This is Wayne MacPhail giving a college course in Online Journalism. He's not limited to in-person students. In fact, not limited to students at all. As you can see, I was watching too:
Click = big
You can see live streaming video at left and a chat room at right.
Now look at this:
He's got someone at a remote location speaking to the class via video. Notice he's wearing a headset (so is the remote speaker).
This is directly applicable to writers.
There are Blog Book Tours.
What about Internet Speaking Tours?
Why should touring be limited to text pimpage on a blog? Why should it be limited to -- as some have done -- podcast interviews? Both of those are rather at a distance.
With the setup above, it can be live and interactive. Readers can type questions. Writers can give a reading from their book.
The camera that's focused on Wayne? It's the built-in camera on his notebook computer!
None of this requires a big investment in hardware or money to do.
I can see book tours being done this way. A writer can do one a week, say, for X weeks, to really let the momentum build. People are bound to miss the first one, so they'll have a chance to catch it again. These engagements can also be archived for later playback too, so no one really misses anything except the live viewing and participation.
What about readers who want autographs?
That's where my postcard idea could come in. Especially for those writers who have only eBooks.
Perhaps Wayne will do a writeup on how others can use UStream and such services.
(By the way, Wayne, I had to bail after thirty minutes, so I don't know if you pulled any other tech wizardry while I wasn't looking.)