We tend to use the word mob for “the other guy’s” cause and “protesters” for our own, but they work either positively or negatively (and sometimes both) in relation to our books. How does social media, with its varied trolls, mobs, and troll mobs, affect publishing?
Hachette Australia publishing director Fiona Hazard, who says she would not have distributed Allen’s memoir here, says good publishers assess public sentiment. “The size of someone’s social media profile can play a part in publishing decisions, including the way they are seen in the wider community. So if someone is writing on integrity and honesty and then found to be dishonest that will have an impact.”
And if there’s adverse reaction on social media? “When we decide to publish a book, we consider all the angles and will stand by our authors,” she said. “Sometimes, however, people can do the wrong thing and reputations can be damaged. In these instances, we must deal with the fallout on a case-by-case basis.”
Publishers, she points out, have to be aware of cultural sensitivities and to seek sensitivity reads where appropriate.