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It is not surprising to find out how important social media is for publishers.  Thousands of books are published every year and you have to get noticed some how.  Facebook, Twitter, Blogs, Websites, and even Pinterest are harnessed to gain readers interest and keep it.  These sites are used to not only publicize a book, but also to keep conversations going between author and reader.  Authors answer questions while publishers hold giveaways and contests.  Soon the business side is buried under promotional items and know what an authors favorite ice cream flavor is.  You begin to forget it’s a product they’re selling.

This can be negatively viewed as trickery to get readers sucked into the experience of buying book after book.  You feel closer to the author with these kinds of conversations and twitter take overs.  But this is also a smart move and can be positive.  Social media lets readers under the curtain of the industry.  Readers learn about Advanced Reader’s Copies and how to write book reviews through twitter and blogs. Publishing is expanding to be more personnal.  I would argue that as others exclaim the death of literature and brick and mortar book stores, I see social media giving the industry hope.  You are no longer just an observer.

The industry is no longer a closed circuit ending with the reader.  Readers can influence and be involved in the process by getting the word out about different books such as book review blogs.  These blogs have gained wide readership by posting their own honest reviews, giveaways, and author blog tours.  These review blogs create little communities where readers with like interests can meet even if they don’t live anywhere near each other.  There is a whole blogging culture now influencing publishers.  One example is the novel Shadow and Bone which has a page thanking the bloggers that helped spread the word for her book.

So, what are you waiting for?  You can become a participant who can change the publishing industry with your own voice.  Will you choose to try and use this influence?

–Megan Kaufenberg

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