Transworld have sent me a sampler of book extracts entitled The Serial Thrillers (sub-title ‘Fourteen Killer Reads’) to publicise a group of their leading authors whose latest books appear in 2010. This strikes me as a good marketing ploy, although not unique, and I’d guess it’s something which many authors published elsewhere will find quite enviable.
How you market crime fiction (or, indeed, any fiction) effectively is one of the questions over which much ink has been spilt for years. There isn't any easy answer, but trying to be innovative and interesting is probably a large part of the answer. Sadly, though, the solutions that reach the widest audiences tend to demand substantial investment of cash.
I was published by the Bantam imprint of Transworld in the early 90s, but in fact my hardback publisher was Piatkus. In those long ago days, Piatkus was an independent house, and they didn’t publish paperback editions, but they did secure a paperback deal with Bantam, who duly published the first four Harry Devlin novels. No samplers then, unfortunately, and although Bantam did try to market the books by selling them at what were then very competitive prices (£2.99 for a new paperback, I recall – bargain!) I didn’t reach the best-seller lists. And then Piatkus started publishing paperbacks themselves.
Now things are different in the publishing world. Piatkus are no longer independent, but part of a large group, and large publishers tend to focus on a limited number of writers, who are sometimes promoted heavily and effectively, as with this sampler. I think it’s a pity that many good writers of the ‘mid-list’ don’t benefit from similar initiatives, but that doesn’t meant that the initiatives aren’t welcome.
The authors featured in this sampler include such major figures as Mo Hayder, Tess Gerritsen, and Simon Kernick, along with one of my own recently discovered faves, Christopher Fowler. There is an extract from Bryant and May Off the Rails, and that is one of the Transworld titles that I definitely look forward to devouring.