Friday, 30 July 2010

People and editorial appointments

Simon & Schuster has made a swathe of editorial promotions across its fiction and non-fiction teams, following a recent restructure.

Commissioning editor Francesca Main has been promoted to senior commissioning editor.

Junior editor Libby Yevtushenko steps up to editor and editorial assistant Emma Lowth has been promoted to assistant editor.

Jessica Leeke moves from S&S former paperback wing Pocket Books to join the fiction team as editor.

In non-fiction, editorial assistant Rory Scarfe has been promoted to editor.

Emily Husain joins as editorial assistant for non-fiction and junior editor Katherine Stanton become project editor for non-fiction.

Jane Pizzey will continue in her existing role as managing editor, supporting both the editorial teams.

Michelle Andelman has joined Regal Literary, where she will represent children's fiction. Previously she worked as a foreign rights scout and with the Andrea Brown Literary Agency

Thursday, 29 July 2010

Thinking time is an essential part of writing

This article first appeared on my blog, but thought it might be of interest to readers of this blog.

Thinking is an essential part of writing. You think about the plot and sub plots. You think about the characters and their motivations. You think about the weather and the time of year the novels take place. And you think about the locations. In fact you think about everything there is to think about when writing a novel, and rather than spending my time sitting in a room and staring out of a window thinking, I prefer to do most of mine while walking. Not only does this help to keep me fit but it's a well known fact that exercise also improves one's mental powers.

In addition, thinking while walking has the added advantage of getting good location description, as well as providing descriptions of the weather. It also means coming across some very interesting characters, who might inspire a character/s in my novel. These aren't necessarily main characters but usually secondary or walk-on characters. It might be just a glimpse of someone walking over the Downs, strolling along the promenade between Sandown and Shanklin on the Isle of Wight, or striding out along the Hayling Island Coastal Path. Or it might be someone I end up talking to on the train, or in a cafe or shop.

Last week on the train from Shanklin to Ryde I made a study of people's toes and found it quite fascinating. Of course this can only be carried out in the summer months in England. There were deformed toes, tattooed toes, dirty toes, painted toe nails and toes with long nails, (mine were safely ensconced in walking boots). As a creative writing exercise I could simply list these and ask students to form visual descriptions of the owners of the toes and then pen character sketches of them. It would be fascinating to see what the students came up with.

Then I made a study of the faces belonging to the toes, surreptitiously I might add, I didn't want to be accused of staring. There were youthful faces, worried faces, alcoholic faces, and vacant faces. And that's just the edited version of the descriptions I tucked away in my mind.  All good stuff for the next and future Andy Horton marine mystery crime novels.

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

It’s time for an authors’ revolution

This thought provoking article by Terence Blacker was written for the summer edition of the Society of Authors magazine. I've copied below the beginning of the article. You can visit Terence Blacker's web site to read the full article, or click on the link below.

"Is it just me, or has everything suddenly gone rather quiet? Authors are used to hearing that the trade is dead, that bookshops are spookily deserted (it usually happens the week one has a new book being published) but the situation right now seems to be different.

It is not so much the readers who have slipped into a mood of torpid indifference but the book industry itself – the chains, the independent shops, the publishers and, most alarmingly of all, the authors. There is, without wishing to be unduly miserabilist, a sense that nothing is really moving forward or changing. The mood of the moment is a sullen, slightly bemused defeatism.
If anyone talks about future, it is never in the context of new young writers who are pushing their way through or of bright new publishing ideas. In fact, things are now so ineffably dreary that the only symbol of progress is a reading device, the e-book.

In the past, these moments of stasis tended to be localised. Different parts of the books business would droop, but rarely at the same time. Among authors, a slump in one generation or genre would be balanced out – often rather cruelly – by a sense of energy and movement elsewhere.

It is difficult to find much evidence of that now. Booksellers, having flirted over-excitedly with the world of marketing and price-cutting, now merely want to survive. The large, established publishers have adopted a safety-first editorial approach for so long that it has become a habit. If our great conglomerates were to inscribe a corporate motto over the entrance to their offices, it would surely “More of the same”."

Read the complete article: It’s time for an authors’ revolution

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Is the end of the publishing world nigh?

