Fenwick:'authors have best reader knowledge'

Fenwick:'authors have best reader knowledge'

Authors are not used enough in marketing and publicity by publishers, writer Liz Fenwick has claimed.

Speaking at The Bookseller's Marketing and Publicity conference Fenwick, who is published by Orion, said that she thought in general publishers did not speak enough to authors, or on a regular enough basis.

"Most authors are interacting with our readers on a daily basis," she said, meaning that authors know their readers best.

Writer Nikesh Shukla, who sent a lamb chop into space to publicise the release of his novel Meatspace (The Friday Project), said the best social media by authors was when they made use of it as a genuine user and not just to sell books. Shukla's lamb chop stunt was about building profile, as opposed to selling books, he said.

"I don't necessarily think book sales are what's going to sustain me as a writer," he said. "Sending a lamb chop into space means I get paid to come and talk to people, it's helped my profile. It helps me with all the bits that sustain being an author."

Twitter is a conversation, said Shukla, and not content in itself. "If you're going to have a hand in your own publicity make actual things that you can talk about on Facebook and Twitter rather than just saying 'here's my book, buy it'," he said.

Alison Barrow, publicity director at Transworld, said asking questions constantly was important, especially regarding the 
expectations of the author and of the publisher. "It is a lot about having an open and honest and transparent conversation [with the author]," she said.

The panel was chaired by The Bookseller's Cathy Rentzenbrink.