When you use Consonance as your single source of truth, as well as using it to manage structured data, you can include your less structured, more conversational decision-making information. Having discussions in Consonance acts as a lubricant between different parts of the system. This means you can:

  • Preserve discussions for later reference
  • Avoid messages getting stuck in email
  • Keep the discussion close to the metadata
  • Promote more use of the system by team members

You can:

  • Start a new discussion, giving it a name and a description
  • Tag users in a discussion
  • Add new comments to a discussion
  • Get notification of new discussions or comments
  • The owner of a discussion can soft delete it.
  • Get an overview of the commentary for a work

Consonance makes it possible for users to discuss all aspects of a work’s publication in a timely, rich, contextual manner. The discussion provides context behind the decision to perform other actions in the system. It is a single source of truth for discussion as well as data.

Discuss all aspects

  • A discussion is an initial message related to a work, on which further comments can be made.
  • You can see who started it and when e.g. Topic: Marketing texts need a tweak, Can we achieve this pub date?
  • You can see a linear, time-ordered thread of comments.
  • Comments have content, posted by information, and a timestamp.

In a contextual manner

  • There is a page, accessed from the local menu, that lists the discussions on the work.
  • This list shows status, participants, and allows access to the comments.

In a rich manner

  • If you add a URL to a comment, it turns into a working link, for ease of navigation.

In a timely manner

  • By having the discussion at the local work level, it’s the natural place to type comments.

Provides context behind … other actions

  • You can refer back to the thinking that resulted in actions, such as to-dos, and marketing text changes, and also be able to find via those links.

Single source of truth

Read this blog post about discussions for more on this.

How to use discussions

Start a new discussion, optionally with a title (e.g. Cover progress?), by entering a question, observation, or some words, by clicking Discussions on a work’s local menu and Start discussion. Here are some examples:

Asking questions e.g.

  • A: Is this work on the going out of print list?
  • B: NO! definitely not. It’s going into a new edition next year but not to be marked as OOP as it’s on Waterstones core stock and that would make them delist it. Can you make sure everyone knows about this: Please let your teams know.

Making sure things get done e.g.

  • A: Do we have a list of proofreading notes for this work?
  • B: Yes, it’s here. [link]
  • A: OK – is someone making the changes to the files, for reprint? Kim?
  • Kim: No, not my problem. How about Mary? It’s her department
  • Mary: OK, can you make me a to-do?
  • A: Done – thanks Mary!

Accountability e.g.

  • A: The advance on this pre-acquisition work looks very high, and I’m worried we are overpaying on this and underpaying on other books by less established writers. This is contrary to our renewed focus on ensuring the authors on our list adequately represent our communities. Can we look at the different levels of advance on this?
  • B: Yes, great thought, and thank you for keeping us to account on our commitments.

Checking actions e.g.

  • A: George, can I drop the price on this to 99p to fit with the latest Waterstones promo? George: Yes, sure! Thanks for the thought!
  • A: np, that’s done.

Checking history e.g.

  • A: Did we print this one at Norhaven or was is POD? Anyone?
  • B: Norhaven: here’s the page on Consonance that shows that. [link]

Mining history: reading, not adding to discussions e.g.

  • Has anyone asked about the price on this work? It’s set to £100 on Blackwell which looks high.
  • What did my colleagues discuss on this work before I joined the company?
  • Has someone else already contacted the author about that new delivery date, before I contact them?
  • What did we decide about that cover?
  • Who was involved in the decision making on which printer to use?
  • Did anyone discuss the pricing on this work before it was set to 99p?
  • Did anyone discuss briefing this new designer? Who? What was the rationale?
  • What are the most recent pieces of work that I’ve been asked to do? (Dashboard view)

Getting clarity on things / checking things e.g.

  • A: Have we checked that the illustrators have been credited on this work?

Following up on previously-agreed actions: e.g.

  • A: Did the author give a new date for the manuscript?
  • B: Yes, end of Feb, and I’ve added a to-do to remind us to check again on 1st Feb
  • A: Nice one, cheers

Resolving problems e.g.

  • Asha: No cover for this on Amazon!?!? James!
  • James: Looks like it was sent to Nielsen 2 weeks ago [link]
  • Asha: Is it showing on Nielsen? Adding Jane to this discussion – Jane?
  • Jane: Yes, I’ve raised it with Madeline at Nielsen
  • Asha: OK, I’ve added a to-do to remind us to check on this in a few days

  • A: This seems to be missing from the draft catalogue, along with [link]. I’ve started a new batchMissing from catalogue [link] … can Fred double check, and add any others?“

  • Fred: Sure.

Coming to agreements / resolving disagreement e.g.

  • A: I really don’t like this cover
  • B: Oh! OK. What about the blue one we discarded last time?
  • A: Yes the blue was better. Can we use that one instead? @robbie what do you think?
  • Robbie: Ugh, the blue one was awful. How about we revisit the yellow one but with black lettering this time?
  • [180 more comments about covers…]
  • B: OK then. I’ll brief the designer to do a new one for review, and I’ve added a todo and update the current cover to be Draft on the metadata page.

Asking for work to be done e.g.

  • Can you have another look at the BISAC codes here, Madeline?
  • Can you check the description formatting conforms to the styleguide, Amy?


  • A: This is how we assign proofreading freelancers on works in this series. The rosta is: Bob Smith bob@thecure.com Simon Gallup simon@thecure.com Pearl Thompson pearl@thecure.com Roger O'Donnell roger@thecure.com Depending on which one of them is free, they can be sent a brief. They already have the style guide and the templates for the cover layouts. They need 6 weeks for delivering first roughs, on account of their touring obligations from their side gig as the best band in the world, so bear that in mind.

  • A: These are the reprint notes for this work, based on reader comments after the first edition was published.

  • There is a typo on page 14. Would should be Wood.

  • The page number is missing on what should be page 556

  • Someone left xxx at the end of the ISBN on the title version page. Update with the correct ISBN.

Viewing discussions

Each discussion has its own page, showing the following.

  • The title
  • Comments in timestamp order, most recent last, each showing:
    • Timestamp
    • Author
    • Subscriber list
    • Area for adding new comment

Links going to the discussion from notifications go to the comment whose creation caused the notification to be raised.

There is a discussions list page on each work, on the local nav, which shows the following.

  • a summary
  • the age of the discussion (started at)
  • the owner
  • the age of the last comment (latest activity)
  • whether the user has read it since it was last commented on (through the colour of the comment count. Blue means unread.)
  • authors of comments (participants)
  • This list is ordered by update time, most recent update being first.

Notifications about discussions

  • Users can subscribe or be subscribed to the discussion
  • When creating a discussion you choose who will be notified
  • Commenting on a discussion adds you to the subscriber list
  • Users can unsubscribe from a discussion
  • When a discussion is created, subscribers get an in-system notification, and an email notification.