Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Templar unveils ambitious growth plan for young fiction and young adult fiction

Templar plans to grow its fiction output to 35 titles by 2013, following its move into fiction last year with an initial seven titles. The biggest growth will be in young fiction, although commissioning editor Helen Boyle said the company will continue to develop its young adult (YA) titles.

Boyle said it is looking at three key areas including young fiction, where it can work with picture book illustrators to develop new series, as well as commercial fiction and will be developing 'hybrid' fiction  including illustrated fiction for older readers.

Templar welcome unsolicited submissions. Please read the guidelines on their web site. You can find their submissions guidelines here.

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Sci-fi and fantasy specialist Angry Robot is setting up a Young Adult Imprint

Sci-fi and fantasy specialist Angry Robot is setting up a YA imprint, Strange Chemistry, with genre blogger Amanda Rutter appointed editor.

The imprint will launch in September 2012, with five titles to be published before the end of the year, with plans to then publish one book a month. Strange Chemistry will co-publish its titles simultaneously in the US and UK, in both e-book and paperback formats, as Angry Robot does.

Angry Robot managing director Marc Gascoigne said: "The key to any truly successful genre imprint is the personality of its editors. In Amanda we've found the perfect mix of editing skills and wild, wild enthusiasm for the subject. We're beyond delighted to welcome her to the team."

Read their submissions policy on their web site.

Also from their web site:

Angry Robot is looking for people to blog about them, their books and authors.In return as well as reviewing their titles, they'll give you free copies of their books (in physical, audio, or electronic format), interviews and features. You can get the lowdown on Angry Robot and sign up at Robot Army Website.

Monday, 28 November 2011

The Romantic Novelists' Association restructures awards and adds new logo

The Romantic Novelists' Association has restructured its awards, switching names from the Pure Passion Awards to the RoNAs, and with a new brand identity for the organisation.

The five RoNA categories will be Contemporary Romantic Novel, Epic Romantic Novel, Historical Romantic Novel, Romantic Comedy Novel and Young Adult Romantic Novel, with the RoNA Rose Award, formerly Love Story of the Year, also to be awarded along with the Harry Bowling Prize for new writing, sponsored by Headline. Organisers said the new awards reflected "the modern appetite for romantic fiction which encompasses a variety of genres".

RNA president, author Katie Fforde, called the new logo, featuring a heart and a book, "bright, simple, versatile and memorable". She added:  "Together with our new-look RoNA awards, we hope it will help bring the Romantic Novelists' Association to the forefront of the minds of everyone involved in the industry."
The winners will be announced at a ceremony on 5th March 2012, with the winner of each category then entered for the Romantic Novel of the Year award, with the results of that to be announced on 17th May 201

Friday, 25 November 2011

New appointmentst at Quadrille and Harvill Secker Publishers

Quadrille has made a series of promotions and appointments within its sales teams, with Melanie Gray stepping up to become UK sales director, joining the board at the independent publisher.

Gray was formerly international rights director. Alex Elliott has been promoted to deputy head of UK sales and head of stationery sales, with Margaux Durigon promoted to head of international sales. Agata Sarnowska has joined the company as international sales executive, having previously worked as a rights manager at Macmillan Children's Books, and at Carlton Books as a foreign rights executive.

Harvill Secker has appointed Alison Hennessey as its senior crime editor. She will begin in the newly created role in January 2012 and joins from Vintage where she was editor and digital media executive since 2010. She will be responsible for commissioning and publishing crime novels in translation, as well as finding UK talent.

Friday, 18 November 2011

World Book Day set for another revamp for 2012

World Book Day is set for a 2012 revamp, with new management, branding and digital promotional ideas hoping to achieve more than one million book token redemptions.

WBD will return on 1st March 2012—led by children’s marketing specialist Kirsten Grant as its new director and Penguin’s Joanna Prior as chair—with a new push after what Prior described as a “loss of energy for redemptions” which were not getting children “excited enough”.
read more

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Physical book sales down year-on-year in October

Printed book sales in October slumped 8% year-on-year, due largely to poor sales within the paperback fiction and biographies/memoirs sectors, Nielsen BookScan data has revealed.

In total, £144.7m was spent on physical books in the four weeks to 29th October, a rise of £14m, or 12%, on the previous four-week period, but down £12.3m on October 2010.

According to an analysis of Nielsen BookScan's Top 5,000 bestseller list, sales within the paperback fiction sector were down 15% year-on-year in October, while sales within the biographies/memoirs genre were down a dire 43% year-on-year, due largely to poor sales of celebrity memoirs.

Due in part to the migration from print to digital, sales within the fiction sector were down 13% in the month of October, due principally to a 15% drop in sales of paperbacks.

read more

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Kobo to move into publishing in 2012

Kobo is to move into publishing, its c.e.o. has announced, with plans to offer complete publishing services directly to authors, Canadian CBC News reports.

