Monday, 28 February 2011

The Next Generation of Freelance Writers

This article was written by Andrew Crofts

I was invited in to Kingston University the other day by Todd Swift - the Canadian poet - to talk to fifty or so students on the creative writing course. Kingston has a good buzz about it, (I had been there just a few weeks before talking to Alison Baverstock's Publishing MA students).

Todd very kindly cajoles all his students to buy my 'Freelance Writer's Handbook' and also encouraged them to line up to have their books signed at the end of the session. Talking to some of them individually got me thinking.

It's been forty years since I was setting out like them, arriving in London straight from school, hoping for pavements of gold and all the rest. Then the freelance writer's world was one of manual typewriters and self-addressed envelopes where now it is all emails and attachments, but in essence it is still a gigantic leap of faith into a life where every morning you wake up not knowing if this is going to be the day your big break finally arrives. No doubt they were hoping that I was going to give them some clue as to what the next forty years of their lives are going to be like, but how different will it be by the time these guys are the ones blathering on to another generation of hopefuls?

The only thing I can promise to those who stick it out is that they are in for some grand adventures."

Written By Andrew Crofts

Friday, 25 February 2011

People in Publishing

Sally Kim will join Touchstone as editorial director, reporting to publisher Stacy Creamer. She was executive editor at Harper, and specializes in 'quality fiction with commercial appeal, which fits perfectly with our Touchstone mission.'

Rachel Wasdyke will join Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Children's as publicity manager, starting February 22 in the Boston office. She worked previously at Bloomsbury Children's and Little, Brown Children's.

Kirkus Reviews announced the creation of a discovery engine devoted exclusively to children's book apps, which will be available in early March.

Former Granta Books managing director David Graham has joined Aurum and its associated trade publishing division, where he will be setting up a new imprint, Union Press, which will focus on 'serious literary writing', specifically non-fiction. Former Granta staffers Alex Clark and Rosalind Porter are joining the imprint as editor-at-large and editorial director, respectively.

Macmillan launched romance community site as a companion to, It provides original stories, pre-release excerpts, blog posts, giveaways and more 'in a publisher-neutral environment' that will feature content and works from all publishers across the genre.

Thursday, 24 February 2011

Orion launches new commercial imprint non fiction and some fiction

Orion has launched a new imprint, Swordfish, publishing a wide range of commercial non-fiction as well as a small selection of fiction. Non-fiction publishing director Rowland White will take on the role of publisher.
Six titles will be published under the Swordfish imprint this year, starting with three titles over the summer. White plans to publish approximately 12 titles annually.

The imprint’s non-fiction will focus on real-life adventure, military endeavour, the natural world, narrative history, reportage, boys with toys, pop culture and heroes and villains, with the fiction selection aiming for "big, distinctive thrillers".

White said he would continue to acquire books for Weidenfeld & Nicolson and Orion, and publishers on the other imprints would also be able to acquire for Swordfish. The three imprints would not compete against each other for acquisitions..

The imprint will release e-books alongside hardback publication and make signing e-book rights a prerequisite of contracts.

Read full story here: Orion launches new commercial imprint: "


Wednesday, 23 February 2011

25 Best Novels for Psychology Buffs

This interesting little article was sent to my official web site and I thought it might be of interest to readers of this blog. As a crime writer I am deeply interested in personality, behaviour and motivation, and my main character in my marine mystery crime novels, DI Andy Horton is psychology scarred as a result of a traumatic incident in his childhood. Both Adam Greene in In Cold Daylight and Alex Albury in In For The Kill have also experienced life changing events that have altered  their patterns of behaviour, but has it changed their personalities?  Ah, perhaps that's a debate for another day and another article.

Meanwhile here is a taster of the article and if you wish to read more then please visit their website.

"Psychology and mental health issues obviously comprise a significant slice of the literary scene. Hardly surprising, considering the amount of drama and provocative questions to be wrung out of the truly bizarre, occasionally beautiful human mind. Far, far more books than these 25 exist to pique the minds of psychology fans, and many worthy ones were left off due to space constraints. However, this does not devalue their worth to readers in any way, and anyone curious about insight presented would do well to seek these titles out."

Click here to visit the web site and see the 25 Best Novels for Psychology Buffs and read more.

