Most publishers consider social media an essential part of their marketing toolkits, but author and squidoo.com founder Seth Godin joined Digital Book World 2015 in New York City this morning to turn that idea on its head.
“Not all of your authors want to be good at social media. Not all of them have something to say when they’re not writing their book,” he told publishers.
In Godin’s view, the emphasis on building author platforms has gone too far. If so many authors now approach social media as a part of their jobs in the digital era, it’s at least partly thanks to their publishers, who have assiduously told them it is. But the problem is that it often looks that way to readers.
For one thing, that can make it hard to build a following, Godin says, and for another, doing so isn’t just about driving engagement on social channels, anyway.
Establishing and maintaining a loyal audience is by its nature a long-term investment, and what loyalty looks like online can sometimes differ considerably from what it looks like offline, “where the real work” gets done.
Godin points to Bob Dylan, who isn’t particularly active on social media but still has a vibrant and profitable career. “The long-tail rewards people for whom there’s passion from a few,” he says.
“The Monkees had a TV show, but Dylan’s still around.”