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Vivendi, who took full ownership of the Paddington brand worldwide in 2016, and HarperCollins Children’s Book, home of Paddington Bear publishing for sixty years, presented today a ground-breaking, six-year deal for world publishing rights at the Bologna Children’s Book Fair, the most important professional trade show dedicated to publishing and content for kids.

Paddington Bear is one of the most widely recognized and beloved children’s literature characters, with millions of fans all over the world. Studiocanal’s Paddington was the best-selling non-Hollywood family movie ever released and the brand ranks among the top five most influential franchises in family entertainment.

The deal marks the beginning of an exciting new chapter in Paddington’s history forming a powerhouse partnership of media and content creation that will introduce Paddington to a new generation of readers on the global stage. Launching with a movie tie-in programme, co-published by HarperCollins US and UK, to coincide with the Paddington 2 movie this autumn, the partnership creates a strategic alliance of heritage and future vision which will establish a worldwide brand loyalty for Paddington Bear and reach and entertain families across the globe.

Kate Ellis is Assistant Editor at Avon, HarperCollins’ commercial fiction arm. Before emigrating over the border to London, Kate had a crash course in publishing at three Independent Welsh publishers and spent 18 months dabbling in education books in Athens, Greece (with lots of hilarious stories to tell). Here Norah Myers interviews her on the step up from Editorial Assistant.

1) How have your responsibilities increased since you became an assistant editor?

My responsibilities have changed enormously. I’ve taken on authors of my own which means I’m now not only co-ordinating copyedits, I’m editing myself. I’m briefing my own covers (EEK) – seeing an idea that you have in your head come to life and actually look good is such a rush. I now have the opportunity to acquire books (I’ve recently acquired my first title), build relationships with authors and agents, do cover research and briefs, write social media campaigns, and actually have a say in what we publish and say things to authors like, ‘this is going to sound crazy, but go with me…’ (hopefully they do).

It has been really challenging managing my own work, while also assisting and taking on work from others. I’ve earned the privilege of pushing back and saying ‘no’ to extra work. I’ve just got to learn how to say it…!

2) What is decision-making like in your new role, and how have you learned to trust your decisions as part of your new responsibilities?

It’s the scariest thing I’ve ever done. Ever. But also the most liberating. For the first few months, I kind of sat back and allowed the people around me to guide me and give me ideas to work from. I adopted the ‘I’m just an assistant, what do I know?’ attitude. Multiple heads are certainly better than one (especially when they’re experienced heads), but I’ve learned that I have to trust my instincts.

When you’re working on something, you’re the closest person to it and you know it better than anyone. So why shouldn’t you have a say? You’re not going to get very far in publishing if you don’t have a voice.

I recently had to brief the cover for my first acquisition. I thought I had sussed out what it needed to look like, but it just wasn’t translating onto the page. It wasn’t until a few rounds of designs, and a very deflated me, that I really took charge. I did a load of research and said exactly what route we needed to go down. When the covers came in for the third time, I knew instantly which one it was and, luckily, everyone else agreed. Being bold, taking charge and owning something is the only way to do it, as scary as it seems. It also made me think, wow, I’m actually okay at this.

It’s incredibly encouraging to work in an environment where, no matter what you say, your opinion is heard. And with people who hold their hands up and admit ‘so, I know this is going to sound stupid, but…’ and say it anyway!

3) What do you look forward to as your role progresses?

I’m most looking forward to tasks taking less time and becoming second nature. Everyday I’m still learning all the things I have to do that I didn’t know about.

I can’t wait to have all the knowledge that my team around me has. When I first started, they were talking about covers and authors that I had no idea about. Now, I’m able to join in and bring my own ideas to the table. So I’m looking forward to just rolling names off my tongue and not having to say, ‘you know, that one with the rolling hills and flowers on it?’.

I’m also really excited about the editing possibilities. It’s every editor’s dream to have bestsellers and to have played a part in the book that’s on everyone’s lips. So what I’m most looking forward to is being the lead (as scary as the prospect seems) on a big hitter. The next 50 Shades. I’d happily be that person who inflicts the next big thing on the world… (sorry in advance).

