In the first posting of his new, and very insightful, Canberra Times Blog, Colin Steele discusses the positive and negative effects of the web on authors. One aspect Colin did not mention is the effect on how books are sold. Australian authors suffer from being in a small sub-category of literature. This can make their books hard to find online.
In my work as an ICT consultant I advise companies about how to make their products and services visible on the web. Perhaps I should be offering this service to authors as well. In looking for Joan's books, I noticed a few problems:
- Author's name: "Joan London" is not sufficiently unique. While a search will find her books, it will also find references to people named "Joan" in the city of London.
- Book names: There are a lot of books with Gilgamesh in the title. As an example looking for "London Gilgamesh" finds a restaurant in London, as well as the book. Looking for her latest, The Good Parents, in Amazon, will big up a lot of self help books for parents if you use just "good parents" for the search.
- Publishing location: A book published in Australia is not listed, or not listed as quickly, in online catalogs, as ones from the US and UK.
Enlightened publishers can also make the web search process easier. As an example, Grove Press, have permitted the full text of Gilgamesh to be searched, via Amazon.com. This allows customers to find the book in a search and for me to be able to find there are 36 pages with references to Armenia and see exactly what they were. This facility is most useful for non-fiction, but can also allow a potential reader to find a book they may be interested in.
See also: Australian Authors, Joan London.