There are very few things in life that make my blood boil more than someone tearing down the industry I work in with false accusations of collusion, underhandedness, and evil doing. So when I see a headline like ‘Why Book Publishers Hate Authors‘ in the Huffington Post, it’s all I can do to stop myself from going into a blind rage and throwing my computer into the ocean, finding the nearest rocket, and blasting myself into the face of the sun. Because what the hell, guys.
Posts Tagged ‘authors’
Becky Hearne is a former bookshop Events Coordinator, and has run book launches, talks, school events and unusual book-related fun, such as literary speed dating. She now does freelance editorial and PR work for various publishers and authors, including Carnegie-longlisted author Nicola Morgan. She’s on Twitter: @bookshop_becky.
1. I’ll start with the obvious: being nice matters.
Events are a lot of work for booksellers, and much of that time will be unpaid. Often, the bookseller will have liaised with some of (or all of) the following: your publicist, your agent, your publishers’ rep, a wholesaler, librarians, teachers, head teachers, parents, the venue staff, and local newspapers/media. And, of course, you. Bookshops make money from events, but not that much when you consider the time put in. If booksellers like you, they will hand-sell your book; if they don’t, it’ll go in the returns box the morning after.
Are we obsessed with going digital as a nation, as publishers or is it just me? Everyday I read the bookseller, follow my twitter feeds and browse eagerly, looking for further verification that the book has no future.
As someone who sells books, this obsession was starting to worry me a bit. Should we all abandon our jobs in the book trade and get on the digital band wagon? I started to look at my friends working in digital media and think they are ‘lucky’ to be in-the-know and at the forefront of the revolution.
And then it suddenly occurred to me that there are millions of us still working in the book trade, still sat in meetings discussing the cover, the page count and the trim size. So why is no one fighting for the life of the book and the jobs of authors, publishers and booksellers? (think civil rights movements!) Surely we can do more to keep the book alive.
I spent a few hours wondering around F***** (could have been any of the large chains) the other day, browsing the shelves and dreaming of having enough time to read all the books on display. However, I did get the impression that there was a lot of ‘space’, that the shelves weren’t bustling with choice of content (as you might find online). And what about customer reviews? Amazon has proven that what really pushes a consumer to buy – is reading a non-branded customer review. Where are the in-store forums? Surely bookshops should be inviting people in for copious amounts of alcohol and a place to air their views – now that’s something that the Internet can’t offer!
Despite the digital hype, publishers are still producing books. We are trying our hardest to keep hold of the versatile, tactile element of owning a book and the pride so many of us hold in the visual array of titles on our bookshelves.
So before we all get pushed out of our day jobs, into the unknown; why don’t booksellers look at their shelves and use the Internet as a model of how to market our brands. We could use the offline advantage of being able to browse the shelves, talk about books we’ve read whilst having a drink. How where’s the harm in that?