At the end of yesterday’s item about W.W. Norton catching the Twitter bug, I asked if there were any other publishers out there who were using Twitter to communicate with readers, and you brought me up to speed. Several of you recommended Richard Nash‘s Soft Skull feed, especially as a model of the highly personal approach I believe will be most successful for publishing pros who want to use Twitter to convey their passion for working with great books and writers to other readers.
The Bantam Dell division of Random House appears to have revived its Twittering efforts after a four-month withdrawal, and its voice is getting snappier, so it’ll be interesting to see if they can bump up the frequency past one post a week. I’m also noticing a spark of personality in recent posts from CanonGate, and even university presses like Yale and Oxford are getting into the act. I’m especially charmed by Rebecca Ford‘s terseness in recent posts to the latter—she really seems to get the way you can use Twitter to boil a compelling concept down to 140 characters.
You’ve also given me plenty to think about in terms of the balance between reaching out to new readers and keeping the core audience close: “I think a lot of us are using technological innovation to talk to an increasingly narrower and already-interested group of people,” says one publicity director. “It makes me nuts.” It’s certainly a risk—I don’t have any answers right now, but your thoughts are always welcome.