Knowing the reader

After thinking about editor platforms, I’ve come down on the side of connection. A book editor’s platform should look like this: reaching out to those who work on, write and read books. It doesn’t mean, as I had thought, selling things.

And now that the connect-to-reader meme has entered my mind it seems to be finding me.

M.J. Rose wrote an editorial for Publishing Perspectives last week that spoke passionately about publishers getting a clue about what readers want.

As someone who has spent her life in advertising doing endless research about the end user, I’m continually shocked by the lack of information publishers have about readers. And even worse their lack of concern about the info they don’t have.

Most of the post was about the relationship between hard cover book sales and postponed e-book releases, but M.J.’s paraphrase from Kevin Smokler said it all:

The inescapable truth of doing business in the 21st century, according to author and CEO of, Kevin Smokler, is that you have to give the customer what they want… “Should you choose to make it difficult for your own purposes, said customers will simply abandon what you are offering them and go elsewhere.”

Just as it’s easier for customers to find alternatives due to the web, it should be easier to connect with them as well.

The sheer size of the romance reading audience, and the many, many places where they discuss books online is intimidating. But at least they’ll be easy to find…


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I work as an editor at Harlequin, but the posts on this site are all mine and don’t represent my employer's positions, strategies or opinions.
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