Social Media for Publishers

This day last week I was in Dublin, talking to publishers (scary!) about how to use social media to help promote their books, and why they should. The lovely Stephanie of Publishing Ireland, who organized the seminar, wrote a blog post about it for the Publishing Ireland site, and she’s kindly let me re-post it here so non-Publishing Ireland members can read it.

Come back Monday for my thoughts on the horrifying disconnect between what ‘social media’ actually is and what some publishers/some self-publishers think it is, and more about disused and dusty treadmills… (It’ll all make sense, trust me!)


Yes, even my Power Point presentations are pink. 

Social Media is Just Like a Treadmill Really!

Blaming social media for not coming through is like blaming an unused treadmill, said Catherine Ryan Howard, author, marketeer and social media guru extraordinaire last Friday as she explained the inevitable question of whether or not social media actually helps sell more books. ‘This is a question I get asked a lot’, she said, ‘and the answer is that it absolutely does!’ ‘Having twitter, not using it right and then blaming it for not boosting your sales is like having a treadmill, not using it and blaming it for not losing any weight!’

Social Media for Publishers kicked off last Friday with a motley crew encompassing every sector from digital projects to marketing and editorial as social media guru Catherine Ryan Howard took us through the do’s and don’ts of how to sell your books through social media.

From the inescapable growth of Facebook and Goodreads to newer kid on the block Pinterest (which is by the way the fastest growing social network ever), Catherine offered a practical and no-holes barred approach to making your books more ‘discovereable’- a word which Catherine herself admits a certain hatred of!

Among the key points to take away from the session were simple and time-effective ways to use social media tools- and the right tools!, setting the right tone for your message, and, most importantly, accepting the fact that social media, in whatever tool it comes under is here to stay!

The seminar was very helpful and informative. Catherine’s lively and engaging presentation was excellent; she helped to dispel a lot of misconceptions about social media and provided very useful examples of how different elements/formats of social media are particularly applicable to publishing and, if utilised appropriately, can have a positive impact to create engagement with the book buyers we want to appeal to.’ —Helena King, Assistant Editor, Royal Irish Academy

‘The seminar was extremely relevant- Catherine was articulate and very engaging!’ — Kitty Lyddon, Manager, Assistant Editor at The Lilliput Press

Missed this one? Never mind, we have more seminars coming up in the series over the next couple of weeks. Keep an eye out for our next sessions on Fiction Editing with Rachel Pierce on 10 and 17 May. For more information, go to the Publishing Ireland website or email


Thanks Stephanie! While we’re on the subject of me telling people things, if you have attended one of my talks or workshops, didn’t find it completely awful/a total snoozefest and would consider writing a little endorsement like the quotes above, please write a few lines and send it to me via the Contact page. It’s for a secret summer project of mine… (Oooh, mysterious!)

On another related note, I will be talking self-publishing at the Guardian’s Getting Your Book Published Masterclass in London on June 15-16. Details here

You can also follow Stephanie on Twitter here, and Publishing Ireland on Twitter here. To get new posts in your inbox look for the subscribe button over here —> and probably up a bit. 

Have a good weekend! 

6 thoughts on “Social Media for Publishers

  1. Lorna Reid says:

    Have you ever considered doing similar tutorials or web seminars on video and putting them on YouTube? I’d love to attend, but am eight months pregnant now, so can’t haul my house sized body anywhere. It would be great for people to be able to get the benefit, even if they can’t physically make the locations. Maybe even a paid subscription or fee to access the videos on some site other than YouTube that allows for payments?

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