MyVLF.com was launched on Wednesday and already the free site, which aims to connect readers and authors, has attracted members from across the world.
The site has been designed to look like a real venue, with a theatre, café and even an exhibition hall where readers can view author and publisher stands.
Internationally best-selling crime writer Peter James, who is a resident of Jersey, has already been confirmed for the inaugural festival.
And it is a completely local product. The MyVLF directors have engaged a team of young Jersey-based developers and designers to make their concept a reality.
‘We are a step away from full virtual reality because people aren’t ready for that yet,’ said director Deborah Carr.
‘But we wanted MyVLF to look as much like a real venue as possible. When virtual reality becomes more mainstream, we are ready to make that next development and people will be able to literally step inside the MyVLF venue.’
Snap.je, with lead developer Jack Mackenzie, worked with Tim McGuinnes of Virtex Studios to produce the concept, created by local authors Gwyn GB, Ms Carr and Kelly Clayton.
‘In the last 12 months we have created a really special product,’ said Snap chief executive Tom Le Sueur.
‘MyVLF.com is one of our proudest creations to date. When the founders of MyVLF approached us with this idea we loved the concept and it quickly evolved into a truly unique project which required very specialist skills. This momentous web app demonstrates sophisticated branding, stunning web design and intelligent coding from our team. Combining this with the 3D modelling skills from our partner company, Virtex Studios, and the industry knowledge from the MyVLF founders, has resulted in a one-of-a-kind immersive environment – all just one click away for users.’
The site is not affiliated with any particular retailer or publisher.
‘We wanted to create a friendly place for readers to come and interact with authors,’ said Ms Clayton. ‘It can be expensive to travel to festivals and it takes time away from busy author schedules to attend.
‘Our criteria is just for high-quality books by authors that people want to read – it doesn’t matter where you are sold, or who publishes your books.’
A free monthly book group read allows MyVLF members to download a book, discuss it together in the chat room and attend a talk by the author, where they can ask questions.
Gwyn GB said: ‘It is all about connecting readers and authors, giving book lovers the chance to find new writers as well as watch talks by old favourites. The feedback has been absolutely fantastic and it’s great to think our team in Jersey have produced a global online event space which can reach millions and is already being accessed in places like Hong Kong and the USA.’