore(s) and get the most out of virtual and in-person book events!
DO: Participate in the event by chatting in the comments section.
One of the negative aspects of a virtual event is that you can’t feel the energy of the room. If the chat is enabled for virtual events, don’t be afraid to leave comments. It makes for a more engaging and fun experience for the audience and especially the authors! Comments in the chat can help it feel like we’re all together in a way that brings more of a community vibe to the event.
See a friend you know in the chat or an author you love supporting their friend? Say hi! Telling us where you’re tuning in from, or even adding a simple heart emoji or clapping emoji can go a long way in letting the author and bookstore know you’re enjoying the event and the conversation.
DO: Post about the upcoming event on social media.
Excited for an upcoming event? Commenting, liking, and sharing about the event on social media is SUCH a good way to support indie bookstores and authors even if you can’t afford to buy the book.
DON’T: Worry about missing the live event.
Can’t attend the virtual event live? Don’t worry! Most bookstores allow attendees to watch the recording of the event in case you missed it or want to watch it again.
DO: Ask questions during the audience Q&A.
This is your chance to ask questions of favorite authors, y’all. Not sure what to ask? I’m always a fan of, “What book(s) are you reading right now?”
DO: Purchase the event book(s) from the independent bookstore hosting the event (if you can).
Bookstores put a ton of time and effort into planning and hosting events, whether they’re in person or virtual, and strong book sales make a huge difference. Not only does it support the bookstore and author financially, but it helps show the publisher that the bookstore has successful events and encourages them to work with your favorite local, independent bookstores again!
DON’T: Feel bad if you aren’t able to purchase the physical book!
We understand that everyone has their own budget and as much as we’d like to, we can’t all buy every book we want. (Pretty rude, but I guess we do need to save some money for food and shelter. Sigh.)
If you have extra Libro.fm credits, maybe you can snag the audiobook (and still support your independent bookstore with your purchase).
Another fantastic option is to check out the book from your local library. If your library doesn’t already have the book, requesting it is a great way to support authors you love!
DO: Post about bookstore events you enjoy.
Did you have fun at the event? Let us know! Share about the event or post a screenshot or pic from the event and share it to your social media. Which leads me to…
DON’T: Forget to tag the authors and bookstore!
That way, we’ll see it and can share it on our own social media as well. Plus, it gives us good feedback to share with the publishers about how the event was received and it helps us make sure we’re offering the kind of programming our community wants!
DO: Sign up to hear more about events.
Looking for more? Sign up for the bookstore’s newsletter so you can stay up-to-date on their upcoming events and be sure to follow them on social media!
DO: Attend book events (as often as you’d like!).
Remember that an event without an audience is NOT an event! How you choose to participate can turn an event into an experience that you—and especially the author—will never forget.
Christine’s Recommended Audiobooks:
Speaking of unforgettable book events, here are some recommended audiobooks I listened to and loved, for events I either hosted at Loyalty Bookstores or attended at another independent bookstore:
(event hosted by Strand Bookstore)
(event hosted by Third Place Books)
(event hosted by Bel Canto Books)
Is there a book event you’ve attended and loved?
Comment with the bookstore and author name in the chat below!