12 Reasons Why Every Traditional Publisher Should Be Blogging

I attended the O’Reilly Tools of Change Publishing Conference in New York City on February 9–11, 2009. The conference itself was fantastic. The focus—as it is every year—was on how publishing is changing and what you must do to survive and thrive in the coming digital world. There was a great deal of discussion on new technologies and what people are learning. It was extremely stimulating and helpful. In addition, I made several valuable contacts.

On Wednesday I spoke on the topic of “Blogging as a Tool for Change.” The O’Reilly production team video-taped the complete presentation. It is embedded above. (If you are viewing this blog post via email, you may have to actually visit my blog to watch the video.) Among other things, I discussed 12 reasons why every traditional publisher needs to be blogging. I firmly believe this. It is one of the tangible tools you can employ to experience first-hand where publishing is going.I also one of two traditional publishers who participated in the “CEO Panel.” (The other one was Tim O’Reilly himself.) Surprisingly, I did not see any other CEOs from traditional publishers in attendance. Perhaps I just missed them. Perhaps they sent people to attend. Frankly, I think they need to attend themselves. This is not something you can afford to delegate.

If you are a traditional publisher, you need to be there next year. The world is changing fast. This is the only conference I know of that is totally dedicated to exploring the future of publishing. In the meantime, you can watch many of the presentations from this year’s conference online—for free. (Check back periodically, because not all the videos have yet been posted.)

Question: If you are an author, agent, or publisher who is blogging, what value have you seen from it?
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  • http://www.michaeldmiller.wordpress.com michael miller

    Mike sorry I did not get to attend as a fellow CEO of a traditional Publishing company however I am all about using these tools including Twitter, Facebook and my blog posts. Keep up challenging our industry leaders!

  • http://wordvessel.blogspot.com Cathy Bryant

    Blogging has helped my writing in so many ways, I'm not sure I have room to list them all.
    ~Helped my writing skills (grammar, tight writing)
    ~I do book reviews, so it has forced me to become a voracious reader, a MUST for any writer.
    ~I also do author interviews, which gives me the chance to "pick the brains" of many different successful authors.
    ~It has given me a place to find my own "tribe," which has become a second family in a way. I love connecting with people who read my blog.
    ~It has given me a place to find my writing voice.

    That's just a few of the ways blogging has helped me!

  • http://booksandboys.blogspot.com Max Elliot Anderson

    As an author of action-adventures and mysteries for tween boys, I don’t use my blog simply to say, “Come buy my books.” While I do make that available occasionally, my goal is to provide information that is of interest to boys and/or their parents, teachers, and grandparents.

    My traffic continues to build so that each time a new book does come out, there will be a ready audience of potential buyers at that time. Until that happens, I use my blog to talk about other books for boys and subjects that might be helpful to my blog readers. It’s another way for me to keep connected. http://booksandboys.blogspot.com

    Max Elliot Anderson

  • http://www.trishperry.com Trish Perry

    Thanks, Mike, for embedding your presentation, which was just as helpful to me, as a novelist, as I'm sure it was to the publishing execs at the conference. I thought I'd be able to listen and get some nonwriting chores done simultaneously, but I kept stopping to take notes. You've sold me on making my online presence bigger and more interactive. Thanks so much for detailing exactly how to do that.

  • http://lynnrush.wordpress.com/ Lynn Rush

    Wow. Great presentation! I'm glad you posted that. I'm a writer, not yet pubbed, but I find blogs/twitter/facebook to be very important! I get to know authors, agents, publishers, and other writers through it. And you're right when you say about building trust for your brand.

    Seriously. It does. I learn a lot about someone who blogs. And that's important to learning about them and the industry.

    Thanks for the post!

  • Rachel Hauck

    I loved this, Mike. I've had some of the same experiences as you mentioned. Just the other night I twittered about "what could go wrong on a road trip with three women" and I had dozens of replies on Twitter and Facebook, and fun conversation going!

    I blogged about this talk because I feel it's so true and valuable for writers. In this voyeuristic society, people want to know "people." See what they do, how they live and think.

    I've gained readers by Twittering and blogging.

    Thanks for another great post!


  • http://intensedebate.com/people/human3rror human3rror

    best ever. i'm reblogging.

  • http://vnesdoly.blogspot.com violet

    Loved this presentation. As a plain-jane writer who has been blogging since 2004, it made me all excited to keep going. (I don't even feel so bad about my eclectic blog after listening). And… almost thou persuadist me to twitter…

  • http://www.queenofthecastlerecipes.com Lynn

    As an author whose book has been out for more than two years, I'm finding blogging is a great way to continue to reach potential readers. My book's target audience is women who value home and family; by blogging about recipes, I hope to have a good chance of finding them.

  • http://terripatrick.wordpress.com/ terri patrick

    Thanks for sharing! I've got a list of notes too.

    I began blogging in January. My format is like an email to a friend where I am sharing stuff of interest to me. I was "found" by new friends, was requested to submit a post to their blog, then asked to write an article for their book due out next year. I even got paid – my first check for my new 'writing business". :)

  • Teri D. Smith

    First of all, I listened to your entire presentation on blogging and am more impressed with it than ever.

    Next I wanted to share that I just had a call from my 25 year old twins from inside the American Airlines Center in Dallas at a Mercy Me concert with over 22,000 other Christians–standing room only. (They wanted me to hear I Can Only Imagine, and it touched this mom's heart that they thought about me.) But my point is: where were these 22,000 Christians during the Book Expo?

    They Christians are there, but somehow we failed to reach them. I'm still sad about it.

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  • http://www.godhungry.org Jim Martin

    A great presentation Mike. I have been blogging for a number of years but have just switched over to Mac. Thanks so much for giving the two off-line posting platforms for Mac's. I have been looking for a good one. Thanks.

  • Glen Bonham

    Hey Mike

    I received a link to your 12 reasons video from someone in a writers group up here in Canada. I signed up on Twitter as soon as the presentation was finished. Blogging is next. You're a pretty persuasive guy. (grin)


    Glen Bonham

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/michaelhyatt Michael Hyatt

    Thanks, Glen. I think you'll enjoy it. Just be patient and let it build!

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/michaelhyatt Michael Hyatt

    Jim, you're welcome. MarsEdit and ecto are both great. I'm currently using the latter.

  • Shane Wang

    Can I have the note of your speech?

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  • Bill H

    I recently went to a major bookstore to purchase a Douglas Adams' "Life, The Universe and Everything" for my Grandson. This 200 page paperback is priced as $14.00 per copy. I quickly left and purchased the book through Amazon for a reasonable price. Quite frankly the problem is not the bookseller – It is Ballantine Books. The cost of producing this book is about the same as a newspaper or less. Using your own illustrations, this leaves Ballentine grossing around $6.00 per copy. Now, either the Author has a heck of a sweetheart deal ( which I doubt) or Ballentine figures it is entitled huge margins.____The point is, This book is grossly overpriced and I applaued the major retailers for putting pressure on the publishers