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

New romance and historical publishing imprints launched by Salt Publishing

Indie publisher Salt has launched a digital imprint, Embrace Books, comprising four series of erotica and romance titles.

Red Velvet is billed as "sexy, sophisticated romance", while After Dark is an "intense, page-scorching romance and erotica" strand. There are also two historical series, Embrace Regency and Embrace Historicals, with the latter covering women's historical fiction which is not primarily romance.

Embrace editor Jane Holland said: "I'm delighted to be heading this new digital fiction initiative for Salt Publishing. Romance fiction is all about community, and we are building a marvellous new reading and writing community around these first romance titles. Judging by early sales, Embrace Books looks set to be a winner."

Salt publishing director Chris Hamilton-Emery added: "The number of titles per year very much depends how successful this initial programme is, but we are hoping to get up to 30 or 40 titles a year."

All Embrace titles will be available as Kindle and ePub downloads and can also be bought from the Embrace Books website. Seven titles are available at launch priced between £2.99 and £4.99. The imprint has taken on two debut authors for the launch, publishing Rachel Lyndhurst's Storm's Heart, featuring a Greek millionaire hero, and Scandal at the Farmhouse by Cody Young, billed as a Victorian novella.

Other Embrace series are planned for later in 2011, including Saffron, which will launch in April and specialise in lesbian fiction.

Monday, 21 February 2011

People in Publishing

Holt has hired Jill Lamar as their new editor in chief, starting March 14, reporting to division publisher and president Steve Rubin. Lamar will oversee the Henry Holt imprint; other Holt imprints such as Metropolitan Books and Times Books will continue to be run separately. 

Holt is publisher of literary and commercial books of both fiction and nonfiction.

Amazon has appointed three staff to roles in the UK team.John Gahagan will head up Amazon’s UK Books business, with both the UK Books and print on demand teams reporting to him.

Amy Worth will now lead the UK Kindle content acquisition/vendor management team, having had previous experience with the UK Books vendor management team. She will report to Gordon Willoughby, who is based in Luxembourg with overall responsibility for Kindle in Europe.

Thursday, 17 February 2011

The Kindle has overtaken the Sony Reader as dominant e reader

The e-reader market doubled over Christmas, according to figures compiled by Book Marketing Limited, which showed that 7% of British adults received a dedicated e-reader over the festive period, bringing the total percentage of adults with e-book readers up to 13%, or 6.5m adults.

The Kindle was revealed as the most popular device with 24% of those who had downloaded an e-book saying they had used the Amazon e-book reader. The iPhone was revealed as playing an important role in the e-reading market: 19% of downloaders use one to read digital content, with 13% saying that it is the device they use most often.

The Kindle has overtaken the Sony Reader as the dominant dedicated e-reader in users' hands.  The figures suggest that of the 6.5m adults who own e-readers, 3.5m own Kindles, while 2m own Sony e-Readers. It also points to 3m iPads having been sold in the UK in total, 2m over Christmas.

The survey also revealed that 61% of those who had received an e-reader for Christmas had downloaded a paid-for e-book, with the average debutant having bought 5.9 e-books. The figures, for new e-reader owners and average purchase, suggest that as many as 10m e-books have been sold in the UK since Christmas, compared with 18.6m print books sold over the same period.

The research covers the period from Christmas Day, 25th December 2010, to 31st January 2011. It sampled over 2,076 respondents, weighted to be representative of the national population.

Read more: E-reader market doubles over Christmas in the UK: "

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Phaidon Press to treble children's titles, National Maritime Museum looks to move into publishing, Canadian e book retailer seeks UK retailer

The National Maritime Museum is looking to publish its "unrivalled" archive of images. The London-based museum has appointed the Creative Rights Agency to pursue publishing opportunities and also seek product licensees for the themes of astronomy, time and the sea for the museum and the Royal Observatory Greenwich.

Canadian e-book retailer Kobo has said that it would be keen to partner a UK retailer in an effort to establish a presence in the market.  Michael Tamblyn, vice-president of content, sales and merchandising at Kobo also called for the simplification of rights deals in order to ease global e-book sales.

