Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Will Social Networking Change Our (Publishing) Lives?

After a hiatus from the publishing world, I came back to it, my first love, a few years ago. I returned to find a changed landscape — no more lugging cover flats around! Now covers and author photos are e-mailed to reviewers and writers. No more phone call follow-ups! No more nights spent hand-labeling Jiffy envelopes for review mailings!

But the biggest change of all was the explosion of social networking sites and opportunities. This new landscape seems to have everything — wide-open spaces for promoting a book, an author, an event. It also can be laden with pitfalls; I’m old enough to be suspicious of any online medium offering something for nothing. I’ve dipped a toe into Facebook (and found my college roommate), I’m Twittering for Storey (
@storeypub) but with no clear idea of how it will work for us, and I’ve been offered memberships in LinkedIn, MySpace, and a host of other sites that want to be my virtual friend.

What I’m encouraged by on Facebook is the community I’ve settled into, of smart people who read and encourage others to get their ideas from books. It almost feels oxymoronic to spend time in a virtual bookstore talking about what books people are reading. I’ve gotten great tips on good reads, on events where authors can find a voice, and about forums for speaking out for social change. Storey seems ripe for promotion in these venues; I have a fantasy that Ashton Kutcher reads a Storeypub tweet and digs a vegetable garden or that Oprah finds
The Backyard Homestead on Facebook and declares herself a farmer. But I’d settle for seeing my next-door neighbor walk into a bookstore and say the words, “I saw this book on a Facebook event update and really want to read it.”

Amy Greeman, Publicity Director

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