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Does a Large Online Following Guarantee an Author Readers?

It’s a truism in publishing that the larger an author’s “community” of readers, the better chance of success they have as an author. But it’s no guarantee.

By Edward Nawotka

It’s a truism in publishing that the larger an author’s “community” of readers — whether developed from a media presence or social networking — the better chance of success they have as an author. As HarperDesign editor Julie Abramoff notes in today’s feature story on the twitter-to-blogs-to-books phenomenon:

It helps that books from pre-existing blogs have a built-in fan base that can help spread the word about a book’s release, but in regards to promoting the book, we want to give it the opportunity to have a wider appeal and expand to a larger audience…We quickly got hip to the fact that all blogs don’t made good books, and in fact, most don’t.

The fact is that someone who follows you on Twitter or reads your blog might not be receptive to make the leap into books. Not only is the format different, there’s the fact that they will now have to pay for the material — much of which may have already appeared in one form or another.

The truism, it appears, isn’t a fail-safe and having a popular twitter stream, blog or vlog is not necessarily a precursor to success. Of course, with the few guarantees there are in publishing, it’s one of the few things publishers can do to take a tiny amount of risk out of publishing a book.

Let us know what you think in the comments.

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  1. Posted May 13, 2011 at 11:18 am | Permalink

    I wouldn’t buy a book just because I’d read the author’s blog, but I have bought a couple of books because I’ve been following or interacting with their authors on Twitter, and liked the sound of them. But it’s a small percentage – there are usually at least half a dozen books mentioned in some way on my timeline every day, and I think that in six months I’ve bought about 3 of them. But I think it is part of raising awareness of a name, and getting you to look at the book twice – after that I make my decision on the basis of what the book itself seems to be about, and what kind of recommendations it’s got.

  2. Posted May 13, 2011 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

    I fully agree with Nina. It’s a truism and like all truism it contains a lot of truth but not the whole of it. To read someone’s book requires a lot more than a tweet!

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