Why Book Blogs Matter

I recently interviewed with a blogger I like, and met on Twitter, on how I see book bloggers changing the business of publishing, and why social networking, or utilizing social media for actual networking purposeshas become a new way of “storytelling” for authors. You can read the rest of the interview here.

Q. How do you see the role of social media play­ing in book mar­ket­ing today and in the future?
I believe that suc­cess­ful books are made on the basis of word-of-mouth: whether your book club, a friend or fam­ily mem­ber, a movie some­one loved that was adapted from a book.

Word-of-mouth has never been quan­tifi­able. Nei­ther has social media.

Nor has pub­lish­ing ever really been all that inter­ested in quan­tifi­able value—that’s not where our pride is.

But con­sider pub­lish­ing (and music, and film): an indus­try that his­tor­i­cally has made money on a sys­tem of beliefs, and not data. First writ­ers, then agents, then edi­tors, then readers…all they needed was to believe in a book. And so sto­ry­telling begets storytelling. Social media is our new means of telling a believ­able story, align­ing media and read­ers to believe. (And yes, media very much lives on Twit­ter. And as for read­ers: you can find them all over on Facebook.)

What else is action­able about social media? Social net­work­ing. For the busi­ness world, it’s rule #1 in form­ing crit­i­cal con­nec­tions. In a social con­text, an author can now fear­lessly net­work with reader, jour­nal­ist, edi­tor, pro­ducer, celebrity. And even become celebri­ties. What’s amaz­ing and dif­fer­ent about social net­work­ing vs. reg­u­lar net­work­ing, is that the play­ing field is that much wider. Your audi­ence is expo­nen­tially greater than an inti­mate cock­tail party or indus­try event. Your pub­lic­ity, well, infinite.

Net­work­ing is mas­sively impor­tant for authors when they are required to think like businesspeople—as mar­keters. And authors are def­i­nitely required to in this age of publishing.

  • Guest

    So a potential author who wishes to be reclusive and avoid meeting new people (whether online or off) and hope to “sell” only the value of his/her work is out of luck in this day and age? Gee, no wonder the site is called Twitter. All of this high school idiocy makes so-called “readers” seem like twits. Case in point: “Snookie” has “written” a book. Jury’s out on whether she’s ever read one.

    Why is it absolutely necessary that an author pretend to be friends with a random person in order to make a sale? For me it would always be inwardly fake (and possibly cause a stress ulcer) because I, like Greta Garbo, just “vant to be alone.” I love writing — and reading — because they’re solitary pursuits. I HATE social media or anything social because I don’t wish to be bothered with the minute trivia of people’s lives.

    Essentially, I don’t care what they care about because it doesn’t have any impact on me. All I really care about is ROI, not trivial banality. Their kid spitting up, what their cat ate for breakfast (their kid, perhaps, or maybe that was their pet dingo), what their favorite television program/radio hit/flavour of coffee/brand of underwear — none of this is essential to my daily functioning or even how I grow (or sell) as a writer. I’ve always been a loner and would like to keep it that way.

    So how can I avoid or “outsource” the fluff of S&M (as I call it, because it is rather painful for an antisocial recluse) and still manage to convert potential followers into buyers without making the effort to care about breakfast and underwear?

Paul Jarvis


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