Online parties… What are they? How much do they cost? What do I wear? Where do I go?
The goal of this post is to provide a little clarification for readers, new writers, or those who are just new to this aspect of social networking as to what an online event or party is and why you keep getting invites.
Facebook parties, Facebook Events, Twitter Chats, Google + Hangouts, Goodreads Events, etc, are all basically real time gatherings of hosts and attendees to support or discuss a specific topic. It’s like being in an old school chat room.
- They are free.
- They are accessed from your computer, tablet, or phone on the specific app you are using.
- You can join in from anywhere.
- No one cares what you wear because unless you post a selfie during the event, we can’t see you.
To keep it simple, I will go over Twitter and Facebook, since these are the ones I most attend or participate in.
Twitter Chats– These you will most likely find by accident unless you belong to an online group that sends you a reminder that one is coming up. I attend a few regularly on Thursdays that are writing and reading related. I also join discussions based on random subjects I’m interested in, but one thing at a time.
On Thursdays, I usually follow and participate in at least two writing related chats; #PageCurlChat and #10MinuteNovelists
Ah, the hashtag (#) this is what we use on Twitter to find a specific topic instead of just browsing through our newsfeed. At anytime, you can go on Twitter and use a hashtag to find your topic. The two above are chats that happen on Thursday evenings, and anyone is welcome to join who’s interested in the topic for that evening. People will also use a hashtag to discuss a topic that is an ongoing discussion and happening constantly. I often use #amwriting or #amediting to see what people are talking about that share my interests. Another way, is to use the hashtag during an event. While I’m watching my current favorite show, I will use #JanetheVirgin if I want to comment on something funny Rogelio said, or chat about the cliff hanger with other viewers.
You search the hashtag and you follow the tweets. To join in, you tweet using the hashtag as well so others will see your comments. That’s it. Try it. It’s easy.
Facebook Parties and Events- These are the ones that confuse a lot of people. I admit, they confused me too when I was first invited to them. Lots of people use Facebook to invite people to in-person events on location, like a baby shower, a birthday party, or a nightclub or show. The difference is an online party is something that happens online. When you click that Join button, it means you will receive notifications in your newsfeed when people post in the event. So if you would like to see the posts, comments, or updates in your newsfeed during the event time, that is when you Join.
For example, I’ve been attending a lot of author hosted events lately. I’m publishing two books this summer, and I want to be in the middle of where the action is so I can socialize with readers and other authors. The really cool thing about attending an author release party or cover reveal party, is that as a guest, I get to interact with the authors in real time. I also know that there will be games, prizes, and giveaways (like free ebooks) that I can participate in during the event. I have six books in my Kindle right now waiting for me to read that I won at parties recently.
Typically, an author will host a 30 minute or 60 minute slot during the event at which time they will introduce themselves, tell the guests a little bit about their writing, and then host a giveaway. Most authors will offer a chance to win a free copy of their book by liking their Facebook page or signing up for their newsletter. It’s a way for them to find new followers that may enjoy their posts and hopefully turn into future fans and customers. At the end of the event, they randomly select people who participated in the event, ask them to private message them on Facebook with an email address for delivery, and send the winners out their prizes by email. Most of the time, the prizes are free ebooks. Sometimes, authors will offer Amazon gift cards, and others will offer themed gifts (book marks, bracelets, key chains, etc) that can be delivered by mail.
In between the giveaways, the host will usually ask a question of the guests and the guests are encouraged to respond. Sometimes, a comical photo is posted with a “Caption This” tag to which everyone is encouraged to come up with their best one-liners. Other times, it could be a sexy inspirational picture for a book and the host will ask the guests’ opinion and/or for samples of their own inspirational photos. The possibilities are endless and can be really fun.
Again, the goal for the host or author that is working the event, is to interact with potential future readers. To reach people they are not already friends with online. There is never any obligation to buy anything. You can lurk and just watch from the sidelines, but it’s more fun to participate.
I have several Facebook events I’m attending coming up, including two I’m hosting. The first is hosted by a blog as a reader appreciation event. I will be hosting today, Wednesday, 4/29/2015 at 7pm Pacific, but the event is going to be happening all day long. If you’ve never been to one, click Join in the link and check it out. https://www.facebook.com/events/1631483840431089/
The other is a Release Day Event for a fellow author to celebrate the release of her latest novel. I’ll be hosting at 12pm Pacific on Sunday, 5/17/2015. Join me, and you could win an ARC of my upcoming release, Sea Breeze. https://www.facebook.com/events/348681845327523/
In between those, I’ll be attending quite a few other parties and events as well. Since my book, Sea Breeze, is scheduled to release at the end of May, I may even be hosting one of my own. Stay tuned.
I hope that has clarified a few things for those of you that were unsure what these events really were. I admit, I didn’t know either until I started accepting the invites. Now, I’m addicted. I hope to see you at one of the events above. Feel free to comment with questions.
You can find me and all my other social links on my website at www.jennifersenhajiauthor.com
For sneak peeks at upcoming releases and access to my sweet and spicy tips, join my Dream Team. http://eepurl.com/bjAzz1