It's been two years since PW took the first snapshot of the publishing world on Twitter. In May 2009 we looked at the followings 16 imprints and publishers had on the social networking site. At the time, a lot of imprints weren't even on Twitter, and we thought the word "twittering" was an acceptable verb. Since then the imprints followed by PW have shown explosive growth and continue to add followers at impressive rates. Between May 2009 and 2010, the imprints added 105,152 followers. In the next year, the number of new followers more than doubled, with 233,020 added in the May 2010–May 2011 period.

Accompanying the increase in followers—Little, Brown, which commanded one of the largest followings of the imprints PW looked at in 2009 with an audience just under 6,000, today has roughly 130,000 followers—has been a broader understanding of how to use Twitter. LB online marketing specialist Anna Balasi, who oversees the LB feed, cited a number of factors for the feed's success. Among other things, she said the key is to keep the comments interesting, be responsive to your audience, and add a hint of inside baseball. The editorial tweets, she said, should hopefully allow followers to "feel they're ‘in' by knowing what Little, Brown editors are doing," and she notes that adding photos, links, or videos to Tweets delivers content that followers "can be a part of."

Twitter Followers


Imprint 2011 2010 2009
@AAKnopf 96,443 24,225 1,581
@GrandCentralPub 12,161 6,450 3,726
@Littlebrown 132,277 38,534 5,999
@ThomasNelson 10,889 5,101 678
@freepressbooks 6,734 2,030 516
@HarlequinBooks 12,318 6,075 2,187
@AtriaBooks 5,904 2,822 1,809
@Tin_House 8,138 3,074 892
@doubledaypub 9,055 3,184 1,057
@groveatlantic 4,736 1,087 268
@HarperPerennial 11,306 3,239 805
@OReillyMedia 29,426 15,951 7,340
@vintagebooks 11,378 6,276 783
@chelseagreen 16,379 13,102 5,003
@WorkmanPub 8,312 3,494 1,485
@torbooks 84,038 8,632 3,995
Total 376,296 143,276 38,124

*As of June 1, 2011

How Random Does It

So how does a huge corporate entity with thousands of employees and dozens of different imprints handle its tweeting? At Random House U.S., for example, there are 29 Twitter feeds that brought in more than 470,000 followers at the end of May. Sarah Cahill, who works in online and digital marketing at RH, said she and one other person handle the house's biggest feed, its corporate one, @randomhouse. The other feeds are handled by department, with tweeting by division—the @atrandom feed, for example, covers all of the RHPG imprints—and by some individual. imprints. Below, a list of RH's five most popular feeds.

Hashtag Division Followers
@randomhouse Corporate feed 181,375
@fodorstravel Fodor's 95,911
@aaknopf Knopf Publishing Group 90,718
@randomhousekids Random House Kids 14,132
@vintageanchor Vintage Anchor 11,124

*As of May 12, 2011