Mark has worked in books and publishing for several years, starting out as a bookseller with Shearer’s Bookshop before making the move to publishing. He’s helped run the When Genres Attack literary events that take place in Sydney, and also writes about Stephen King at The Night Shift: http://thenightshiftblog.wordpress.com/ You can follow him on Twitter at @ml_harding
- You have been working with Momentum as Digital Marketing Executive for over two and a half years, and with the company, have been working on ways to build communities around publishing – why do you think this is so important?
Momentum publishes a lot of genre fiction, and when a genre community embraces a work it can make a huge difference to that title’s success. Genre readers are also voracious, and will devour content quickly – it’s therefore important to be in that community indicating where readers can find more. It’s also rare for publishers to instil brand loyalty. Readers are loyal to authors, but often have no idea who publishes them, aside from a handful of community-focused imprints like Tor. Part of what we’ve tried to do with Momentum is build a community around us in addition to our authors.
- What has been the most interesting experience you have had working for Momentum?
I’ve been fortunate to have quite a few things to choose from with this question. I’d have to say that it was seeing the Kylie Scott juggernaut take off. Kylie’s book Lick became an Amazon top 20 bestseller and led to her being offered a 4-book deal with Macmillan. While Lick is a new adult rock star romance, Kylie built herself first with the books Flesh and Skin, erotic romance novels set after a zombie apocalypse. The hook (it’s a zom-rom) was so unique that we were all very curious as to how audiences would respond. And the community loved it. It was very satisfying to be able to help someone go from aspiring writer to full-time author.
- You are leaving publishing this month and heading into a different direction altogether. Can you tell us why you’ve made this move?
I’ve had a passion for social media for many years now and I was recently offered an exciting opportunity to manage social for a company outside the publishing industry. It was a tough choice. I’ll miss publishing, but I’ll continue to be a big supporter of the local industry as a fan and customer.
- What Australian works have you loved recently?
The Last City and The Forgotten City by Nina D’Aleo are amazing. READ NINA D’ALEO’S BOOKS, I cannot stress this enough. These novels are wonderful works of speculative fiction from a massively talented author. She has a big future ahead of her, so it would be best to read these books ASAP so you can brag about how you knew all about her before she won a Hugo award.
Fury by Charlotte McConaghy is also a brilliant novel that’s set in a really interesting dystopia where an oppressive regime has ‘cured’ the population of negative emotions. That concept is an awesome hook, and Charlotte has structured the story in a really interesting way. It’s the first in a series so there’s a lot more of the world she’s created to be explored.
I’m also partial to crime novels and have to say that Luke Preston’s novels Dark City Blue and Out of Exile are among the most hardcore, riveting and gleefully violent crime noirs around. Luke knows the genre back-to-front and just has an absolute blast torturing his characters.
- In one way, Momentum itself is a reaction to changes in publishing, in that’s it’s a digital first imprint – how else did the recent changes in the publishing industry influence the way you work?
We’ve been free to experiment, and much of my role for these two and a half years has been to find out just what it takes to make an ebook successful. It’s an ongoing process as we’re constantly learning new things, and the landscape is shifting all the time.
This interview was conducted as part of the 2014 Snapshot of Australian Speculative Fiction. We’ll be blogging interviews from 28 July to 10 August and archiving them at SF Signal. You can read interviews at: