Monday, February 15, 2021

Attending My First Virtual Book Launch Of 2021

On Saturday afternoon I attended a book launch sponsored by The Silver Unicorn Bookstore in Acton, Massachusetts for The Leaf Detective: How Margaret Lowman Uncovered Secrets in the Rainforest by Heather Lang with illustrations by Jana Christy. The event was an example of the things virtual author events can do that in-person ones can't.

  1. The author, the illustrator, and the subject of the book were all in attendance from different locations. Even during normal times, I don't think that kind of thing happens very often at a bookstore. Bookstores provide space and time for author events and take care of ordering and selling books. But they can't pay authors for their time or travel expenses. Unless the people involved all live near one another and have a local bookstore to host them, I think this kind of gathering is rare in the real world.
  2. The Leaf Detective is a picture book and Lang read it, something that often happens at an event for a picture book. But instead of us watching her read and having her hold the book up periodically so an audience can try to see some illustrations, each page was on the screen so we could see the whole thing as she was reading it. This is a huge improvement over a traditional reading.
  3. One hundred people had registered to attend this virtual gathering. Seventy-one had shown up when it began. This is a much larger crowd than I've seen at most of the traditional book launches I've attended. In fact, I think a lot of bookstores wouldn't be able to provide space for this many people. Not every virtual book launch attracts this many people. But the potential is there, because people can watch from everywhere, and not just show up because they're nearby. I, for instance, was almost two hours away.

About The Leaf Detective And The Launch

Margaret Lowman, the subject of The Leaf Detective, is one of the first scientists to study the canopy in the rainforest. Her personal story involves both her work in the rainforest and her life as a woman in a field where there weren't many of them. She also spoke about being shy as a young person, something she has overcome. She's a very engaging speaker. 

Author Heather Lang is a nonfiction writer for children. She talked about how she decided to write The Leaf Detective, which sounds like a method for picking subjects for any nonfiction writer.

Jana Christy did a very good presentation on how she illustrated the book, showing the different types of work she did on one two-page spread.

Remember, I saw all this from my office, after a tiring Saturday of cooking and cleaning. I could not have spent the afternoon driving back and forth to a Massachusetts bookstore. If you have an opportunity to attend a virtual book event, I suggest you grab it.

No comments: