Turn Off Oprah & Get Yourself on the Internets

By Neal Comment

Earlier this week, we encouraged book publishers to get over losing Oprah Winfrey‘s book club, if that’s even what ends up happening when Oprah goes off the air in two years. (As several people pointed out to us, it’s entirely possible Winfrey’s cable network will have some programming elements focusing on books.) That message is echoed by Rusty Shelton of the independent public relations firm Phenix & Phenix, who writes that “Oprah’s departure opens the door to talk about a monumental shift in the way books are promoted.”

“Beyond traditional media contact, good publicists are also setting their clients up online so that media opportunities come to them,” Shelton observes, and to him that means creating a strong online presence that will enable the author to pop up whenever a media outlet is looking for somebody who can speak to that author’s area of authoritative passion. He also reminds us of a post his colleague, Tolly Moseley, wrote last spring declaring “micro-persuasion is the new black,” on how social media can help build valuable word of mouth.

The Internet may not be the One True Magic Bullet that will #SavePublishing when Winfrey’s gone—in fact, we know it isn’t—but it strikes us that anything that points the way forward is a much more valuable use of time and energy than providing the business media with ready fodder for the “Oh noes! We iz doomed!” stories it loves to disseminate about book publishing. And, sure, you can do both, but will that really do anybody any good?