Virtual Book Presentations for Authors – Using Skype and YouTube

Virtual Book Presentations for Authors – Using Skype and YouTube

Given the availability of easy-to-use and inexpensive technologies, here are two great ways to present your work personally to far-flung audiences.

1. Skype
Barbara Techel is the author of  Class Act: Sell More Books Through School and Library Author Appearances. You can order this great book on doing school and library presentations for under $10 as an eBook, or it’s available from her as a paperback.

It’s not just for children’s book authors. It’s “the ultimate how-to manual for authors of any title of interest to these audiences, detailing how to spread the positive message they were passionate enough to write about in the first place . . . book speaking gigs and personal appearances, and ultimately, sell more books.”

The tip: Techel has been successfully using Skype to do author events remotely. Here’s an excellent guest post she did about this for the Savvy Book Marketer blog:

Many authors, as well as publishers, have limited budgets for travel. Exploring and being open to the opportunity of Skype will help you reach out to many audiences you may not have been able to before. School and library budgets are not what they used to be also. Skype is a wonderful solution affording them the option to still introducing students to authors.

You should definitely check out Barbara’s ideas for using Skype to offer more accessible and affordable author programs (that don’t require you to spend hours in travel and set-up/waiting time). It’s a free bit of software (and one you’ll find yourself using in many ways).

2. YouTube

The online book trailer posted on YouTube (and the book’s website) is popular (although no one is sure why or how effective it really is).

Maybe the problem is that too many book trailers try to be like dramatic movie trailers. Is that really the right approach for a literary work?

Why not just let us meet the author, briefly? You can use your abundant charm and literary skills to present a bit about yourself, the background that led to writing your book, and a bit about what the book is about (focusing on why it’s so appealing or useful to readers).

Here’s an example of a sophisticated, but simple version of an author presentation featuring Penn Jillette (of the Penn & Teller comedy duo). Clearly, he’s a performer and know how to present himself well. But note: it’s not a complicated format. It interweaves his explanation (via a well-lit, dark-background set) of why he wrote his book about his take on God (“From the larger, louder half of the world-famous magic duo Penn & Teller comes a scathingly funny reinterpretation of The Ten Commandments”), with shots of his book (the product).

For several other approaches:

Here’s an author interview with Rick Riordan about the first book in his Percy Jackson series, The Lightning Thief.

Here’s an author interview with Lois Lowry about her Newberry-winning work, The Giver.

Hopefully, these will help steer you away from the teaser movie-like book trailer and toward the “meet the author” and “let’s share some behind-the-scenes info about writing my book with my readers” approach. It is far more likely to be shared amongst interested readers, as it offers actual content.


  1. I like the idea of the You Tube interview. The video for my first book in the Sidra Smart series was an interview on writing the book. Think I’ll do that again with my next one. I agree with the level of interest I get from an interview, versus a movie type trailer.

    Also saves a few bucks.

  2. Hi Phillip,
    Thank you for sharing my book and article on using Skype for authors to do presentations. I am simply tickled that we have this type of technology to share our messages. I encourage all authors to give this serious thought.
    I recently did an interview on Blog Talk Radio about setting up Skype and preparing for a presentation if your readers could benefit from that. This is the link:
    Thank you again!

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