It seems everything is online these days: dating, banking, grocery shopping and even clipping coupons. But is it possible to party online?
This month I decided to give it a try. As an author of young adult books, I have friends all over the country — fellow writers I never get to meet in person unless we happen to be at the same conference or trade show. If we all lived in Puget Sound, I’d surely bake some cookies and host a holiday get-together. Since that’s not possible, I decided to throw a Facebook party.
What’s an online party? The ones I’ve heard of usually involve a bunch of people online at the same time who chat about predesignated topics.
Hosting a physical party is a lot of work. I vacuum the house, dust the furniture and try to make it look like my family doesn’t actually live there. It turns out that hosting a virtual party is a lot of work, too. I have taken pictures, created graphics and posted announcements across my social media channels. I have also tracked down some party favors — and this is where it gets extra fun.
I enlisted 15 of my favorite authors to co-host my party and give away prizes. New York Times bestselling authors Pintip Dunn and Kathryn Purdie are attending, as well as Ben Alderson, Joshua David Bellin, Gloria Chao, Tobie Easton, Dana Elmendorf, Emily R. King, Lorie Langdon, Ruth Lehrer, Sarah Glenn Marsh, Shaila Patel, Kim Savage, Stephanie Scott and Liza Wiemer.
Every 10 minutes a new author will start a fresh discussion topic and give away a prize, like a bookmark, poster or book. Exciting, right?
The fun thing about virtual parties is that the guest list can be unlimited. That means that in addition to my author friends, readers are welcome as well. Some people think that YA books are only for teens, but adults are part of the fan base, too.
As Tobie Easton, the author of the YA fantasies “Emerge” and “Submerge” explained, the YA genre “explores the experiences that stay with us forever — first love, first kiss, first important mistakes and important accomplishments.”
The holidays are a time to celebrate community, and the world of YA books is no exception. There is definitely a reciprocal relationship between authors and readers.
Kim Savage, the author of the YA thrillers “After the Woods,” “Beautiful Broken Girls” and the upcoming “In Her Skin” told me, “I’ve had readers post fan art on Instagram that took my breath away. It’s humbling and gratifying when your art inspires art in turn.”
Ruth Lehrer, debut author of “Being Fishkill” said she sees her writing as community service.
“Growing up I was always a reader, and the books I read changed me in a variety of ways,” she said. “I feel like now I can give back.”
Now, through the magic of social media, teens can not only read books by their favorite authors, but also party with them online. The best part for me as the hostess is that cleaning up after this party should be a breeze!
Jennifer Bardsley is author of the books “Genesis Girl” and “Damaged Goods.” Find her online on Instagram @the_ya_gal, on Twitter @jennbardsley or on Facebook as The YA Gal.
Jennifer Bardsley’s YA Gal Christmas Party is from 3 to 5:30 p.m. on Dec. 10 on Facebook. Virtually meet and talk to authors and readers of young-adult books at https://www.facebook.com/events/394951070939328.
The author will be signing copies of her YA books from 2 to 4 p.m. Dec. 16 at The Neverending Bookshop, 10123 Main Place No. 2, Bothell. Stop by the store to say “Hello” — and grab some cookies so that Bardsley doesn’t eat them all herself.