Publishing in the age of social media

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Technological advancements play a major role in every phase of modern life so much so that even the worlds of writing and publishing have not been spared of its impacts. Until the dawn of the social media, the steps involved in publishing and releasing a book were simple. It involved obtaining the rights to print the book, launching it, publishing it, distributing it to retailers and, last but not the least, earning profits.

However, all that has changed now, thanks to the almost every day technological advancement we are witnessing today. Printed copies are now e-copies; Hardbacks and paperbacks are now e-books. The advent of electronic publishing has changed the face of traditional publishing. The rise of the Digital Publishing Industry has paved the way for books to be published in a more far-reaching and easy manner. Publishing houses have upgraded their processes to accommodate multiple platforms that encompass both traditional printing and advanced electronic publishing, the latter involving the conversion of PDF to EPUB.

To take advantage of these advancements, publishers need to stay abreast of these developments as they happen and take into account the significant role of the social media in this field. Understanding how social media can affect publishers or their book’s reputation and reach to readers is very crucial. Players like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram have all revolutionized the operations of many publishing houses. The points listed below enlighten us as to how and why these social media players wield their influence on the publishing industry.

1. Secondary gratis market channels

Simply put, it is free Marketing! The more the people see a product, the greater is its reach. The social media can promote almost anything in the form of updates, promos and even posts from people. It is practically free and therefore definitely more affordable when compared with snippets, printouts, flyers, posters or TV/radio ads. Social media can be the best marketing platform as long as the seller/promoter ensures uniqueness of concept and presents alluring visuals in the promotions.

2. Bridges the gap between writers and their fans

Discussing or even sharing a minute experience from the book with the author would be a dream come true for a loyal reader. Social media brings such dreams to life. Rather than waiting for a media or press meet or another similar occasion, I can now post my question directly to the author on his page.

3. Mediator between reader and publisher

Using their social media accounts readers can enquire directly with the publisher about when the next volume or part of a much-awaited book will be released. They can share their views about the book or the author. Feedback and questions from readers can help the publishers draw up strategies to sell their books to their target audiences in a more effective manner thereby ensuring their profits. By analyzing and paying attentions to readers’ needs, publishers can streamline their publications to keep pace with current trends and cater to readers’ expectations, which in turn will help them avoid disappointing sales and losses.

4. Avoiding the pain of hiring marketing people

For most self-published authors hiring a separate team to promote and market their book has always been a turnoff. Profits earned always ended up being spent on promotional activities. However, the social media has helped overcome this pain by making affordable marketing options available to those who are willing to use them. Simply create a post on your ‘wall’, tweet about it, add a video or pictures and you are ready to go. An unusual and creative e-promotion is likely to have people who view it promote it by spreading word about it online.

5. The variety and choices on offer

The biggest impact of the social media is the choices available to readers gets when they go online. The range of electronically published material available for reader to select from is so wide and varied in that even press reports, newspapers, periodicals and magazines are using social media to promote their content. The popular advice from experts to such service providers is for them to get their content online to acquire the most reach.

We would love to hear your perspective on how the modern generation social media is affecting the trends in the publishing industry.