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Of Wine and Bullhorns - Social Media for Authors and Publishers

Full credit for the idea behind both the headline and content of this post is owed to (soon to be) Wiley Author Chris Brogan. This week I attended Chris’s Social Media For Publishers webinar presented by O’Reilly Tools of Change (TOC) which was packed full of really good advice for not only publishers, but authors as well.  And, if you have ever seem Chris Brogan speak, you know that his talks are usually sprinkled with great little sound bites and phrases that stick with you for a very long time.

One of the main points Chris made is in my opinion, Rule #1 when you start thinking about entering the social media environment.

Bring wine to the picnic - not a bullhorn.

It seems simple and obvious, but the statement is at the heart of what usually goes wrong for those who only view social media as another channel to send the same old messages.  You need to be a part of the community, connecting, contributing and sharing and not just broadcasting about your product or service.  If you do this, the opportunities to introduce people to your product or service will present themselves naturally. But you have to listen and watch for them as part of the ongoing conversation.

Remember it’s merlot, not megaphones.

I’m obviously paraphrasing only a very small portion of what Chris Brogan covered in his webinar, which you can view in its entirety here.

So, do you have any bullhorn or wine moments to share?

(Photo credit theparadigmshifter)

  • Lisa M

    oops, okay didn't get a chance to listen all the way through (kids in the background) but just caught Brogan's example of the author who used social media vs. pr to promote his book & it wound up on the NYT best selling list.

  • Lisa M

    I can't tell you how many times I see authors come to Facebook or Twitter and ONLY plug their stuff, 24x7, yet they don't really interact. All authors (or anyone involved in publishing) really needs to listen to this clip.
    BTW, I've heard some authors insist that using social media to promote their books doesn't really work. Thoughts? Have you heard otherwise?

  • Hi Robert,

    Chris Brogan and I had that conversation on the way to the airport one day, and it really got me thinking. We have been thinking of ourselves as "book publishers" or "web publishers" or "magazine publishers", but really we are in the information business, the education business, or the storytelling business depending on where you happen to put your products on the shelf.

    But that's not really who we are anymore. I feel a blog post coming on :)

  • Robert

    I was listening to the Chris with headphones and his emphasis on 'bullhorn' certainly cut through and made the point stick. I also liked 'Go where there is no path and blaze your own trail.'

    I was unclear however on what perceiving publishing as an Information Exchange Business meant. My literal interpretation is: I give you a free eBook you give me your email address and 'interests'. Any thoughts? I'm new to publishing.

  • Ed Illig

    When I first encountered Chris on Twitter he reinforced a sort of 20:1 rule I'd come to adopt. For every 1 tweet I post of significance for me, 20 ought to focus on conversing, giving, engaging, entertaining, sharing and the like, i.e., on others.

    I think he recommended 12:1 as I recall. I was a newbie. :)

  • BloggerSavvy

    I truly appreciated the quote "Bring wine to the picnic - not a bullhorn." Without seeming overly enthusiastic, I can't begin to mention the number of times I've seen professionals bring an orchestra and peoples eyes glaze over. Reminds me of the adage about using sugar. Thanks for throwing this up on twitter as it lead to a very informative (and valued) presentation.

    Side note: YouTube last month crossing about 13 billion views in one month - That's broadcasting power!

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