Phaidon Press is aiming to triple its output of children's titles to 30 new children's books by 2012, up from eight in 2010. Phaidon's children's list covers children aged up to 12 years with a focus on pre-school and picture book titles and books for readers aged seven-plus. Authors on its list include René Goscinny (Asterix) and artists Hervé Tullet and Tomi Ungerer.

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

People in Publishing

Picador senior editor Sam Humphreys is to join Profile as publisher for imprint Serpent's Tail, leaving Pan Macmillan after nine years.  Former publisher Pete Ayrton now takes the role of editor-at-large. Humphreys will begin her new role in March, reporting to Profile publisher Daniel Crewe.

At Scholastic, Anamika Bhatnagar has been promoted to Executive Editor and Director of Paperback Reprints.

At PublicAffairs, Brandon Proia has joined as editor, effective February 1, and Clara Platter has been named senior editor, effective March 1.
Meghan Macdonald has joined the Transatlantic Literary Agency as a full-time agent. She has been freelancing for the agency since the fall of 2009.

Maria Campbell Associates has named Mary Pender-Coplan vice-president, the first time the scouting agency has appointed someone to this position. She has been there for five years and is responsible for the dramatic rights and children's book scouting.

Longtime Atria executive editorial director Emily Bestler will establish an eponymous imprint, Atria Books-Emily Bestler Books, and has been promoted to editor-in-chief and senior vice president. The line will debut in spring 2011, publishing both fiction and nonfiction.  Sarah Branham, who previously worked with Bestler, has been promoted to senior editor and will now report to Atria editorial director, Peter Borland. A new editor will be hired for Bestler's imprint.

In the UK, Michael Dover will retire from his position as editor-in-chief, non-fiction for Weidenfeld & Nicholson at the end of June after nearly 30 years with the company. W&N also announced a number of promotions and changes, effective March 1: Rowland White has been appointed non-fiction publishing director,porting to Lisa Milton, trade managing director. Amanda Harris will become deputy publishing director, with Jane Sturrock promoted to commissioning editor. Senior editor Debbie Woska will return from maternity leave in February, reporting to Harris. Nicki Crossley will become editorial assistant.

At Thomas Nelson, Bryan Norman has been promoted to associate publisher, nonfiction trade group, under publisher Brian Hampton. He will be responsible for day-to-day operations and strategic list building, as well as continuing to edit key projects and acquiring new authors.

In the UK, Phaidon Press plans to triple its output of children's titles to 30 new children's books by 2012, up from eight in 2010.

Little, Brown has promoted Daniel Mallory to Sphere associate publisher. Mallory will continue to report to Little, Brown deputy publisher David Shelley.

Monday, 14 February 2011

Creating Strong Central Characters - Alex Albury in the thriller, In For The Kill

The third in the series - Creating strong central characters by Pauline Rowson

In a previous blog I wrote about my central character in my marine mystery crime series, Inspector Andy Horton and about my reluctant hero Adam Greene in In Cold Daylight.  Here I focus on the main character in my thriller novel, In For The Kill, Alex Albury.

A strong central character is someone the reader can have empathy with, someone they can sometimes get angry and frustrated with. Someone they can get close to and believe in. As one reader of In For The Kill put it, 'I loved Alex Albury. He didn't always do what I wanted him to do but then that's what makes a good novel.'

The author needs to know what has shaped the main character; his background, family, education and experiences. Alex's life had been easy, he had a comfortable upbringing, a doting mother, a wife, two sons, a beautiful house on the River Hamble and a successful business. He had a reputation, love and money until one day the police arrested him for something he didn't do and his life crumbles before him. He loses everything, even, as he puts it in the Prologue of In For the Kill, his confidence - that is what is behind him. So what lies ahead of him?

Well, main characters need to take control, they should not give in under pressure and should take an active part in solving their own problems. They can have faults but they change and grow throughout the novel. They make mistakes and learn from it. Newly released from prison after serving three and a half years for a crime he didn't commit - fraud and embezzlement - Alex takes control by setting out on a course of revenge to find the man who framed him and stole everything from him. All he knows is a name and that's phoney. His journey is no simple one and soon he finds himself suspected of murder and involved with an evil ex-con.

