The home of Alastair Reynolds and Joe Abercrombie establishes a reader feedback panel and online community - we speak to the organiser
Last week marked the launch of a new project by top book publisher Gollancz: their Gollancz Geeks programme. The aim? Give dedicated readers the chance to see new books first and give their feedback (and there are exclusive competitions, goodies and bonus content up for grabs too).
You only have to look at the list of authors in this stable to realise the London-based publisher has some clout (Alastair Reynolds, Charlaine Harris, Joe Abercrombie, Stephen Baxter, Elspeth Cooper, M John Harrison, Sarah Pinborough, Scott Lynch, Richard Morgan, Adam Roberts, Justina Robson...) so we contacted the Gollancz team to find out what this online initiative will achieve.
Senior marketing executive Jennifer McMenemy has been driving the Gollancz Geeks initiative and we put our questions to her:
SFX: What are the advantages to readers of becoming a Gollancz Geek?
McMenemy: You'll get to read our books first, see our covers and trailers first. Gollancz Geeks will also get exclusive content, giveaways and much more. In addition to being in the know, Gollancz Geeks will be able to give us early feedback about our titles and have their opinions listened to, their concerns address by all of us at Team Gollancz. This is a unique chance for Gollancz, who is already incredibly involved in social media and interacts daily with the genre community to go a step further. We're really looking forward to it. Oh, and did we mention the t-shirts? Geeks also get a t-shirt, badge and sticker.
Why is it important to Gollancz to get feedback on new books?
For the past 50 years Gollancz has been dedicated to publishing the very best books that the genre has to offer. With the advent and popularity of social media we are now able to communicate directly with our readers. There is nothing better than being able to get feedback about our titles. We love sharing our books with the world and we love hearing what the world thinks of them. Getting feedback on our books lets us know what our readers think, encourages debate and promotes a sense of community, all things that we think are so special and important to the genre.
How many people have you had sign up so far?
We had over 500 sign ups in less than 24 hours of the project's launch. We are so delighted to have so many people as excited about the Gollancz Geeks project as we are and have come onboard.
The slogan is "Protecting Genre Fiction for the Future" - do you perceive that genre fiction is under threat?
Genre Fiction is as strong as ever and currently thriving with massive commercial successes and mainstream crossover series. We're protecting great fiction for the future, making sure that wherever there are readers we'll always be able to supply a good book.
What's been your role in setting this up and what inspired you to start recruiting readers to this cause?
We have had so many fantastic reviews, comments and tweets across our social networking platforms that we decided the next step would be to create the Gollancz Geeks an initiative to harness all that activity and feedback. Part reviewer panel and part community the Gollancz Geeks was an idea that got everyone in house excited. We sat down and put together a plan and then I went off and found out a way to make it happen. Now that we're live we are very excited to be able to share Gollancz Geeks with the genre.
To get started, head to the Gollancz website and click on the tab marked Gollancz Geeks. There's a form to fill in and then after you join you'll be sent a badge for your blog so you can let the world know you’re taking part. If you sign up, let us at SFX know how you get on.