Open submission launches HarperCollins digital crime imprint

HarperCollins is extending its Killer Reads web presence – a promotional tool and online community for its crime titles since 2009 – into a digital-first crime and thriller imprint, and the publisher has revealed that it will launch the list with titles discovered via open submission. For one week only between 29 August and 4 September, the label will accept all the manuscripts the crime writers of the world can throw at it regardless of whether or not they have agents. After its launch Killer Reads hopes to put out one or two digital titles a month, so the search for new authors is presumably a method of shoring up its backlog in order to sustain that model. It follows a similar move from HarperCollins’ speculative fiction imprint, Harper Voyager, in 2012.

HarperCollins deputy publishing director Sarah Hodgson tells The Bookseller: ‘Our Harper Impulse digital list has open submissions all year round, while the Borough Press held a limited open submission which it found really productive. This is something that will be a cross between the two, which we’re hopeful will tap into a lot of new material, and if it’s successful, it’s something that we could do again […] I think a lot of our audience is very engaged with our books, they’re very intelligent and very knowledgable about the genre, and I imagine a lot of them write themselves. This is another route to publication that can sit alongside manuscripts coming the traditional way, through agents.’

Manuscripts should be completed works written in English and totalling at least 70,000 words. Each manuscript should be accompanied by a synopsis of no more than 500 words outlining the complete plot – including the ending – a one paragraph summary and a list of main characters, and an author biography no longer than one page including blog and social media information and details of any creative writing courses attended, previously published short stories, literary prizes won and relevant mentors and contacts. All submissions should be e-mailed as Word documents to but not before 29 August or after 4 September.

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