He's hindered by his fear of being re-arrested and hampered by his reluctance to use any form of modern technology even a mobile device, which can be traced and tampered with. No one believed Alex was innocent. If it's on a computer it must be true! And having had his identity stolen once he's not going to risk it a second time. He's set on a course for revenge and destruction and doesn't care how he achieves it. Will Alex kill? Is he capable of it? What will push him to the edge and over?

And where will the main character be at the end of the journey? What will he have learnt about himself? Faced with the ultimate choice, kill or be killed what will Alex do? Will he kill? Will he get his revenge?

Answering all these questions and more about your central character makes the author understand what drives and motivates him and so shapes the novel. It's great fun and I love it.

Friday, 11 February 2011

People in Publishing

Lia Ronnen joined Artisan Books as executive editor and associate publisher. She was executive editor at Melcher Media for 10 years.

Millicent Bennett will join Free Press as a senior editor on February 22. She has been at Random House for the past 3 years.

In the UK, Sam Humphreys will leave Picador to become publisher of the Serpent's Tail imprint, reporting to Profile publisher Daniel Crewe. Pete Ayrton will move over to editor-at-large.

Liz Gately Book Scouting has been appointed the US scout for Bragelonne in France. She is joined by new scout Cathrin Wirtz.

At Chronicle Books Victoria Thomas is now executive coordinator for editorial, sales & marketing; Jenifer Savasta is associate manager, subsidiary rights; and Naomi Kirsten is associate editor, children's.


Thursday, 10 February 2011

Environmental publisher Earthscan has been bought by international academic publishing group Taylor & Francis

Environmental publisher Earthscan has been bought by international academic publishing group Taylor & Francis following a process brokered by mergers and acquisitions specialists Bertolli Mitchell.

Earthscan's principal owner and executive chairman, Edward Milford, will step down from the business after a three month transition period. It is "too early" to comment on whether Earthscan's more than 30 employees would be moving to new premises, or if any job losses would happen.

Earthscan m.d. Jonathan Sinclair Wilson said: "From our side the logic of the move was dictated by the rapidly increasing importance of the area in which we publish. Although we've been doing well and growing fast, we've come to realise that our size and even our independence were not adequate to the scale of the publishing opportunity, and challenge, in the sustainability space.

"We need more muscle and more reach, and in our discussions with T& F we found both a recognition of the potential and the prospect that the publishing would being given the resources it needs to make the most of that potential."

Environment and sustainability specialist Earthscan was named independent publisher of the year at the IPA awards in 2010, with judges calling the publisher "solid, reliable and consistently successful" and "a yardstick by which all independents might measure themselves.

read more

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Quercus market share rockets by more than 100%

Written By: Lisa Campbell

Quercus is expected to make profits of £7.3m in 2010 after increasing its market share over the year by 103% and recording "double-digit growth across its entire offering". The publisher responsible for Stieg Larsson's bestselling Millennium Trilogy revealed the group's share jumped to 1.37%, up from 0.66% in 2009 in a market that declined by 1.7%.

Quercus chief executive Mark Smith said market expectations suggested the company will increase its profits by £6m in a year, from £1.2m at the end of 2009 to £7.3m in 2010. Predictions also suggest the group will have sold 33 million books.

E-books accounted for 3% of the company's revenue last year, an increase of 400-500% on the year before, Smith said.

read more"

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Spending at UK booksellers in January shows weak sales

By Philip Stone

Spending at UK booksellers in January 2011 was up just 0.7% on a dire January last year when the "big freeze" plunged book sales to a five-year low. According to Nielsen BookScan data, £108.6m was spent at UK booksellers in the four weeks to 29th January, up just £750,000 year-on-year, and down £7.9m (6.8%) on 2009. Volume sales in January 2011 fell 3.3%, to 14.8m, year-on-year, while average selling prices increased slightly (by 4.1%, or 30 pence), to £7.32.

read more"

Monday, 7 February 2011

Creating Strong Central Characters - Adam Greene in the thriller In Cold Daylight

The second in the series of article - creating strong central characters by Pauline Rowson

In Cold Daylight was inspired by a conversation I overheard at the fire station where my husband a former fire-fighter worked. The firemen were talking about how several fire-fighters from one watch had contracted cancer. Many of them believed their cancer was contracted from exposure to hazardous chemicals in the line of duty but this has never been fully investigated. I decided to blend the facts of this case within a dramatic fictional plot, creating a powerful novel unaware that a major International disaster on a massive scale 9/11 would be the catalyst to spark studies in the USA into this controversial area.

