When I first released my debut, The War Between, I had a discussion with some of the writers on the group I’d just joined on Facebook. One of them suggested a Facebook party as a means of marketing, and gushed that she, and the other writers who’d hosted, had a great turnout. It didn’t occur to me then to ask whether this great turnout resulted in any tangible interest for the work of the writers involved.
What is a Facebook party, you ask? Well it’s quite simple – you put an event together on Facebook, badger your entire realm of friends, family and acquaintances on your profile, and voila, you’ve done the groundwork for the event. Most people, however, seem to lack understanding of what it means to have a virtual party. A party on Facebook means posting, sharing, liking and commenting on the wall of the event, so there is no physical venue, and people from all around the world and varying time zones can take part, whatever time of the day their schedule may allow them to do so.
I recently participated in two. One was for Carlyle Labuschagne’s pre-release bash for her new novel, ‘Infallible’, which I thought would be great exposure for a newbie like me, seeing as she has a wide fan base, scattered all around the globe. I had a half-hour time slot, a take over, so to speak, during which time I could post about me, my novel, my writing life…whatever took my fancy. It was like speaking into a void. Yes, some people responded to my posts, so I didn’t feel too much like I was talking (or, ahem, posting) to myself, but overall, few of these people knew who I was, and although I posted tons of info on The War Between, and where to find it, I found that the end result was very difficult to gauge. Did it lead to any sales? Not that I could see. Did it generate any interest for The War Between? No idea.
My second experience, taking over for a whole day during Angela Meadon’s online launch of ‘Strong Medicine’, was a nerve-wracking experience, having to entertain for a whole day, and feeling like I failed spectacularly.
It was generous of both these authors to give slots away to others, a mutually beneficial arrangement, and a great opportunity to present my work to a new audience, with the possibility of converting a few into fans. But I found that there was no tangible way to measure the results of my success in being a guest author, and I suppose that, more than anything, made me question whether this was truly a viable way of marketing and getting my name out there.
I’d love to hear from you, and what your experience, as a reader, guest author, or host has been on a Facebook party, or something similar?
Tips, tricks, comments and sharing welcome!