Franklin 'commissioning e-books via Twitter'

Franklin 'commissioning e-books via Twitter'

Twitter is being used as a "commissioning channel", Random House digital publisher Dan Franklin has revealed.

Franklin said the "vast majority" of the short-form non-fiction works he has signed for Random House for series such as Brain Shots have been commissioned as a result of the social media channel.

Speaking alongside Gollancz digital publisher Darren Nash in a London Book Fair Digital Minds conference podcast, Franklin said: "People talk about Twitter as a conversation channel, but actually that is a commissioning channel because on Twitter you see who's big in the game, who is big in the conversation, how many followers do they have, are they articulate, are they interesting, do they have a blog.

"Most of the short form non-fiction that I've been publishing into e-book . . . the vast majority, almost every author I've commissioned on that has come out of seeing their profile and their online imprint and Twitter being the portal through which you see that."

He added: "For me it's interesting, because if you put yourself out there as an editor, then opportunities start coming your way, because people see what you're doing and often you get introduced to some people that way."

Nash and Franklin also stressed the importance of being open to developing digital books and products in different ways. Nash said previous experience working in audiobooks had taught him that "the medium changes the message", and that works should be adapted to suit the format they are being released in. He said a digital publisher needs to "not be bound by concepts of what a book should be, but to look at the narrative, at where it is going and where it can go; if it means the book, the e-book and audiobook are all the same, that's fine; and if they are all fundamentally different, I don't think we should shy away from that."

The pair also discussed the changing role of an editor and the development of the digital publisher role. Franklin said: "An editor now really has to be a holistic person, a lynchpin on a publishing project, and any remnant of an idea that you do the words and then leave it to the marketing and publicity departments is gone."

Franklin and Nash were speaking ahead of their participation at the Digital Minds conference on 14th April.