The revival of the marketing book in the social media age

Books in a social media age
Fact: social media are good for book publishers. And I’m not talking about social media strategies for book publishers. I’m talking about the tsunami of social media marketing books.

There are so many new books that I don’t even bother looking at them anymore. Of course there are exceptions. But what I notice is that I stick to books from the 40+ generation, like Jim Sterne and his excellent “Social Media Metrics”. And now and then to books of people that I know have something relevant to say.

The overabundance of social media marketing books has nothing to do with the topic as such. If you want to know everything about social media marketing, I can resume it in a list of 5 books, 5 videos, a few papers and a handful of links. From dummy to expert in two weeks.

And reading books doesn’t make you an expert anyway, you only become one if you put your boots on, make your hands dirty and start wading through the social media marketing world by trying stuff, doing things, measuring, improving and connecting with others to know where you can do better or how they did it.

Back to books. I have a confession to make. I wrote lots of books. As a ghost writer. It makes good money. You write it, people put their name on it, they pay you and you go on holiday while they start touring to talk about their new book. And of course they do deals with media and others to get their books distributed so the number of sold books looks OK. Being a bestseller author looks good on your resume.

Some people I wrote books for simply talk about their vision and I put it on paper. To be honest: I never met someone I wrote a book for with a story or vision that blew me away.

Others just give me a topic and let me do my thing. That can be fun.

At this moment I have 5 request sitting in my mailbox to write a book. One on email marketing and four on…social media marketing.

I liked to do it. But now I don’t anymore. Don’t know why really. I guess it’s because I’m fed up with all the writing for people who often just repeat what others have written.

Too bad for the money. No holiday.

I guess the real reason why I’m fed up with it, is the fact that I’m fed up with the whole personal branding stuff. Because that’s why many books regarding social media marketing are written.

Fortunately there are many exceptions.

Is there anything wrong with personal branding? As long as it offers value to people and has results I guess not.

Maybe I should write a book. What do you think? Have you written a book? What books do you advice that are really worth reading and offer actionable insights in the ocean of social media marketing (and other marketing) books?

J-P De Clerck

J-P  J-P De Clerck is a 360 degrees interactive marketing consultant and serial bloggers, specialized in the cross-fertilization of online channels and interactions. His areas of expertise include email marketing, social media marketing, search engine marketing, content marketing, web analytics and conversion optimization. He manages several blogs and online communities regarding various interactive marketing and media topics.

You can connect with him via Twitter or visit his personal blog here.

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