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Publishers' most powerful marketing tool

13 June 2005

'There's never been a better time for publishers, authors and the book trade. Optimism is high: sales are rising, books make prime-time television every day, bookshop coffee bars are springing up in every high street and independent bookstores are enjoying a revival. Yet I can't help feeling the industry is still dragging its feet and slow to embrace new ideas.

It's only relatively recently that publishers have recognised their greatest assets - the authors themselves - are on their doorsteps, but it's my belief that many publishers are still under-utilising their most powerful marketing tool.

Not long ago, authors were seen as almost incidental to the marketing process and it took programmes such as "Parkinson" and "Wogan" - hungry for guest celebrities to fill their airtime - to propel authors into the big time and turn them into household names. Publishers - some but not all - began to get wise to the idea of the author as "the brand" and cultivate the fledgling celebrity in his or her own right...

We have the technology and the media. Consumers want to know about the person behind the book. Authors are willing to play their part. So who is holding them back?'

David Freeman, founder of, in the Bookseller