Wednesday, January 16, 2013

What UK Fiction Editors Want 2013

Eighteen of the UK’s leading fiction editors describe the kinds of books they are looking to commission in 2013…

Sarah Adams, Publishing Director, Transworld
I publish fiction, mainly crime/thrillers, and I thrive on discovering new talent. My list ranges from ‘up and comers’ Belinda Bauer, S. J. Bolton & Wiley Cash, to brand names Mo Hayder and Tess Gerritsen. I am excited by genre-busting authors such as Kate Atkinson, Rosamund Lupton and S J Watson.
Forgive the clichés, but I’m looking for compelling storytelling, quality writing and a killer concept that taps into our everyday fears. For me to publish a book passionately, I want it to give me palpitations because I haven’t read anything like it before, or because it is twisting the genre, bringing a unique voice to the table, taking me into a world not so different from my own and terrifying me.
If this is a series, give me characters I’ll yearn to meet again. It helps if an author is prepared to work hard to establish themselves and compete with the heavyweights in a very crowded area of the market. It is also important to know what ideas new authors have beyond their first book.

Katherine Armstrong, Editor (Crime), Faber and Faber
The e-book explosion over the past couple of years has been particularly good for genre fiction, especially crime and thrillers, and I don’t see this appetite abating any time soon. My first acquisition as a Commissioning Editor, Chris Ewan’s wonderful Safe House, has been incredibly successful on e-book, as has Julia Heaberlin’s debut Playing Dead. For an editor the e-book age heralds a different way to think about the written word and how it’s read by people, especially a more technologically adept new generation.
I specialize in crime and thriller fiction and I am always on the lookout for books that have strong central characters, good writing but, above all, a narrative that hooks me in and keeps my interest right to the end. If it’s a ‘whodunit’ then nothing annoys me more than guessing the killer by chapter five (my record is by chapter four!). I always like reading manuscripts that offer a different take on the genre: something that, while it might have been done before, delivers in a surprisingly different way.

Emma Buckley, Editor, Random House
I am a fiction editor at Transworld lucky enough to publish across a range of genres, which is perfect for me as my tastes are quite eclectic. I currently have several women’s fiction, historical and crime novels on my list and am always on the lookout for the next book I can’t put down, or that I’m still thinking about days after finishing, or which I find myself re-reading paragraphs of because it’s so beautifully written.
The fiction that appeals to me tends to be character-led with a strong voice and a compelling central hook. In terms of women’s fiction, I love novels that are well-written but deal with fairly substantial or gritty themes – stories that can combine a huge emotional punch with commercial appeal. I love historical fiction with a really strong, appealing protagonist who can convincingly take the reader with them on their adventures in another period. And I love a good mystery – crime novels that race along, twist and turn and keep you up at night.
Regardless of genre, I am ultimately looking for unforgettable books that demand to be talked about, that you feel a need to share and pass on to others as soon as you’ve finished them.

Read the rest at Andrew Lownie Literary Agency

1 comment:

Mark Hubbard said...

Max Porter's comments (on the link) are fascinating, quote:

"For Granta, I am extremely excited to see how Eleanor Catton’s staggering second book The Luminaries is received because it marks a turning point in the way novels are written. If more fiction by young writers lands on my desk that is as ambitious as what Eleanor is doing, then 2013 will be very special. "

... A turning point in the way novels are written? Can't wait to read it.