Monday, September 17, 2012

Yes, I'm invited...

According to Facebook, Goodreads and Evite, I am more popular than I have ever been! I get invited to book events, readings and birthday parties practically every day.  Almost weekly, I am sent the opportunity to bring a meal or snack to one of my kids' football or soccer programs.  I am updated about show openings and new ballet works.  EVERYBODY seems to want ME to attend their stuff.  Wowza!

Do I ever RSVP?  Not never but, honestly, rarely.  If I don't know you in human-flesh-we've-shared-a-meal-within-the-past-year form OR your kid isn't one of my kids' besties, you're getting ignored.  Sorry.

The virtual invitation scene has become more glutted than the blogosphere.  I don't have time to keep up.  I am sorry.  And, having tried the old FB invite and evite to promote some of my own projects over the years, I'm pretty sure I am not unique.  It's true that the virtual invitation is quick and easy so why not give it a whirl?  However, in conversation with friends and writing colleagues, there's a sense that there's too much of this stuff floating out there to make it effective.

Think about it: If Facebook can't figure out how to monetize, no publisher should be mad at you for not being able to generate book sales or event turnout with your 1,000 FB friend list -- even if you're, say, a Goodreads librarian.

HOWEVER, I will not leave you here in despair.  Nay, nay.  Herewith a sparkly rainbow at the end of the dark, time-sucking social media tunnel from which not even Dr. Who could save us...

Two words:  GET PERSONAL

Like actual blood-and-guts friendships, strong virtual relationships are built on continued personal communication.  Investment of time (help somebody with a book launch, critique a proposal for them, send the occasional encouraging personal email (yes, just a one-to-one email with no distribution list) yields the true result. 

Lately, I've been backing away from the interwebs because I'm busy.  My kids need me.  And I'm trying to finish writing a book.  However, there are a handful of people with whom I remain in ongoing virtual touch.  Some are writer folks with whom I've formed an ongoing friendship and support group.  Some are non-writer people with whom I just like to stay connected to talk about, say, paint colors for the kitchen or basketball camps for gradeschoolers or new televisions shows or the reading of adult fiction (vs YA).

I'm not offline entirely.  I still enjoy blogging and keeping up on FB and Twitter.  But when the time comes to promote my next literary project, I am seriously considering HANDWRITTEN, SNAIL-MAILED launch event invitations to people for whom I know attendance is feasible--who actually live near the event.  People who are not just "FB" or "Twitter" friends but individuals with whom I have actually connected in some way deeper than clicking an "Accept" or "Like" box.  They're the ones who actually turn up anyway.

PS: If you've been following my ongoing apologia for lackluster blogging, this is the post I originally intended to title "Optimizing your social media time investment."


Rebecca Gomez said...

I love this!

I've seen several posts/comments/statuses on this kind of topic recently. Maybe this means people will start to realize that being personal is still a good thing.

HelenL said...

I'm totally with you on this, Stasia!

Stasia said...

Thanks, Rebecca and Helen! So, now that we agree, the question is, how exactly should authors be using virtual media?

Sylvie said...

Oh, the sting of the GR librarian comment! :-)

But I agree, I generally delete FB invites right away, even if I'm attending (I RSVP directly via email if possible, or add to my own calendar). FB doesn't need to know where I'm going.

Lisa Schroeder said...

Hi Stasia! And yes, I agree. I'm not even accepting most friend invites I get on facebook anymore, because as soon as I do, they're sending me requests to like their author page or inviting me to something. I'm kind of amazed people actually think this works??? I have more than enough to read, thank you very much strangers who want me to buy their books.

I heard an editor (I can't remember who, sorry) say that it's good for an author to participate in social media simply because it's a way to remind people that we exist. We don't have to promote all the time. Not even most of the time. I try to keep my book/promo tweets and status updates to 10% or so. For every ten, maybe there can be a little something about a book coming up or a nice review or whatever. Otherwise, I think it's good to be entertaining or educational, two things most people appreciate. :)

Hope to see you again soon one of these days in the great Pacific NW!!

erica lorraine scheidt said...

yep. absolutely.