If you told kid!me that I would be hosting an Instagram Live series for a potential audience of 230k people, she’d be shocked. I was the shyest kid. I kept my head in a book, I brought books to parties and family events, and I had a panic attack when I had to give a monologue in front of my 8th Grade Communications and Theatre class. So, the part where I host an Instagram Live for a book publishing company isn’t weird, but talking in front of thousands totally is.
It took me a long time to figure out how to work around my shyness (do not get confused, I am still shy) and how to know what situations and prep I need to be able to speak to lots of people at once.
Our new Scholastic series, #BookParty, came about because we wanted to do something fun and new on our Instagram Live. It’s a great way to get new followers and people to come across your account. Inviting others to your live is a great way to introduce yourself to their followers. And an IG Live party celebrating book releases just sounds like a really fun idea.
The first one happened on July 7 at 7pm. I interviewed Gordon Korman (Linked), Gracey Zhang (Lala’s Words), and Shakirah Bourne (Josephine Against the Sea) about their new books.
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Many Scholastic books come out on the first Tuesday of each month, so the following Wednesday, I’ll get to chat with some really cool authors, including: Debbi Michiko Florence, Pearl Low, Ralph Lazar (all three this month!), Jess Keating, Tracey West, and many more!
I’m excited. I’ve been a journalist for the last five years, so I’ve got experience interviewing people, and as I said earlier, I’ve curated my preparation so that I don’t get caught up in shyness or panic. This includes having a document behind my phone screen where I can read off the question and somewhere I can type out quick notes of things I want to come back to or questions asked in the chat that I want to come around to.
A lot goes into something like this, even with how casual IG Lives can be. I had to think of the idea with my manager (hey Bridget!), reach out to the internal publicity teams to secure the guests (hey Alex and team!), create promotion ideas for graphics and copy (thanks Mariana!), and get those graphics and copy back to the guests and our (many) Scholastic social media managers to share.
I also have to make sure our guests are comfortable on Instagram Live; some of them haven’t done it before or need a refresher. I make sure I have the books available to go through and show off on camera. I make sure the questions are ready to go. Then it’s time to go live! Gotta make sure my lighting is good — this show is at 7pm Eastern, which means it’s getting dark ever so slowly during that time now that it’s summer, so I need to have consistent light. Finally, a little eyeliner and lip gloss make me feel ready to go!
You can check out the first #BookParty on IGTV, where every episode will be hosted afterwards. The next event is August 4th at 7pm with Debbi Michiko Florence (Keep It Cool, Jenna Sakai), Pearl Low (The Bailey School Kids: Vampires Don't Wear Polka Dots), and Ralph Lazar (Total Mayhem: Monday Into the Cave of Thieves). Hope to see you at the party!