C.e.o. Michael Serbinis told the network that Kobo will roll out its programme sometime in 2012. He said: "It's part of the new market and if you expect to be a number one player in that market globally its table stakes—you have to provide it."

Kobo will offer services including book editing and design to authors, although it is currently unclear whether the e-reader company will publish print books, or just e-books. It is also unclear whether it will be a self-publishing initative or a full-service programme, such as Amazon's, where the company has hired publishers and editors with a traditional publishing background. Amazon's publishing arm now includes six imprints, including the most recent launch, 47North, a sci-fi, fantasy and horror imprint.

Meanwhile, in its reaction piece to the news, Quill & Quire reports that Canadian Booksellers Association president Mark Lefebvre joined Kobo this week in the newly created role of director of self-publishing and author relations.

This follows Kobo and W H Smith's link-up in the UK, with Smith's now stocking Kobo's e-reading devices.

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Bernard Shaw Musicals Competition launches to find new writing talent

The Bernard Shaw estate, represented by the Society of Authors, has teamed up with Mercury Musical Developments and RADA to launch a competition in search of a new musical based on a Bernard Shaw play, a potential rival to My Fair Lady, Lerner and Loewe’s triumphant version of Shaw’s Pygmalion.

Associates of Mercury Musical Developments are invited to submit an outline treatment consisting of a synopsis, a scene and no more than three songs for a new show based on one of two Shaw plays: Man and Superman, the story of Jack Tanner, Shaw’s very own Don Juan, or The Devil's Disciple, a tale of rebellion and self-sacrifice set against the background of the American War of Independence.

Entries will be assessed by a panel of industry professionals and their shortlist will be judged by an eminent panel of experts.

The winning entry will receive a commission fee of £3,600 and its writers will be commissioned to develop their work into a full draft which will then be given a workshop production at RADA.

The competition is open to all writer associates and professional writer associates of Mercury Musical Developments. Details of how to join MMD are at Rules of the competition and an entry form can be found at

Submissions deadline: 1 February 2012

Monday, 14 November 2011

Publisher Faber on self publishing bandwagon

Publishers it seems are jumping on the self publishing bandwagon or at least some are dipping their toe in the water and seeing if they can make money out of those who wish to self publish. Faber have launched a self publishing academy.

Faber Academy director Jason Cooper says that it does not represent a conflict of interests for the publisher.
"There is a huge amount of interest in self-publishing at the moment, and we would want to make the most of that,' Faber say.  They go on to add, 'and help them realise their ambition if that is their path . . . I think as a publisher, if we are worried about self-publishing, the solution is to publish people. I think we can see that there are people in different situations and with different ambitions who will go down different routes."

He added that the three day course was a "bit of an experiment", and it was dependent on the interest the course attracted as to whether it would run again.

The course, "Bring Your Book to Market", will run in February 2012. Author, journalist and social media champion Ben Johncock and writer, blogger and digital self-publishing exponent Catherine Ryan Howard will be the course tutors, with Faber publishing director Hannah Griffiths also giving a one-hour session entitled "Rules for Authors".

Friday, 4 November 2011

People in Publishing

Algonquin Books will start publishing young adult and middle grade books by the end of 2012 and has hired Elise Howard, formerly svp and associate publisher of HarperCollins Children's Books, to oversee the program. Howard plans to start the new list with up to a half dozen titles next year and build "gradually" from there. She will work out of Algonquin’s New York office, starting in mid-November.

Anthony Cheetham newest start-up as Head of Zeus is now public. The line is set to debut next summer in the UK with Robert Massie's CATHERINE THE GREAT biography. Cheetham, who is funding the new venture himself along with "close associates" for now, plans for another 10 titles of "general books with a slightly upmarket feel" in print for 2012, along with a separate list of commercial fiction released in ebook first.

Cheetham says, "this is not a blueprint for some huge group. This time I prefer to retain ownership and management, so one is not forced to sell it. I'd like this one to stick around for a while."

Rowland White will return to Penguin UK, where he worked for 12 years, as publishing director for Michael Joseph after two years as nonfiction publishing director for Orion. White will concentrate on nonfiction and thrillers and report to managing director Louise Moore.

As of January, Chris Gillespie is being promoted to svp, associate publisher for Knopf, Pantheon and now Schocken.

Nancy Miller has been promoted to editor-in-chief at the Bloomsbury imprint at Bloomsbury USA, reporting to publishing director George Gibson. Executive editors Anton Mueller and Kathy Belden and senior editor Ben Adams will report to Miller.

Chris Calhoun, who was a vp at Sterling Lord Literistic, has left to start his own company. He will represent a select list of author and poets, but will also work on selling literary archives and rare manuscripts in association with James Goldwasser.

Jennifer Heddle has joined Lucas Books, the publishing division of Lucasfilm, as senior editor, overseeing the adult fiction in their Star Wars publishing programs with Random House and Dark Horse Comics. She was at Gallery and Pocket Books.

Literary scout Lucy Abrahams has been hired by Suhrkamp/Insel in Germany.