News that agent Andrew Wylie has bypassed conventional publishers to sell his clients' ebooks direct to Amazon has created panic. Is it curtains for conventional publishing asks The Guardian?

Wylie's authors include Philip Roth, Salman Rushdie, Martin Amis and John Updike. His new venture called Odyssey Editions is launching with just 20 titles, but publishers are hitting back wondering where this leaves them in the traditional publishing model.

Random House, which publishes Roth, Rushdie and Amis in the UK, has written to Amazon already 'disputing their rights to legally sell these titles'. It declared Wylie a 'direct competitor' and ruled out 'entering into any new English-language business agreements with the Wylie Agency until this situation is resolved'. And book retailer, Waterstones is none too happy about it either.

The Guardian asks, "In the week when Amazon claimed that ebook sales passed those of hardbacks the questions are unavoidable: who needs big publishers? Are the interests of writers and readers best served by big publishers, or the Jackal?"

The jury's out on this one.

Monday, 26 July 2010

Arts Council funding for Alma Books and Dedalus Books, and submissions policies

Literary independent publisher Alma Books has been awarded a grant of more than £12,000 by Arts Council England, through the National Lottery, for the publication of two books in September and October.

This is the first time the publisher, founded by Italian husband and wife team Elisabetta Minervini and Alessandro Gallenzi, has received funding since Alma launched in 2005.

The Richmond-based outfit, which specialises in contemporary fiction with a focus on translation, will use the money to produce English language editions of All Men Are Liars, by prize-winning Argentinian author Alberto Manguel, and Letters from London and Europe, the first translation of part of the letters of Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa, the author of The Leopard.

Unsolicited Manuscripts

Alma Books take unsolicited manuscripts but publish literary fiction and a few non-fiction titles with a strong literary or historical connotation only NOT children's books, poetry, academic works, science fiction, horror, fantasy or other genres that do not fit in with their programme. You can see full submissions guidelines on the Publishers who accept unsolicited manuscripts page on this web site or by clicking here for Alma Books submissions page   

Dedalus Books has also received a grant of £26,900 for 2010/2011. Dedalus is mainly a publisher of literary fiction and began publishing in 1983. On it's web site Dedalus states "Dedalus has its publishing programme in place until November 2010.Unless new sponsorship can be found, Dedalus's ability to commission new work is strictly limited."

Friday, 23 July 2010

People in publishing

In the UK

HarperFiction has made a number of promotions in its team, with deputy publishing directors Katie Espiner and Sarah Ritherdon stepping up to publishing directors.

Katie Espiner is responsible for historical fiction and literary fiction. Sarah Ritherdon oversees the women’s fiction list.

In the USA

Stacy Boyd has been promoted to Senior Editor at Silhouette Desire.

Dan Smetanka has been named Editor-at-large for both Counterpoint and Soft Skull Press. Smetanka is based in Los Angeles and will acquire fiction, narrative nonfiction, memoir, current events, and history titles.

Edward Orloff has joined McCormick & Williams as an agent after six years with The Wylie Agency.

Sandra Homer has joined The Bukowski Agency as the new Manager of Contracts and Translation Rights.

Thursday, 22 July 2010

Why Your Publisher Won't Answer Your Email - The Daily Dish | By Andrew Sullivan

I thought this just had to be worth sharing with you all.

Why your publisher wont answer your e mail
by David Frum

Those of us who work even occasionally with the quaint world of publishing often wonder: why is it that our publishers are so hard to reach? Partly it is our own fault for attempting to use email rather than typing out our communications on an IBM Selectric and posting them in the US Mail, the way they did in the good old days.

But there is also this additional impediment, as a literary friend explains:

It's summer, and publishers take the summer off, starting about April 15 and resuming shortly after Labor Day. They work hard through early September until the Jewish holidays, which they observe for the full three weeks from Rosh Hashonah to Shemini Atzeret. Columbus Day and Thanksgiving pretty much wipe out October and November, and December is of course gone to Christmas.

Their offices are open at greatest length for a couple of weeks in each of January, February and March before they shut down again for the summer, as noted, in April.

PS And in the UK, you can pretty much accept they are now closed.