4) What’s the most interesting thing you have learned about yourself as you have grown into your role?

I’ve learned that I’m actually quite strong. It’s a tough industry and a very fast paced one. You’ve got to be right for it, otherwise you’ll totally crumble.

I’ve gone through quite a few highs and lows already and, although the lows were pretty tough, and sometimes totally deflating, they’ve only helped me develop. It’s great to be at the top, flying high, but it’s the lows that you really learn from.

5) What advice do you have for current editorial assistants looking to progress into their next positions?

Be honest with your manager about what you want to do. Ask for more responsibility, ask if you can shadow an edit or two. The more you get editorially involved, the better. It’ll show that you’re eager to progress and it’ll also give you more to put on your CV (hey, if they don’t recognise your talent, someone else will!).

I learned very quickly that you’ve got to take charge of your own career and progression. If you don’t ask to do more, someone else will. So make sure you’re the person who doesn’t miss out because someone else got in there first. No one is going to run your career but you.

literay agent

Rory Scarfe spent ten years as a non-fiction publisher, most recently as the director of the HarperSport division of HarperCollins, where he published some of the biggest names in sport, including Mike Tyson, Usain Bolt, and Team Sky. He joined Furniss Lawton in 2014, where he works with a range of non-fiction and fiction authors. Here Norah Myers interviews him about the new venture.

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Go Set a Watchman – Harper Lee’s unexpected companion piece to her sole previous novel, To Kill a Mockingbirdhas sold 1.1 million copies across print and digital in its first six days on release in the US and Canada alone. After going on sale last Tuesday (14/07/2015), the book became the fastest selling title in the history of HarperCollins, with the publisher saying on Monday morning (20/07/2015) that it had gone back to press for a further 1.3 million copies. With an initial run of 2 million, that puts the total number of copies in print at 3.3 million.

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As you’ve no doubt heard about, got tired of, called 2 Kill 2 Mockingbirds along with the rest of the internet then got tired of calling 2 Kill 2 Mockingbirds, Harper Lee is set to release a second novel this summer, 55 years after the publication of To Kill a Mockingbird.  On July 14 (happy Bastille Day!) HarperCollins (and William Heinemann in the UK) will publish Go Set a Watchman – an unpublished work Lee set aside 60 years ago to focus on Mockingbird, which will focus on the earlier book’s semi-autobiographical child protagonist Scout as an adult.

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Kim Gordon memoir gets release date, cover

Little over a year ago we reported that Kim Gordon – co-founder of Sonic Youth, visual artist, feminist hero – was to release a memoir with HarperCollins imprint It Books and… that was all we knew at that point. No title, no release date, no idea of the period covered, nothing. That’s changed this past week, with the release date confirmed as 24 February 2015 (almost exactly 30 years after the release of Sonic Youth’s second LP, Bad Moon Rising), and further details revealed about the book’s contents, including the title – Girl in a Band – and the below cover art.

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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.

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London Publishing EventNot long to go until our face-to-face meetings at London publishing events are replaced by virtual meet-ups. Where the familiarity of shaking someone’s hand is replaced by the opening of a Webcam.

This idea is just evolving. In June 2014, HarperCollins hosted its first ever virtual Romance Festival. If you were lucky enough to take part you’ll know that it was attended by several of the biggest authors in the world, as well as a number of industry experts.

Sam Missingham, Head of Events at HarperCollins, who organised the festival is kindly presenting it as a case study at a new London Publishing Event – BookMachine London on 22nd July. It was the first publisher-agnostic virtual event organised by a publisher ever, and we are chuffed that Sam will be joining us to present and answer questions about the London Publishing event.

We would really like to thank Inspired Selection for sponsoring this event. Inspired Selection is a specialist recruitment consultancy dedicated to serving the publishing industry, across all markets, both in traditional print and digital media. The Inspired Selection team will also be attending BookMachine London on 22nd July.

