James River Writers Conference, final post

Okay, the last series of sessions at JRWC this year focused on the future of publishing and on use of social media. Or not, depends on my mood.

On the future of publishing, the panelists were mixed on how long the traditional commercial publishers would continue to print books for distribution in book stores. While this isn’t likely to go away tomorrow, the trend toward e-publishing (thank you very much, Kindle, iPad, Nook) and publish on demand (not to be confused with print on demand, or self publishing). Publish on demand fulfills orders from bookstores without having to house warehouses of hard copy. You order it, they print and ship. Or, you can download and read immediately.

The importance of social media underscored what I’ve been hearing for several years. Writing the book is just the first step. Building a platform and getting people to know you exist is more important, particularly when traditional commercial publishers are scaling w-a-a-y back on publicity. Authors are required to be involved in marketing their books and in establishing a reputation in social cyberspace. Panelists focused on blogs (and gimmicks to drive people to blogs), Facebook and Twitter. Yes, most people Tweet.

Case in point. One author, whose book was being released soon, posted a Tweet that casually mentioned a person who inspired her book. Person sees name in his Tweet search and retweets. To 2.8 million followers. This author jumped from relative obscurity to having 2.8 million people knowing she exists. No, not all will buy the book, but enough might …

How do you use social media?

So, many things to think about. Many things to make part of my writing life. So many things, so little time.

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