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Category: Commissioning

Philip Connor

What Editors Want: tips from the experts for editorial success

I interviewed 15 editors whose work I admire for my new podcast, What Editors Want, to find out what they look for in a book and what tips they have for other editors.

Here’s some of what I learnt along the way:

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Anne Trubek

How to handle conversations that begin with “I have a good idea for a book”

Anne Trubek is the founder of Belt Publishing, a small press focused on quality non-fiction about the Rust Belt and Midwest. Her Notes from a Small Press newsletter is packed with useful insights into the publishing process, and this recent edition about assessing whether a book idea has commercial potential is as relevant to acquiring editors as to aspiring authors.

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Colin Steven

Velocity Press: interview with founder Colin Steven

Whatever else 2019 is offering us, one thing is certain: this is a great era for small-but-powerful publishing startups. In this interview, we meet Colin Steven, the founder of new independent publishing house Velocity Press.

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Tech in Publishing

Commissioning: The insider’s guide to building strong lists

Bookmachine Unplugged: Talking Editorial, 3 April 2019

Acquiring books for six-sum figures, huge advances and bidding fights for undisclosed sums of money do not usually represent publishing as a whole. These types of headlines are actually worlds away from much of the industry. So how do commissioning editors build their successful, strong, balanced lists? Many stimulating insights and tips were shared with a very attentive audience at the second Bookmachine Unplugged event of 2019, a galvanizing talk with a Q & A session on the topic of commissioning.

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A double life in publishing: Interview with Yasmin Kane, publisher and literary agent

A literary agent for 14 years, Yasmin Kane set up her own publishing house, Three Hares Publishing, in 2014. A firm believer that you need to move with your times, Yasmin strives to be at the cusp of change in a continuously evolving and fast-paced industry. Her agency, Kane Literary Agency, specialises in thought-provoking YA and children’s fiction, whereas Three Hares publishes adult, YA and children’s fiction. 

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Inclusivity and Publishing

Inclusivity and Publishing: Where are we not looking? And how can you help?

Brittany Yost is a student at University College London pursuing her Masters in Publishing. She received her undergraduate degree in English Literature and Communication Studies with an emphasis in Intercultural Communications. She has served on two separate professional diversity committees and has been leading inclusivity and bias training seminars since 2010. She is originally from Seattle but enjoys venturing between her home city and London.

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Small independent presses

Small independent presses: interview with Cécile Menon

Tomorrow evening (Wednesday 16th May), a group of BookMachine-goers will be joining the TLS in London for an event which focuses on small, independent presses and the current trend which has seen a 79% increase in sales by sixty of the UK’s smallest publishers. Here Norah Myers interviews one of the panellists Cécile Menon. Cécile is a translator between French and English, and the joint-laureate, with Natasha Lehrer, of the 2016 Scott Moncrieff Prize for Translation from the French, Cécile is also a publisher and an editor. 

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Small press case study: Influx Press – an interview with Sanya Semakula and Kit Caless

Thanks to Francesca Zunino Harper for setting up this interview.

After being awarded the Republic of Consciousness Prize last week for Attrib. And Other Stories by Eley Williams, Kit Caless and Sanya Semakula, the team agreed to tell us a little about the life of a small press, and the challenges and advantages that come with it.

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Is this the age of small presses? An interview with Neil Griffiths, founder of the Republic of Consciousness Prize

Thanks to Francesca Zunino Harper for setting up this interview.

The Republic of Consciousness Prize is a passionate tribute to small presses’ hard work, original authors’ inventiveness, and high-quality, unconventional books. The ceremony for the second year of the prize was held last Tuesday 20th March in the University of Westminster’s Fyvie Hall.

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Working in publishing

Inclusive, collaborative and energising: Jeremy Trevathan talks about 2018

Jeremy Trevathan, Publisher, is responsible for the shape, direction and profitability of the adult publishing lists at Pan Macmillan in the UK. His authors have included many bestsellers including Ken Follett, Jeffrey Archer, Max Hastings, James Herbert, Wilbur Smith, Peter Hamilton, China Mieville and Roy Jenkins to name a few. Here, Norah Myers chats with him about being named in 2017’s Bookseller 100 and his plans for 2018.

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Fifty Shades

Fifty Shades of Commercial Success

Kate Ellis is a freelance editor and runs Ellis Editorial, specialising in commercial crime, thriller and women’s fiction. She is also an editorial mentor for the WoMentoring Project. Here, she chats with Norah Myers about the popularity of EL James’s Fifty Shades series.

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Only connect: The publisher’s role in helping ideas spread

Nigel Wilcockson, head of Random House Business Books, recognizes three categories of business books:

‘There is the management strategy book, which is what people think of straight away when they think of business books… you’re trying to get across ideas that may be relatively common currency but you’re finding a fresh way of putting them across.

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Infrastructure of publishing business

The reinvention of storytelling

Thousands of years ago, we told stories to each other. The best stories were those that could be repeated over and over again, changing little, those that embodied tribal memory, with strong, often repetitive structure and big heroes and villains. There wasn’t much by way of interior monologue or intertextuality.

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