Writer Wednesday—Virtual Book Events and Likes

Do you get those invites? To virtual book events, on Facebook? I’m not a fan, maybe because I have too much else going to spend more time on Facebook “attending” an event. Just don’t like them. If you do, that’s okay, I won’t hold it against you—but I doubt I’ll accept, either. Nothing personal.

Another event I’ve seen cropping up a lot lately, and ‘tis the season, and all that, is multiple invites for the very same event. Now, I usually don’t post an “event” unless I’m the only author attending, or unless I’m attending as a publisher.

First, Facebook lists the poster as the “host.” If I’m going to an event, the venue is usually the host. Like a library or bookstore. Festivals, on the other hand, have multiple items and vendors, like farmers’ markets and toy festivals or horror conventions, etc.

Typically, the venue posts the event, and I’ll share it; sometimes they’ll send me a .pdf flyer and I’ll post that as a photo. All the information is there, without the hassle of creating an event.

The problem comes when EVERYONE involved creates an event and invites EVERYONE to said event. Of course I’m going to that event, my name is listed there! Why should I respond, or how should I respond, to the invite? There’s no “um, yes, I’ll be there, I’m on the program” option.

Second, when I do create an event, I invite people who actually live in the area and/or who may be in town at that time. It’s a little irksome to see, when inviting willy-nilly from a friends’ list, people who live 1000 miles away and who click “going.” I mean, really?? Often, they add “will be there in spirit!” or something like that. Or maybe they click “going” because they’d like to go, or like the event itself. Hard to say.

Imagine that you and a friend are hosting a party. A real-life one. Would you send each other invitations? No. Would you like getting RSVPs from people who obviously aren’t going to be able to come because, say, they live in another country? No again.

So what’s the difference? Nothing that I can see.

This kind of goes along with the “like for like” events and invitation to “like” Facebook pages. I don’t like that either.


Because those aren’t “real” likes. If someone likes your page because you like his, is it much different than trading book reviews? Nothing unethical about it, really, but it can quickly become tiresome. And when those people who are liking you only for a kickback get tired of seeing your feed or decide to cull their list a bit, off you go, because they have no idea who you are or what you wrote. And they aren’t interested. They’re only interested in numbers.

Let’s say you have a thousand likes on your author page. Great! Has it helped sales? How many of those 1000 people have bought your book? It’s hard to tell, right? But let’s play numbers. Have you sold to 10% of them? That’s 100 books. Maybe some you sold to directly, maybe they bought online somewhere. That’s pretty good. Then again, maybe at an event, you sell two books. Maybe the attendance is 200 at a multi-author event, which comes to 1%. Maybe it’s an individual signing and you sell four books out of the 25 that you brought along. That’s about 20%.

As a side note: often, people will TELL you that they bought the book. But they didn’t. Really.

Sales is just a number—it’s the percentage that counts. But those doing like-for-like want to gain likes and sell their own books. They aren’t interested in selling yours, unless they read it and loved it. In that case, they might actually read your posts and share them. And that is exposure. The liking itself is nothing.

Now, anyone at all can like my pages or follow me on Twitter. Any exposure is good, right? But I have particular rules for following back on Twitter, and on Facebook, I’ll like a page only if it’s interesting to me. Or, well, okay, a close friend or colleague.

Look at your shares—how are those doing? Because that’s where the exposure comes from. Be honest. Like what you like, because you like it. It’s the same thing as going to a conference, planning to sell books, and doing “trades,” where you buy someone’s book because he bought yours. A neverending circle.

I get invites every day to like pages, but I seldom do, simply because I can’t keep up with I’ve got now—particularly those pages whose owners still think that social media is real time and they can check in a post and comment once a week, if that. You know the ones, who comment on a week-old post that everyone else has long forgotten about. And, too, the ones that I’m simply not interested in; why would I care about a “local business” in Timbuktu? My liking them, virtually, will do little to nothing for that business.

So be selective with invites, events, and likes. You’ll cut down clutter on your newsfeed and shave off some time in your social media promotions. Remember, all the marketing you do, particularly online, should be aimed at the ONE reader. Narrow it down and do everything you can to pull in that ONE reader. Like the pages they like, post about the things they like and are interested in—this is what will increase your sales and the effectiveness of your online promotion.


One comment on “Writer Wednesday—Virtual Book Events and Likes

  1. I absolutely agree, Robin. My ex-publisher used to encourage all the shared liking and re-tweeting and re-posting with the occasional online event, but 99.9% of the time it was just us, the authors, in this never-ending circle marketing to each other. It did NOTHING for exposure or book sales and took a huge amount of time. I don’t mind giving a “like” to a page even though I doubt it does anything at all for that person, but I only retweet/repost what I find interesting or helpful and think others might find interesting or helpful.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s