 

A new initiative hit the book world this week: BookGig, ‘all the events from the authors you love’.

What’s interesting about that?

Well, it’s one of the few initiatives launched by a publisher (HarperCollins) that isn’t narrowly focused on that publisher’s own lists. ‘Publisher agnostic’, they’re calling it. Which is exactly what readers are, of course. HarperCollins have recognised that to do anything worthwhile they need scale, and to get scale they need comprehensive coverage. (Their reward, apart from the kudos and the opportunity to promote their own events and authors, is of course the contact details of hundreds or thousands of book lovers aka potential future customers.)

It’s also interesting because of the way it zooms in on a key point of differentiation – in a book ecosystem dominated by Amazon’s sheer scale, author events are a blue ocean of opportunity. (BookMachine fans know the value of a good event better than most, of course.) They’re also a win-win-win scenario: for the author, the opportunity to convert readers into raving fans; for publishers and booksellers, the opportunity to sell significant quantities of books; for readers, an experience that gives depth and texture to the book itself.

I’m fascinated by the range of events already featured – not just your traditional author readings and book launches, but book clubs, business breakfasts, workshops, even a walk. The possibilities are infinite: masterclasses, demonstrations, debates, all-night readings, fan fiction competitions, maybe a sneak preview of a new book with the opportunity to contribute or collaborate?

This for me is the most exciting space for publishing in the digital age – brokering not just a transaction but a relationship between author and reader.

future of the bookAlison Jones (@bookstothesky) is a publishing partner for businesses and organizations writing world-changing books. She also provides executive coaching, consultancy and training services to publishers. www.alisonjones.com

HarperCollins Children’s Books is delighted to announce a new multi-book deal with master storyteller Michael Morpurgo. The deal for world rights, concluded by Executive Publisher Ann-Janine Murtagh and Veronique Baxter at David Higham, sees HarperCollins remain the principle home for Michael’s fiction until 2019.

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skills gaps in the publishing industry

Following on from Seonaid MacLeod’s popular post on ‘skills gaps in the publishing industry’, here we have an interview with, Stephanie Hall, Resourcing Manager at HarperCollins. Stephanie will be speaking at ‘Transferable skills in creative industries‘ on 19th August.

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Starting tomorrow and running into Saturday (13 and 14 March), Waterstones and HarperCollins are partnering for the Killer Crime Festival, billed as the first virtual crime festival, taking place both online and irl, i.e. in Waterstones branches across the county. The festival sees authors, scriptwriters, criminal psychologists, ex-cops and ex-prisoners in conversation in sessions on Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus and, in a startling innovation that’ll surely amount to nothing, face to face with their audiences.

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Last summer we reported that HarperCollins was to relaunch its Killer Reads online community as a digital-first crime and thriller list, and that its initial wave of releases would be discovered via a week of open submissions. Now, with its first publication date of February 19th little over a fortnight away, the imprint has revealed the first three titles it has bought from those submissions, along with three additional titles submitted via literary agents.

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As revealed earlier in the month, later this week HarperCollins launches Killer Reads – its new digital crime imprint – with a week of open submission. Any aspiring authors who need one final nudge to submit their manuscripts may be heartened by the news that this week also brings details of the result of an earlier call for submissions from the publisher: HarperCollins’ sci-fi and horror imprint Harper Voyager accepted unagented submissions for a fortnight in October 2012 – the first time it had done so in nearly a decade – and has now announced plans to publish 15 novels discovered as part of that initiative.

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As if a piddling thing like dying last year is any kind of obstacle to a man of his stature – new material is forthcoming from the mighty Elmore Leonard in 2015. Well, ‘new’ – Weidenfeld & Nicolson is set to publish a single volume containing 15 of Leonard’s previously unavailable short stories dating from his tenure as a copywriter at a Detroit ad agency in the 1950s, around the time he first started writing novels and before he was earning enough to support himself from that latter pursuit. HarperCollins holds the US rights to the volume.

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