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Bertrams Book Wholesaler Announces New Moves

Book wholesaler Bertrams has launched a new initiative for independent booksellers to help them hold successful author events. The initiative will be for members of the Booksellers Association's Independent Booksellers Group. The wholesaler will hold a series of full day training courses on events management led by former Waterstone's events manager Jo James.

The first day is scheduled for 27th July at Bertrams' head office in Norwich. The event is free for IBG members.

Bertrams will also give indies a training manual at the event, which will cover all aspects of author signings and events management. James has also compiled an indie-friendly list of authors, their availability and suitability for different events in different regions across autumn and spring, as well as publisher contacts.

Bertrams buying and marketing director Chris Rushby said: "This exciting initiative provides something many of our independent customers have long been asking for: help in getting an events programme up and running and help in getting access to the right authors.

In another press statement Bertrams announces that its Bertrams Library Services will move its library supply service from Leeds where 140 staff are employed to Bertrams' main site in Norwich.

In its interim management statement, parent company Smiths News said the move will be completed early in the new financial year, which begins in September.

The statement said: "[The move] will reduce costs, but just as importantly improve service by reducing the lead time for the processing of library books - one of the key measures of service identified by the library consortia."

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Independent Publishers in the UK

The Independent Publishers Guild web site is a helpful web site if you are looking for information on publishers or signposting about getting published.

The IPG is an organisation for publishers rather than authors and supports around 480 members who have a combined turnover of £500m a year. It provides independent publishers in the UKwith information, practical advice and guidance to help them grow and prosper. They are also the voice for independent publishers in the wider publishing and bookselling industry.

You can search their database on line for information about publishers, which might then give you information on whether or not they accept unsolicited manuscripts.  There is also a section on Getting Published that could prove helpful to you and a links page.

Monday, 19 July 2010

Databases of authors who provide talks and are available for commissions

If you are an author who is looking to get speaking engagements or commissions you can register with an organisation called Contact An Author. For an annual fee (£45) you can go on their database. You create a web page, which gives background information and states your availability for interviews, events and writing work.
For more information visit: Contact an Author.

In addition, there is The Society of Authors database.

You will need to read the eligibility criteria for joining. Membership is £90.00 per year (£64 if you are under 35) and your subscription entitles you to advice on all aspects of the writing profession, including confidential clause-by-clause vetting of any contract you are offered from a publisher, agent, producer, etc. It also entitles you to be on their searchable database.

Here is an example of my entry on the Society of Authors database. The profile of author Pauline Rowson

In addition you can advertise on your own web site or blog.

Sunday, 18 July 2010

Women's Commercial Fiction and Children's Fiction Workshop

How to Write Successful Women's Commercial Fiction Workshop

This two-day workshop, based on your own material, will be held 27th-29th September at a countryside retreat called Charney Manor near Oxford, UK.

Cost £675 inc. VAT, includes accommodation, food and tutorials. To be run by Julie Cohen and Helen Corner, one-on-one sessions, with guest speaker. For further information visit


How to self-edit and submit adult and children's fiction

15-17 November 2010

Two-day workshop at Charney Manor. £675 inc. VAT, accommodation, food and tutorials. To be run by Lee Weatherly and Helen Corner, one-on-one sessions, with guest speaker. Contact

Friday, 16 July 2010

What e book Royalties should authors get?

It's a subject that is causing quite a debate at present both in the UK and the USA and indeed around the world. Now the chair of the Society of Authors, Tom Holland has added his voice to the debate.  He says that  locking writers in for the duration of copyright risk damaging industry and is not 'remotely fair.'

Speaking at the Romantic Novelists' Association's annual conference last week, Holland urged authors to push for ebook royalties that are 'considerably higher' than the standard of around 25%. Although Holland said the market for ebooks is only about 1% of the total UK market, it is 'growing fast' and the Society of Authors believes that, given publishers will eventually have much lower warehousing and distribution costs for ebooks, royalties should be divided 50/50.

He believes that many big-name authors, such as JK Rowling or Dan Brown, will go their own way if the situation is not resolved, which will ultimately damage publishers balance sheets and with less money to invest the outlook for publishing new authors and maintaining a healthy publishing industry is at risk.

Holland says, 'Although publishers 'are inclined to dismiss the argument that costs are reduced on ebooks, once a system has been set up, publishers won't be paying for warehousing, distribution and printing, and we have to ask ourselves what are they spending the money on?

