No, I am serious….I do mean a shindig. Shindig, the brainchild of Steve Gottlieb, is one of the newest online platforms to bring authors closer to their fans/readers. Shindig is a video chat platform where you not only get to interact with the author/speaker but the audience too. The author can do live readings from their latest books as well as live Q&A. Its application can be extended to talks, interviews and book tours. Plus, it can accommodate a group of 50 to 500.
I experienced my first shindig on the 18th of September when renown author, Jerry B Jenkins, was launching his new book, The Breakthrough (Tyndale House Publishers). Through the use of this technology, I actually got to see Jerry speaking from his study. How cool is that?
Another feature of Shindig is presenters and audience alike can see a selection of the other audience members and can even have private chats. OK, I admit, it was late at night and I did not want to scare my fellow audience members with what I looked like after 11pm. So, I turned off the webcam. However, I found the whole process quite engaging and intriguing in that I could hear my favourite author talk about his book from the comfort of my office (or bed) and ask anything (within reason). And for those who are camera shy like I was, you could forward your questions through a presenter/host to the author.
Shindig is still new and it did have a few teething problems (This was Jerry’s 2nd shindig as the 1st had to be postponed due to technical glitches). However, I can still see the benefits for authors and indeed their publishers.
I believe Shining and similar tools will catch on and bridge the gap between authors and fans. Ultimately, this will result in increased book sales and decrease travel expenses associated with book tours. I reckon it’s a great tool and I look forward to when Shindig will be available to use on iPads too.
PS: I reckon all we need now, to make this complete, is an online book signing tool. Anyone up for this?