Since writing In Cold Daylight, after a three year study prompted by 9/11, research from the University of Cincinnati has found that rates of testicular cancer were a hundred per cent higher and prostate cancer twenty-eight percent higher among fire-fighters. In addition, the researchers also discovered a fifty percent increase in non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and multiple myeloma. Researchers say fire-fighters are exposed to many compounds designated as carcinogens, or cancer-causing agents including benzene, chloroform, soot, styrene and formaldehyde. These can be inhaled or absorbed through the skin at the scene of a fire.

Instead of choosing a fire fighter as my hero in In Cold Daylight though, I chose to tell the story through the eyes of a man who is the opposite. This is marine artist, Adam Greene's journey through overcoming depression, a nervous breakdown and leaning on the prop of his strong-willed, ambitious wife as much as discovering why his best friend, fire-fighter, Jack Bartholomew, was killed in the line of duty before he can reveal the cause of his own – and his colleagues’ cancer.

In a cryptic message orchestrated before his untimely death, Jack has left a trail of clues that will lead Adam into a labyrinth of lies, secrets and government conspiracy exposing an environmental scandal that has resulted in the deaths of fire fighters.

When Jack dies in a fire in a derelict building Adam Greene has lost his closest friend. He attends Jack's funeral ready to mourn him when another funeral intrudes upon his thoughts, and one he has tried very hard to forget for the last fifteen years - the death of his girlfriend. But before Adam has time to digest this, or discover the identity of the stranger stalking him, Jack's house is ransacked.

A reluctant hero, Adam is forced to confront his past and his own dark secrets. He's pushed into examining his relationship with his wife, his bullying dead father urging him to achieve, and his successful domineering brother. As the facts reveal themselves the prospects for Adam's survival look bleak. But Adam knows there is no turning back; he has to get to the truth no matter what the cost, even if it means his life.

Adam doesn't give in, although part of him would like to, fear is the trait that holds him back, fear of failing, fear of breaking down and the shame he always felt because of it, but loyalty to the man who helped him through the dark days of isolation and depression push him on and ultimately make him stronger.

Adam makes mistakes and learns from it. And where will he be at the end of the journey? What will he have learnt? Has he changed? Will he be stronger? What will he do next?

I've been urged to write a sequel to this novel by many readers and maybe I will.

In Cold Daylight is dedicated to my husband, his former watch, Red Watch in Portsmouth and fire fighters every where.

Pauline Rowson with some of the fire fighters from Red Watch a couple of years ago

Friday, 4 February 2011

People in publishing

At Penguin Canada, Andrea Magyar will take on the new role of publishing director, business and lifestyle.
Tamara Crabtree joins Abingdon Press, the publishing imprint for The United Methodist Publishing House, as executive director, marketing.

Don D'Auria
joins Samhain Publishing as Executive Editor. He will oversee the company's new Horror line, which launches in October 2011. Previously D'Auria was executive editor for Leisure Books at Dorchester Publishing.

Julie Strauss-Gabel has been promoted to VP and publisher of Dutton Children's Books. The unit will publish 10 to 15 titles a year as "a boutique middle grade and young adult imprint with a focus on titles of exceptional literary quality and strong commercial appeal."  The move allows Lauri Hornik to return to a sole focus on Dial, where she remains publisher and president. Dial will expand from 50 titles a year to 75, "including a number of authors and illustrators who had previously been published under the Dutton imprint."

David Moldawer has joined McGraw-Hill Professional as a senior editor, acquiring broadly in the business category, barring personal finance and investing. Previously he was at Portfolio.

Thursday, 3 February 2011

New Writing Courses for 2011 - Arvon launches 2011 Course Brochure

The Arvon course programme is now live online and features over 90 courses, such as: 
  • Starting to Write,
  • Making the most of your Novel,
  • Writing for Television,
  • Poetry Writing 
  •  and new courses such as Adaptation Writing and Writing for Video Games.
This year tutors include: Maggie Gee, Ray Davies, Nigel Planer, Sophie Grigson, Naomi Alderman and George Szirtes. Arvon are also building on the success of the tutored retreat with one now taking place at each centre. You can reserve your place on a course with a deposit of £150. To view the online brochure visit.