'We accept that publishers have been investing heavily in digital infrastructure and at the moment they are losing money on ebooks because sales are so low.'

'Twenty-five per cent might be reasonable as the infrastructure's set up but only for two years. The risk if we don't do that is that the rate will essentially be set in concrete, it will freeze and be taken as the norm, not just for two to three years but for two to three decades. If we don't fight it now, we will lose our chance to present and make our case, and that will be it.'

Food for thought.  What do authors think about this?  What sort of e book royalty have you been offered?  Are you willing to sign over copyright?

Thursday, 15 July 2010

Berg Publishers seek full time Marketing Executive to work on 17 journals

Thought I'd post this job vacancy I came across in the publishing world, in case it helps anyone with marketing skills in the journals publishing world.

Journals Marketing Executive

Berg Publishers  (an academic imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing PLC) is seeking to recruit a full-time Marketing Executive to work on their list of 17 journals.

The Job
Implementing all aspects of the marketing plan, including direct mail; email marketing; web marketing; conferences; advertising; publicity; society/editor care; free trial campaigns; overseeing telesales campaigns
Inputting into the marketing plan, analyzing results and monitoring budget .

The job will also involve promoting and organizing advertising in Berg journals; maintaining society and editor relations; producing in-house journals reports and reports for societies and journal editors; updating the database; back office and administrative duties.

The Candidate
The successful candidate will be a graduate (or equivalent) with excellent organizational skills and attention to detail, an ability to work to strict deadlines, and at least 2 years' experience of journals marketing within an academic publishing environment.

There will be considerable opportunity to develop this role as the journals programme grows further.

To apply send a CV and covering letter to:
Jennifer Howell, Head of Marketing,

Closing date for applications: 31 July 2010.

Writing first drafts of a novel

Some writers love it others hate it but writing first drafts for me is always exciting because it is fresh unchartered waters and although I have a basic plot outline and character sketches I'm still not sure where the tide will take me and which shore my novel will wash up on. It is tense too because I am in a hurry to write it as fast as I can while my head is full of ideas.

I try to resist editing too much as I write the first draft because editing slows down the creative process and it is very easy to get hooked on editing and therefore postpone finishing the novel. However, because I research as I go along and the characters and plot grow, some editing is inevitable. I resist the temptation though to revise every paragraph, sentence and word, that can come later.

The aim is to write the first draft as quickly as possible. So a good rule, which I therefore try to follow (although not always successfully) is to begin each day (or the next time you write if you can't write every day)  from the last sentence I wrote the preceding day. So far I have written 15,000 words of the new Inspector Andy Horton marine mystery crime novel. There's a long way to go yet, but at this stage I am pleased with the how it is progressing.

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

People moves and appointments in publishing

Random House UK Debbie McNally and Lee-Anne Williams have been promoted to the position of deputy sales director within the sales team at Random House UK. McNally will focus on sales development, whilst Williams' position concentrates on direct sales. Both roles report into UK sales director Rob Waddington. Meanwhile Connie Cullen becomes sales development manager.
Cengage Learning USA is bringing together its academic and professional group, the Gale library/reference divsion, and their international operations and say the transition 'is expected to be completed in September.'

At Scholastic's trade publishing division USA Lisa Sandell has been promoted to executive editor, Scholastic Press.
In the UK, Quercus has hired Mark Thwaite for the new position of digital marketing manager. He has been managing editor of The Book Depository while also running the blog ReadySteadyBook. Thwaite will work across both Quercus and MacLehose titles, aiming to increase their profile across the web. He will also contribute to the ongoing re-development of the Quercus company website.

HarperCollins UK has made a raft of new appointments, including former Little, Brown publishing strategy director Roger Cazalet as its associate publisher for HarperFiction, Blue Door and Voyager.

Bloomsbury's Penelope Beech has also been appointed marketing director, while Penguin and Michael Joseph project manager Ana Maria Riviera is to join as divisional sales director for non-fiction.

Cazalet will be responsible for managing the marketing and PR departments.

Penelope Beech, who has been appointed as marketing director joins after the summer. She is currently head of adult marketing of fiction and non-fiction at Bloomsbury. She will be responsible for analysis and brand work across the publisher's authors as well as for creative campaigns.

Ana Maria Rivera, currently project manager at Penguin and Michael Joseph, has been appointed divisional sales director for non-fiction. She will report to UK sales director Oliver Wright and will start on September 27th.

The publisher has also announced key accounts director Wendy Neale has been appointed to the newly created role of trade sales director. She will also be in charge of the field sales team, trade sales administration and the newly appointed local marketing and events manager, Ben Hurd, formerly director of marketing and publicity for Press Books.

Paul Erdpresser has been appointed as divisional sales director for Press Books and Oliver Malcolm as divisional sales director for fiction. Kate Manning will continue to be in charge of sales for the children's division.

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Walker And Canongate Publishers Launch Young Adult Imprint

Independent publisher Canongate has teamed up with children's specialist Walker Books to create a young adult imprint, packaging Canongate's books for a younger audience. The imprint, Walker Canongate, launches this month with four titles.

Jamie Byng, Managing Director of Canongate, commented, "I've long admired the Walker list, both in terms of its range and quality, and so the prospect of launching a list with them is a thrilling one. Not only do I think it is tremendously exciting for our two companies but also for those writers involved, their books and most importantly, young readers. I hope it will be a long and fruitful partnership"

Helen McAleer, Managing Director of Walker Books, added, "Walker has a reputation for being the most innovative and creative independent publisher of high quality books for children, a reputation Canongate shares for its adult publishing programme. The Walker Canongate partnership is a hugely exciting opportunity that not only unites our two companies, but enables us to put a range of bestselling, award-winning books into the hands of the next generation of adult readers."

Canongate accept unsolicited manuscripts. Visit our Publishers Who Accept Unsolicited Manuscripts Page for more details on what they are seeking and how to submit.

Walker Books do not accept unsolicited manuscripts but they do accept artwork samples and illustrated stories. Visit our Publishers Who Accept Unsolicited Manuscripts Page for more details on what they are seeking and how to submit.

Sainsbury’s looks at releasing its own range of branded children's books

Sainsbury’s is in discussions with publishers about releasing a series of own-branded children’s books. It also revealed that it planned to concentrate more on gift titles rather than biographies and hardbacks at its checkouts this Christmas.

Phil Carroll, the supermarket’s head of books, said: “We do particularly well with picture books but we think that having our own brand on them is something that could work particularly well.”

The supermarket revealed it was currently discounting at a lower rate compared to the wider market and that it was planning to increase its backlist range sales by 33% in 2010.

Book buyer Sharon Gurney at Sainsbury's says more checkout space will be devoted to books for eight weeks before Christmas with a focus on gift and humour. And Sainsbury’s head of entertainment Richard Crampton also revealed it would launch an online entertainment store within the next three months. He did not specifically refer to e-books but said: “It will have physical and digital products across all formats.”

Monday, 12 July 2010

Choosing names for characters in novels

This article first appeared on my blog but I thought it worth repeating here.  How do you choose your characters names?

One thing about writing a series (my Inspector Andy Horton crime novels) is that some of the character names are already set, i.e. Inspector Horton, Sergeant Cantelli, Superintendent Uckfield. Then there is DI Dennings, DCI Lorraine Bliss and others, so no need to think up new names for them. But every novel has a new crime and a new set of characters and coming up with names for them can often be quite tricky as can be remembering which names I've already used as well as the minor characters in my police procedurals, their rank and department.

When seeking inspiration for first names I turn to my little book of baby's names or more often look up web sites of baby's names. I also keep an ear out for any unusual or interesting names when meeting people and will jot these down. Working on the latest Inspector Andy Horton marine mystery (Footsteps on the Shore) I was stuck for a name for one particular character. He had several before I trawled through the A-Z and hit on Ashley. Yes, he was definitely an Ashley.

The other danger is over using a name. For some reason I seem to have a penchant for the name Eric, and when I did a search through previous novels I discovered that I’d used it before for different characters, albeit minor ones. So no more Erics.

As to surnames, I let my finger do the choosing and tend to pick these out of an atlas or street map. Then I see if it fits with the first name and the character. And the more novels I write the more I am in danger of repeating names, (it's easy to forget what you have already used) so I’m building a database in order to double check this. And a database of police officers used in my novels their rank, name, brief description and their department.

Readers also tell me that some novelists have too many characters surnames all beginning with the same letter and they find this very confusing. Now I scrutinise my work to check that not everyone has a surname beginning with the letter ‘C’. Not sure why I gravitate towards ‘C’ but I do. And my sister couldn’t get through Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code because she couldn’t pronounce the names, and not being able to pronounce them meant she couldn’t identify and believe in the characters. You might think that strange, but having raised the point at several talks, I’ve found many other readers echoing this sentiment. So it’s careful with the foreign names for me.

And what about the name of my main character Inspector Andy Horton, where did that come from? I've no idea. It just sprang to mind. It was only recently however that I was contacted by his namesake in the Hampshire Police Force. A polite e mail asked me whether he had inspired the name and/or the character. I replied saying that if he was indeed tall, blonde, fit and handsome then maybe? He replied saying he was tall, fit, dark and his wife thought him handsome. I was somewhat relieved to find the real Inspector Horton had a sense of humour, had recently been promoted and spelt his name Houghton.
Love to hear your views.

Friday, 9 July 2010

Publisher Seeking New Writing Talent But Deadline is 1 August

'A Tale of Two Halves', is an unusual creative writing idea and comes from Paperbooks of the publishing house Legend Press.

The first half of the book is written by Paperbooks author Gary Davison, then it is up to the writer to complete the story any way they like. All you have to do to enter is purchase a copy of the book and begin writing!

There is no restriction to the style and format and the best writer will win a publishing contract with Paperbooks Publishing for publication of a novel, with full editorial support.

Submission guidelines

- The author is invited to complete the story in any writing style they wish.
- Entries should be a minimum of 10,000 words.

- Submissions can be completed inside the printed book or written in a word document.

- The deadline for submissions is 1st August 2010.

- Submissions should be posted to the address below or emailed to
with ‘Writing Competition’ in the subject line.

Paperbooks Publishing
2 London Wall Buildings
London Wall

Email all enquiries to

For more information and guidelines on submissions visit the Legend Press Paperbooks web site

Thursday, 8 July 2010

e-book royalty battles get hotter

E-book royalties continue to be a contentious issue. Last year, the Society of Authors argued rates should increase to roughly 75-85%, while publishers have generally settled around 15-25%.  However, some authors and agents are withholding deals on e book royalties for six to 12 months in the belief that the current industry standard royalty rate of 25% could be smashed within a year.

US agent Andrew Wylie said this week he had put e-book negotiations on hold across the board because he was dissatisfied with publisher terms. Wylie told Harvard magazine that he planned to set up a company on behalf of his clients to license unallocated e-book rights “directly to someone like Google, or Apple.” is offering a 70% royalty option for e-books sold via any of the Kindle stores or apps as long as the price is set between $2.99 and $9.99 (£2-£6.69) and at least 20% cheaper than the print edition. It must also be sold "at or below" the price being sold through the retailer's competitors.

The offer is available to both authors and publishers who use the Kindle Digital Text Platform, and is net of delivery costs. It is currently only available for books sold to customers in the US. The standard option, which offers 35% royalties, remains.

Amazon has also announced improvements in the platform, such as a more intuitive "bookshelf" feature, and a simplified two-step process for publishing.

Other agents seem to agree with Wylie.  Georgina Capel of Capel & Land believes that 50% is the right royalty rate particularly on backlist titles and is not agreeing to anything less than 25% on new titles.

Tom Holland, chairman of the Society of Authors, warned that unless publishers were seen to behave equitably, it would have “disastrous effects” on the industry. “The big hitters will go their own way, which will have an effect on publishers, which will have an effect on the new writers starting out. Publishers, authors and agents really need to sort this out for the general health of the industry,” he said.

Agents raise stakes in e-royalty battle:

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Retail book website launched to promote Northern Ireland writers

Authors in Northern Ireland now have a new avenue in which to promote their books with the launch of a new retail website dedicated to the promotion of authors from Northern Ireland. is run by the Newtownards-based publisher Colourpoint Books, Wesley and Malcolm Johnston, and has more than 600 titles available for sale from the site.

Wesley Johnston said: "What distinguishes from other book websites is the opportunity given to local writers through our primary focus on local publishing.

"Many local books do not appear on national sites and when they do there is often scant information, no cover image and it can take four to six weeks to get the book. This website reflects our love of local publishing with genuine interest, local knowledge and local relationships."

The site was launched with an event at the Linen Hall Library in Belfast, where Northern Irish author Stuart Neville gave a reading of his latest novel, The Twelve. Wesley Johnston also presented the library with a £500 donation.

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Editorial moves and appointments in publishing

Krista Stroever has started as senior editor for Mira Books, one of the single title imprints of Harlequin. She was previously senior editor for Silhouette Desire.

Kjersti Egerdahl has been promoted from associate editor to editor at Becker & Mayer book producers.

Foladé Bell has joined Serendipity Literary Agency as an associate agent. Most recently she was an assistant editor at trade publication Radio & Records.

For the New York office of their Nashville division, Hachette Book Group has hired Kate Hartson as senior editor for the Center Street imprint. As another part of the Nashville 'realignment plan,' editor Christina Boys will now exclusively acquire fiction for both FaithWords and Center Street.

Reka Simonsen will join Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Children's as executive editor for Harcourt on August 2, reporting to editorial director Jeannette Larson. She was previously a senior editor at Henry Holt Children's

Monday, 5 July 2010

Judging a book by its cover

A good book cover can make the difference between someone picking it up from the shelf or perhaps even choosing it on the Internet, or not. So if you're self publishing make sure you do your homework and get the best designer or image you can afford, or even one you can't afford!

You'll need a good relationship with your designer, one where you can communicate the style, genre, aims and objectives of your book and at the same time respect his or her skills.

The cover image needs to grab the reader's attention and convey the type, style and essence of the book.

Many people only buy a couple of books a year so they often play it safe and stick to what they know which is why when a certain book is successful you begin to see so many copying the style of the jacket image. Do your research.  Is there a certain style that surrounds the type of book you've written?  Are you able to emulate this?

An author's identity can be built through their book covers. Examine books from the same author to see what style has been adopted. If you intend to publish more than one in the same series then think this through to ensure you get the style correct first time and for future issues.

Also it is worth noting that the experts are seeing a trend towards starker, simpler covers, partly due to the importance of the Internet.This type of design works well online, where it's harder to see intricate or fussy design.

Friday, 2 July 2010

Publishers need to improve web sites and help authors engage with readers

At a conference held recently in London, publishers were told they should focus more on getting to know their consumers by improving websites and making authors regularly engage with readers. I, and many authors I know, already do this to a great extent.

Many authors know that leaving the marketing of their books to their publishers is not enough. They realise the importance of having an informative, up-to-date website, a blog and the need to participate in dialogues on social networks like Facebook, Twitter etc. Part of the author's marketing is also giving talks and undertaking book signings most often organised by the authors themselves.

The Publishing Laid Bare conference was organised by Independent Publisher, Legend Press who accepts unsolicited submissions.  The conference highlighted the importance of direct contact with consumers, building a relationship with them and finding out about their reading habits.

The internet was highlighted as the prime resource for reaching consumers and social networking was focussed upon. Mark Thwaite, manager and founding editor of ReadySteadyBook, said: "Publishers need to start to think of their authors as brands. They need to teach them how to blog and tweet and will need to change contracts so that when they sign it is said that there is a need to do some digital marketing of their own."

However, he added: "Still, publishers' websites are not particularly great, search engines are terrible, updated covers aren't up there and blogs aren't updated regularly. They don't know how to use google alerts or RSS feeds, they've still got a lot to learn."

Thursday, 1 July 2010

Writing Competition, stories about Revenge and Agatha Christie Festival

This year marks the 120th anniversary of  mystery writer Agatha Christie's birth. If you're fan then check out the annual Agatha Christie Festival (September 12-19) in Torquay, Devon.

Spinetingler Magazine has put together a new writing contest, asking for stories about revenge, “about getting back at someone who deserves it.” Entries should run from 1,000 to 1,450 words long, and must be submitted by July 21. There are even some modest cash rewards for work well done. Send entries via e-mail to In the autumn, Spinetingler will publish the first, second, and third place winners, as well as three honorable mentions.