It would really be nice if I could trace all of my author and book activities to book sales. Sometimes, it's very clear that you did a marketing event and had a certain number of sales. But then there are other times that you'll do events and promotions, and it's hard to tell if they had any impact at all. I'd like to suggest that sometimes book marketing can have different types of returns on your investments. I would challenge you as an author to think of your investments of time and money in a broader sense. And here are some examples...
1. I have attended book events where I didn't sell many books, but I made contacts that led to other collaborations, interviews, or paid speaking engagements.
2. Networking is key for writers, and there is value in participating in events where you get to talk to readers and other writers. And if feels good to know that you're not alone in your writing journey.
3. I give everyone I talk to a bookmark or whatever promotional give-away I have (e.g. pens, pencils, etc.). I have seen my ebook sales spike after events. I may not have sold a book when I talked to them face to face, but they bought one later in a format they prefer.
4. I attend library events and speak to school groups to support libraries, teachers, readers, and future writers. I know that at a lot of these events I won't sell books. But sometimes, I'm surprised. I spoke to a high school group once about mysteries, and many of the students brought their copies of the book for me to sign.
5. The time I spend on social media doesn't transfer to book sales. But I do meet people, share ideas, and build relationships. Your activity on your social media sites also helps with where you appear in search engine results. The more active you and your sites are; the more you appear at the top of searches.
Your time and money are valuable. And it's important to balance your writing life with the other things you have going on. But I challenge you to look for other benefits as you plan your event calendar and your marketing promotions. If you plan everything in terms of how many books you'll sell, you may miss out on some other benefits.