At times the last 10 years have felt like a drunken shuffle
- three forward, two back. Too often, meetings with publishers and the great
plans we’ve hatched have evaporated before the caffeine hit faded. At least
it’s not two forward and three back but it has to be said the book trade has
more than its fair share of people who can talk the talk but aren’t quite as good at walking the walk.
Occasionally, just occasionally, you meet someone you know
is on the side of the angels. Nicola Barranger isn’t ready for her first set of
wings yet, which is fortunate indeed for us because, it seems to me, she’s
doing in audio/visual online what we’re doing in print.
Nicola developed theinterviewonline.co.uk when she realised
that more and more people were demanding ever increasingly diverse audio at the
click of a mouse. With her background as a producer and presenter, mainly with
BBC World Service and more recently with BBC Radio 4 she seized her chance and
her website is now a joy to behold.
Unfortunately, she faces the same challenges as we do but
magnified. Our last ten years have been a struggle for publicity – at times
I’ve wondered whether I should have called the magazine The Gift Horse’s Mouth because of the number of times I’ve had to
explain that, yes, you can claim a free book each issue.
In the bigger picture, as the decade has progressed print
media has wrestled with the impact of the internet, something which is
increasingly exercising our minds. But for Nicola, her main problem is that you
and I expect the internet to provide services for free. Rupert Murdoch may be
roundly despised by the rest of the media but if he manages to generate money
from the now paid for Times and Sunday Times online sites then they
will gulp down their reservations and jump on the bandwagon.
Meanwhile, Nicola’s business plan of providing publishers
with interviews to use on their websites in return for a reasonable fee has
been neatly side-stepped as they’ve done it themselves (but usually not as
Which is where we enter the scene because Nicola and we feel
there’s an opportunity to co-promote by giving her space to talk about her site
in the magazine and for us to include an audio-visual interview on
newbooksmag.com each issue with a click through to theinterviewonline. All of
this kicks off in nb61 but there’s absolutely no reason why you couldn’t go
take a look at Nicola’s site now. In fact, I’ll make it as easy as possible for
you – all you have to do is click here www.theinterviewonline.co.uk