Social Media and the World of Publishing

When I was eight years old I decided I was going to be an author. A dream that is pretty standard and not unusual within the Publishing Industry. However, fast track to college, and, being a person of mostly realistic goals, I opted for Global Marketing as a major. At the end of the day, I could still work in publishing and (let’s dream) one day even write something myself. 

While looking at the industry, and searching for possible internships, I noticed that small publishing presses have been popping up particularly in the United States. Many journalists are even calling this their “golden age,” however, as a college Junior who has had to write more than one paper on ROI (Return On Investment) I wondered: How can they afford to stay in business?  The answer to my query presented itself on yet another very long paper I had to write for school; “Evaluating Social Media Initiatives in the Publishing Industry.”  After a lot of research and opened tabs on my browser, I found that Social Media enables a lot of self-published authors and very small, independent presses to run without a Marketing or Publicity department which saves them enough money to stay afloat and focus on the actual work.Platforms such as Facebook and Twitter allows promotion of work with little to no cost, and Instagram and Tumblr even have communities ready to devour whatever new information publishers can give fans about upcoming books written by their favorite authors.

However, most authors do not know how to take full advantage of these tools, and often end up asking their publishers for help. Other authors, the really smart authors, create a brand for themselves based on their work, and end up being desired by publishers based on their Social Media fame (Fifty Shades of Grey anyone?).

At the end of the day, while we were all looking at eBooks and dreading the change that these devices would sweep us up with, we forgot to look at Social Media. Now that the future with eReaders is less uncertain, everyone can focus more on the marketing side of things, and realize that even if it saves money and it looks like a relatively easy tool to use, it takes time, and it takes effort. Scheduling tweets on Hootsuite, or even Facebook posts, for a whole week in a day, can be mentally exhausting. Instagram is even worse, because there are certain emoji’s or filters you can only access if you use the application on your phone. Now with “Insta Stories” it’s even harder since you have to upload them as they are happening. On top of it all, the fear of “what if they don’t like what I post?”

So yes, Social Media is an amazing tool, and yes, it is changing the Publishing Industry (drastically, in my opinion) and the way we sell our work, and ourselves. Yes, it IS free! Free of monetary cost, but don’t be fooled: it will consume your time, and exhaust you too. To publishers, authors and all my lovely fellow interns: take Social Media with ease, and care. Even though it looks like something easy, simple and fast, each post should be given the same attention to detail as any manuscripts you write, edit or read. It is a great tool that has to be used responsibly, with a lot of care, and lot of patience.

Happy posting!

-A Marketing Intern

Shared Blog Post with Spencer Hill Press and Beaufort Books