I’ve got a friend who sales jewelry in direct sales. Rachael does this by pretty much doing what used to be done at Tupperware parties. (Stick with me. There is a reason I’m discussing Rachael’s business.) Somewhere in her weird little brain, Rachael came up with this idea to blend Bingo and the jewelry house parties. (Stay with me, here.) And seeing that we’ve been friends for a few decades, Rachael has tried dragging me to these Blingo parties.
The problem is while I live by the same interstate as Rachael, we’re in two separate states. I’m down by the Mexican border. She’s up in Colorado. For months upon months I’ve bugged Rachael about doing one of these parties via vidconference. I even bought her a webcam so she could put together a web-based vidconference and I could attend.
This has seemingly failed until now. Last Friday night (exactly one hour and forty-five minutes before a Blingo party) Rachael posts on Facebook that she’s streaming her party online. And tagged me as the annoying friend who pestered her into this whole streaming thing. Being a good friend, I watched. That’s when I found out about her platform of choice.
Rachael went with UStream. UStream allows the “broadcaster” to stream live, unlike vlogging on YouTube or WordPress. UStream also lets the “audience” interact via a chat function.
I’ve used UStream before for political townhall meetings. It allows a larger number of constituents to interact with their elected officials. UStream can be accessed from mobile devices, or from someone’s home computer. The attendees don’t need webcams, just a keyboard. The politician sits there taking the typed questions and while everyone isn’t happy – when is everyone happy at a political townhall? – at least a large number of questions get answered. This is especially great for homebound constituents.
And as I watched Rachael host her Blingo party, I came up with a great marketing scheme for my lovely followers. How many people are looking for virtual book tours? (All authors raise your hands.) Who loves blogging or vlogging, but wishes they could do an interactive at the moment virtual book tour? For free? Where your fans (and new fans) can see you, and you can answer their questions right on the spot? Haven’t you dreamed of the old-fashion book tours where you actually spoke with your fans? (Okay, not if you are me, but I like hiding behind my computer.)
Especially for self-published authors, UStream could be a great way to interact and do a virtual book tour. Just like the old-fashioned book tours at the local bookstore. You could start with an excerpt of your book, and then take questions. It could be a blast.
And while I’m off at the dentist for my six-month cleaning, y’all can come up with better ideas on how to conduct a virtual book tour!