Social media expert and author Jon Reed has urged independent publishers to join social networking sites, identifying them as a way of "levelling the playing field".
During the opening speech of the Independent Publishers Guild Conference 2011, introduced by IPG chair and Quiller Publishing m.d., Andrew Johnston, Reed said sites such as Twitter can be of particular advantage to independent publishers. He said: "It's a way to punch above your weight and a way of levelling the playing field. Anyone can build a strong following, especially if you can provide information that your niche communities want."
He added: "You need to be open and transparent and build social currency, you need to use them for a while to have some credibility." Reed also said that the need to have a personality online can play to the advantage of an independent publisher, as they are more likely to operate in a niche field or have a tighter, more identifiable corporate identity.
He also said that, while it was important to encourage authors to participate in online social marketing, joining Facebook and LinkedIn, it was crucial to maintain a presence as a publisher, so as not to be cut out of the process.
Reed said: "I think one of the big publishing trends at the moment is self-publishing, it is so much easier than it used to be, it is not the dirty word it used to be.
"You need to think as a publisher what value you can add to the process, what you can do best to support your author so that you are adding value."