Recently author Hazel Edwards undertook a ‘Skype an author’ session with New Zealand librarians. Hazel explains how the process felt:
Surreal Skype NZ Book Launch with NZ librariansI felt a bit like a security camera. Surreal. I was an electronic participant-observer via web-cam On the wall screen. f2m: the boy within was launched by Kevin Hague, Green MP, at 6pm. But it was 4 pm in Melbourne, and I was on the Skype web-cam from Melbourne.We’d had a practice two nights earlier, luckily. Sorted the visual and sound problems. I could hear the enthusiastic crowd, and see some of them, and apparently they could see me on the big screen. Had to remember not to do anything embarrassing. But I couldn’t control where/what I could see.Location of physical launch: Unity Books, 57 Willis Street, Wellington. New Zealand.Thoughtful, witty and enthusiastic launcher NZ Launcher Kevin Hague Green MP’s Review, Green MP stressed how health issues were realistically covered in the novel. Quotes proved he’d READ the book, thoroughly!But I only ever heard his melodious voice, never saw his face, because the web cam was fixed.Ditto for my co-author’s eloquent launch speech & the bookseller. Plus they had rich NZ accents.So I felt rude, not to be looking into people’s eyes, nor acknowledging each by name. I could hear the rustles of appreciative response from the big crowd and see some of them. Not sure how many more were there outside my field of vision.Distanced, but observing the fabulous buzz in the room. On a technological high, I realised I could take a book crowd snapshot via Skype. So I did. But I was facing the wrong way and they were moving off to form a queue to get their copies autographed by Ryan. And they sold ALL the copies!Congratulations to my co-author Ryan Kennedy. A fabulous book launch.Summing up:A satisfying artistic and electronic experience. Plus: Saves time and money. I didn’t have to fly to New Zealand. And I could keep working my computer while I waited for them to set up. Downside: I had to settle for toasting in virtual champagne.
Such a great idea for remote and regional schools to be able to connect with an author in this way.
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I agree, it can be a little strange talking to people over a webcam and not being able to actually look at them. What an amazing way to share information, especially when geographic boundaries do not allow face-to-face meetings. The savings of time, money, and ability to openly share ideas is pretty amazing. Just need to make more arrangements to have real skype meetings…you have inspired me!
This is such a wonderful way to connect children around the world with authors from around the world. The experience may not be just like it would be in person, but it is certainly an experience worth having!
What a fantastic way to take down the classroom walls. It is wonderful that teachers can now invite authors or other teachers from all over the world to speak to their students. What a powerful tool for students to connect and collaborate with professionals and learn from them.
Since the ‘Skype web cam launch’, I’ve also been a ‘Living Book’ answering questions on audio and web cam, about a specific book which the group had read. This is another literary and literacy use of web cam.