To be honest, I’ve been slowly chipping away at my thesis since the summer, but I’m really starting to lock down and make some progress recently. To complete my M.A. in Publishing, I only have this one 60+ page paper left. It has sounded daunting to me ever since I joined the program, but it’s something that I’m trying to take one book and article at a time. The most difficult part is the topic that I chose. So here goes…
I’m writing about how publishing houses use social media (specifically for YA books) and how they should be using it to get the most out of their time and efforts. When I thought about what I wanted to write about, social media was the most intriguing to me. It really always has been. Looking at what types of posts go viral, what things people latch onto and interact with, it seems that “good” social media practices are hard to define. And the research that I’ve done so far tells me just that. Even books written be supposed “experts” in the field of social media don’t have all of the answers. But so far, it seems the most important thing that I’ve taken from my research is that the general public are the ones who decide what is successful on social media. No company can force a post to go viral. They can put thousands of dollars towards advertising and a hashtag still may not start trending.
So how are publishing companies supposed to know what they should be posting? Part of my research is to survey some people within the book industry and some avid readers and see what they think. Does the general public even care about following publishing companies on Instagram and Twitter? Does it affect their buying habits? Personally, I can say that if a book has a huge Twitter campaign and I keep seeing the cover pop up on my feed, I am definitely more likely to buy it. But what about those who don’t even look at the spine or copyright pages of their books to see who published them? Random House may be a household name, but do readers really know what specific books they have in print right now? What books are on their frontlist? Which of their books are on the New York Times’ Best Seller list this week?
All of these questions I’m trying to answer, plus more. What should publishing companies be posting to get followers’ attention? Is anyone doing that already or does someone need to have a talk with the publishing executives at the Big 5?
So anyway, if you’d like to help me out with the looming task of answering some of these questions, I’ve created a little survey. Please check it out!