By S.A Edward
Wednesday, 15 January 2014.
offers writers new opportunities for publication. However, there are some
pitfalls they need to avoid.
was the message given at a debate hosted, last December, by ‘Spread the Word’,
London’s writer development agency. Writers, agents, publishers and readers were brought together to discuss
gatekeepers in fiction publishing.
opening remarks, Nicola Solomon, from The Society of Authors, said the growth
in blogging, social media and self-publishing makes this an ‘interesting and
unsettling time’ in the publishing world. Authors now have more power.
Publishers accept the changes, but many are ‘in a fog’. Writers should explore their
options before deciding how to publish their work and ensure they get the best from publishing contracts. It might be more beneficial to
print on demand or seek out smaller publishers.
Author, Louise Doughty stated that if
money is important to the writer, the traditional route is best. Writers should
follow their passion and interest. “Sometimes you make money, sometimes you
Jones, editor of The Bookseller, who chaired the event, said
social networks were strong mediums for connecting with readers. However, self publishing may hamper
Michael Bhaskar, Digital Director at
Profile Books, pointed out that Amazon collect feedback from readers.
Publishers are generally not very good at this.
The panel agreed that Twitter allows
authors to have dialogues with readers. However, it cannot replace book
signings and personal promotion. An assessment of how Tweeting influences sales
Louise Doughty stated that Literary
Editors of newspapers such as The Observer and The Times play powerful
gatekeeping roles. They select which books get reviewed and the reviewers.
Books with the most reviews tend to win prizes, resulting in increased sales.
The discussion concluded with questions
from the audience around new talents and judging the quality of writers’ work.
There were also two readings from a recent Spread the Word publication of
Edgeways, edited by author, Courttia Newland.
SA Edward is
The New Black Magazine's Books and Literature Editor. She blogs at http://www.saedward.com