Grant News

As part of Arvon’s continued commitment to giving everyone the chance to write and benefit from an Arvon week, Arvon will again be offering grants to those on a low or who have no income. This year, for the first time, you may apply for any amount up to the full course fee. However, higher amounts will only be awarded in exceptional cases and most awards are between £50 and £300.

More information can be found on


Wednesday, 2 February 2011

It's a messy business writing a crime novel, Pauline Rowson explains

There are different types of writing when constructing a crime novel, (apart that is from having the idea, doing some research, and working it up into an outline plot with a smattering of characters).

First comes the freeflow type of writing when I'm eager to bring the idea and characters to life by getting words and actions on to my computer screen as quickly as possible. Often these are not the correct words, the description is hazy, the characters not fully formed, the grammar and punctuation incorrect but there is something there that can be shaped later. This is what I sometimes to refer to as the brain dump phase when I wish I could simply download words on to the computer without having to type them. The aim of this phase of writing, the first draft, is to get something written as quickly as possible.

Second is the mixing or shaping phase when I go back through the novel (which might not yet be complete) and I move chapters or sections around because I realise they're not in the correct place. I might also ditch some chapters and characters or build minor characters up more, who, as the novel has progressed, have started to become more than just a walk on part. I might even create new characters, or a sub plot might take on new meaning and significance adding colour and interest. Sometimes this second phase overlaps with the first. It's messy but gradually the novel begins to take better shape.

Once I'm happy with the first and second phase it's then time for revisions. Now I need to trawl through the novel to make sure that all the characters are fully formed and the clues are firmly planted and sometimes cleverly disguised; that all the unanswered questions are answered, the red herrings are in place, the setting and research are correct and it all hangs together.

Once that is done it's final revision time, which involves checking every line of the novel to ensure that I've used the most appropriate words and phrases at the appropriate time and have not over used certain words. The computer 'find' function can be very helpful here.

Over the Christmas and New Year I spent a considerable amount of time completing the first and second phases of the seventh in the Inspector Andy Horton crime series. Now I'm on phase three making sure it all adds up, fleshing out the key characters, checking that plots, sub plots and clues all hang together, ensuring tension and atmosphere abound, answering all the unaswered questions and tying up the knots... I may be some time.

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

People in Publishing

At Quarto in the UK, Piers Spence has stepped down from his role as director of co-edition publishing to run a farm in Devon. He will be replaced in February by David Breuer, chief executive of Royal Academy Enterprises.

At HarperCollins' Morrow-Avon division, Pamela Spengler-Jaffee has been promoted to senior director of publicity. She joined the company in 2003. Danielle Bartlett has been promoted to associate director.

Laurence Hughes will join the Free Press as associate director of publicity, reporting to Carisa Hays, starting February 7. He takes over from Nicole Kalian Abbott, who is joining PR firm JCPR based in New Jersey, where she will be starting a book division as of February 1.

Hajnalka Bata has been appointed publisher, fantasy and young adult fiction at Boekerij, where she has worked as a commissioning editor at since 2009.

Samantha Haywood is returning to Toronto this summer after five years in Amsterdam, where she will continue to work for Transatlantic Literary Agency. (Her husband, Pieter Swinkels has left his post as publisher of Cargo and associate publisher of De Bezige Bij to work as director of publisher and industry relations EU for Kobo.)

Lucinda Blumenfeld has left Fletcher & Company and launched Lucinda Blumenfeld Literary Consulting (LBLC), an editorial and marketing firm for writers and authors. She will continue to represent select writers in both fiction and nonfiction.
Zachary Wagman is joining the Crown Trade group as editor on February 1, acquiring fiction and nonfiction, reporting to publisher Molly Stern. He has been at Vintage since 2006. Also in the unit, Jenna Ciongoli has been promoted to associate editor, continuing to report to Charlie Conrad. She will edit and acquire nonfiction and also collaborate on select projects with senior editors. Christine Kopprasch has been promoted to assistant editor, editing fiction, continuing to report to Stern.

At William Morrow, Katherine Nintzel has been promoted to senior editor.

At Delacorte Press, Krista Vitola has been promoted to assistant editor.