P.Anima writes about how Indian publishers are starting to rely on Facebook and Twitter to promote books.
Via The Hindu
Book promotions in the past were just one plush evening when the author met readers and read extracts over wine. Today, promotions start much before the launch. Publishing firms rely aggressively on social media — Facebook and Twitter — to promote new releases. On social media, a new book is heralded with meticulously stirred up curiosity. Harper’s new release, Annie Zaidi’s Gulab, appears to have a spooky being for protagonist. And so, the publishers on their FB page had pictures of the book placed in empty office cubicles and readers were warned of Gulab’s imminent arrival. Publishers promote everything about a book online including the jacket. The cover is often a “to-be- looked-forward-to” event with many countdowns and contests leading to its first glimpse. Readers, on occasions, get to pick the jacket they like for a book too.
Whether all this hoopla on social media counts where it matters finally — book sales, is nebulous. For publishers, upping sales is the final step. Social media, for now, is the tool to reach out to new readers and building relationships that will eventually lead to buying books.
Priya Kapoor, editorial director of Roli Books, agrees pre-orders are possibly the strongest link between social media activity and sales. “The posts on our FB page usually have the pre-publication link.” Pre-orders, she says, are bigger for bigger books, like it was for Kuldip Nayar’s autobiographyBeyond the Lines.
But it is not just about sales, says Priya. “It is not only about building a buzz, but creating a community.
V.K. Karthika, publisher and chief editor at HarperCollins India, says social media allows access to unchartered territories. “With social media, we are more in control of what we want to promote. With FB and Twitter we reach beyond the metros,” says Karthika. What appeals to her is the timeliness social media allows. If a Mary Kom movie is in the offing, one could let readers know her autobiography exists. Recently when controversies involving the Shiv Sena surfaced, the publisher brought the focus on Sujata Anandan’s Samrat a book on how Shiv Sena changed Mumbai. “With those books we were exactly right with the timing. With social media, new and old books get opportunities at promotion. We never had that earlier,” says Karthika.