How Social Media is Changing the Publishing Industry

Katie Leimkuehler Social Media Strategist, Author and Speaker, International Studies Abroad

Posted on November 13th 2012

How Social Media is Changing the Publishing Industry


The days of having a book in your head and never seeing in print are long gone. Any writer or author can now bring their book to life with self-publishing and a viral social media campaign. Many people believe the publishing industry is dying, but it’s not, the game is just changing. Social media has now given a voice to so many authors who’d never stand a chance with giant publishers. While writers need a pen in their right hand, they need social media in their other hand—it’s the best free marketing tool out there and it has revolutionized the publishing industry.

Publishers doesn’t always have a winning strategy, they invest in a few books a year they hope will make it big and pay off, but they never know for sure what will become a best seller and what will flop. And now, more than ever they’re facing competition from bloggers, self-published authors and a new type of writer who has built their own audience. PubSlush is the newest crowd funding company that is helping authors raise money for their books. Authors share a summary and excerpt from their book and set a fundraising goal while readers back their favorite submissions in exchange for a reward, such as a first edition of the book. This is just another new advantage for authors that helps levels out the playing field with traditional publishers.

The biggest asset authors are gaining from social media is a platform. They’re gaining marketing momentum before their books are released and creating buzz that they would never have had before. Not only that, with the power of blogs and e-books authors are gaining even more of a chance to produce their own content, market it and profit from it. Author John Green was able to achieve bestseller status for his book “The Fault of the Stars” before it was even published. How did he accomplish this? By marketing his book a year in advance. He promoted it to his million of Twitter followers and promised to sign all pre-order copies.

The advantage factor bloggers and writers have today is creating small tribes of loyal followers. Tim Ferris, is the master of this, he’s achieve best seller success with “The Four Hour Work Week and his following books by actively creating a die-hard group of followers. Instead of 15 minutes of fame he’s created a lifetime of it by establishing a brand that people love where they can actively interact and connect with like-minded people.

The key for authors and writers is to engage with their fans and followers on a personal level. People aren’t looking to be sold on a product; they’re looking to be sold on the product’s creator. Fans love the story. Why are they buying your book? Because they’re buying into you—the author! People love personal connection more than anything and social media has become the newest way to cultivate connections that matter and turn them into loyal relationships.



Katie Leimkuehler

Social Media Strategist, Author and Speaker, International Studies Abroad

Katie Leimkuehler is a Social Media Marketing Strategist, Speaker and Trainer who launches and grows professional brands by creating online relationships through social media engagement. She currently is the Digital Media Manager at International Studies Abroad. She is also the Founder and Editor of Conquer the Edge and author of a new book series Shy Town Girls. Previously she worked as the Manager of Social Media and Communications at the International Interior Design Association and prior to that was a Journalist and Community Manager at the Chicago Tribune. She was also chosen as a social media panelist at Chicago Social Media Week and in KI’s NeoCon Social Media Webinar

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JC Giraldo
Posted on November 13th 2012 at 3:57PM

For this reason companies like Barnes & Noble launched Nook...and Amazon launched Kindle. They knew what was coming and ebook devices were the perfect pipeline for them.


Posted on November 13th 2012 at 4:09PM

Thanks for the comment JC! Glad you enjoyed the post :) I think there are a lot of opportunities for publishers to take advantage of social media, e-books and blogging to further enhance their book and author brands. It will be interesting to see what the future has in store for the industry!

Kent Ong
Posted on November 14th 2012 at 9:34AM

Newsweek just announced stop printing hardcopy. No doubt that eBooks are getting important. But according to Nicholas Carr in his book - The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains, our brains remember more if we read physical books compared to eBooks. That's why until now, I still buy physical books.

Posted on November 14th 2012 at 10:45AM

Thanks for the comment Kent. I hadn't heard that books help us remember more than e-books--that's really interesting! I can definitely believe it. Holding a physical copy of the book makes the experience more real. It will be interesting to see how the classrooms of the future learn and how that will impact students because I'm sure in a few years it will all be done digitially. 

Darren Jorgensen
Posted on November 29th 2012 at 8:01AM

Hi Katie, I liked this article so much that I "Scooped" it for my "Marketing Your Book - Best Ideas to Get Your Book Sold!" mini-site.  Here's the address if you want to check it out:

Anyone who clicks on the article to read it will be re-directed to this site.


Darren M Jorgensen