Angus Killick is joining Macmillan Children's in the new position of vp, associate publisher, reporting to president Jon Yaged. Killick will coordinate publishing programs across the group's imprints, lead the children's marketing team, oversee key marketing campaigns, and pursue business development opportunities. He was associate publisher and director of marketing at Kingfisher.

Karyn Marcus will join Simon & Schuster as a senior editor starting on October 31, focusing on non-fiction and suspense fiction. She spent the past three years as an editor at Thomas Dunne Books.

At Douglas & MacIntyre, Jesse Finkelstein has been promoted to the new position of director, publishing services and operations, and will continue to be responsible for D&M’s digital and foreign rights programs as well. In addition, Trena White moves up to associate publisher, responsible for the imprint's day-to-day activities in addition to acquiring non-fiction titles.

Agent and author Jeff Herman is launching a social network at in November, for writers, agents and editors.

Joseph Calamia joins Yale University Press as an editor, reporting to the executive editor for science and medicine, Jean Thomson Black. Calamia recently earned a master’s degree in science writing from MIT and will acquire for the science list.

HarperCollins has acquired "the majority of titles" published by Esther Margolis's Newmarket Press. The publisher's list comprises over 200 books on film (particularly screenplays and "making of" books that tie in to award-winning movies), theater, and performing arts, as well as over 100 titles on parenting, psychology, health, biography, history, and business as well as some fiction. The only titles not included in the agreement are inactive ones that will revert back to the rightsholders. At one point, HarperCollins had served as Newmarket's distributor.

Barnes & Noble's chief financial officer Joseph Lombardi has resigned his position, and corporate controller Allen Lindstrom will act as interim CFO while the company conducts an executive search. Lombardi will stay on as a non-officer employee until the middle of next year "to assist in the transition."

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

An especially good series hero with real problems is the key to creating a good crime novel

DI Andy Horton in my marine mystery police procedural crime novels has been described as 'an especially good series hero, a likable fellow with plenty of street smarts and the requisite personal baggage - an abrasive supervisor (DCI Lorraine Bliss) and an antagonistic soon to be ex wife.' Booklist (USA). Heroes in detective novels usually have their own set of problems and the key to producing a successful crime novel is not necessarily that the hero saves the world, aka James Bond, although I like a crime novel where the hero gets his guy, but that he also learns something about him or herself by the end of the novel.

At the Bouchercon 2011 crime fiction convention in St Louis last weekend, crime authors agreed that they like to create ordinary people as heroes with real problems and that they write the stories they’d like to read, knowing that it will inevitably strike a chord with readers. That has always been true for me. I write the sort of crime and thriller novels that I like to read, good characters and an intriguing plot that get me thinking. I don't do gratuitous violence. I am not out to shock the reader but to entertain him or her and get them rooting for my hero, even if they do occasionally get frustrated by his actions.

The reason for putting ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances is to build more tension. Readers tend to support characters in which they recognise certain traits they have themselves. In my thriller, In Cold Daylight, Adam Greene is a reluctant hero who throughout the novel has to do things he'd rather not. He has to face his own demons before he can discover the truth about his closest friend's death, fire fighter, Jack Bartholomew. Adam is ill equipped to take up the dead hero's quest to get to the truth behind fire fighter's deaths from cancer, but he finds he has no choice. The aim is to make the reader think would I be strong enough to do that?

An author needs to get the reader caring about the hero and I certainly get great satisfaction when people ask me is Andy Horton going to get back with his wife, Catherine? Will Andy find out the truth about his mother's disappearance? Who is Andy's father? These are not the main strands of the novels - six now in the series with number seven being published in the the New Year - but they are the things that have shaped Andy Horton and made him what he is and therefore affect his decisions and his interactions with his colleagues and the villains.

One of the conclusions from Bouchercon this year was that the crime genre can show us the realities of ordinary people in everyday lives. Readers want to learn about people, and in my view they also want to get stuck into a good crime to solve, a puzzle. They want to feel for the characters, and urge them on just like you do when watching a good movie. And no matter the format of a crime novel, printed book or e book, that will always be the case.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

The CWA Announces Debut Dagger Competition 2012 for budding crime writers

The Crime Writers' Association has announced that the 2012 Debut Dagger Competition will be open from October 22nd, 2011 through January 21st, 2012.

The Debut Dagger is open to anyone who has not yet had a novel published commercially. All short-listed entrants will receive a generous selection of crime novels and professional assessments of their entries. The first prize is £700 plus two tickets to the CWA Awards, which will be held in July 2012.

Entrants are required to submit the first 3000 words of their crime-themed novel plus a 500-1000 word synopsis of the rest of the novel. The short-listed entries are circulated to all the editors and agents who are members of the Association, and also to an increasing number who contact the CWA asking to see the list. Since its inauguration, over two dozen winners and short-listed authors have obtained publishing contracts.

For more information, including the application form, visit the Debut Dagger page on the CWA website.