for writers and readers….

The books that UK publishers want to commission in 2013

Here’s a tour of what 23 leading fiction editors say they want to land on their desk in 2013.
This is just a summary – You can read the article in full here.

An even shorter summary would be:
a commissioning editor really wants the next big thing…
but then that’s what we hope we are writing.


Sarah Adams Transworld

Publishes mainly crime/thrillers but  “excited by genre-busting authors” such as Kate Atkinson.

Wants:  quality writing and a killer concept that taps into everyday fears, new authors who can think beyond their first book


Katherine Armstrong, Faber and Faber

Publishes crime and thriller fiction

Wants:  strong central characters, good writing and compelling narrative that surprises.


Emma Buckley,  Random House

Publishes women’s fiction, historical and crime novels

Wants:  character-led fiction with substantial or gritty themes that delivers an emotional punch.


Rosie de Courcy,  Head of Zeus

Commissions series women’s and general fiction – the kind that could be considered for the Costa or The Orange.

“At any one time I aim to have three or four ideas in my shopping basket, for which I shall be seeking authors.”


Kirsty Dunseath, Weidenfeld & Nicolson

Wants: good storytelling and a plot and doesn’t let go.


Jo Fletcher, Founder and Publisher, Jo Fletcher Books, an imprint of Quercus Editions

Publishes Fantasy, Science Fiction and Horror  “pretty well any type of story, as long as there’s an imaginative element.”

Wants: excellent story telling


Marcus Gipps, Gollancz/Orion Books

Publishes Fantasy, Science Fiction, Horror, literary genre, some paranormal romance/urban fantasy and some YA crossover-genre

Wants: well written hard SF, and the paranormal genre as along as it is different to what is already out there.


Alison Hennessey,  Harvill Secker

Publishes literary crime, thrillers and mysteries and straightforward literary fiction.

Wants: unusual settings and characters who don’t have to be instantly likeable


Clare Hey, Simon & Schuster

Publishes ‘reading group’ fiction and historical fiction.

Wants:  novels with a strong hook and original concept.


Laura Macdougall,  Hodder & Stoughton

Publishes commercial/literary fiction

Wants:  debut novels from rising stars, books that deal with important ideas and issues, historical fiction, crime and contemporary fiction that shows the reader another side of a place they think they already know.


Anne Meadows,  Granta and Portobello Books

Publishes high-quality literary fiction

Wants: more of the same especially from China or young academics who can tell a story


Max Porter, Granta Books & Portobello Books

Wants: ambitious fiction by young writers.


Kate Parkin, John Murray

 Publishes literary fiction, crime and thrillers, both contemporary and historical.

Wants:  good writing & strong narrative but also has a “growing appreciation of the power of charm”, quirky can be very popular. Will only commission two or three new writers this year who can offer something distinctive including “thought-out approach to social media.”


Gillian Redfearn,  Gollancz

Publishes Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror, Urban Fantasy and just a touch of ‘Crossover’ YA

Wants: sharply-observed writing that comes from the heart, convincing characters, strong fantasy adventures, steampunk and magic.


Mark Richards,  Fourth Estate

Publishes literary fiction.

Wants:  Books with at least some comedy in them and deal with social issues – try to tell us how we’re living now.


David Shelley,  Little, Brown Book Group

Wants:  a very strong central hook, a gripping narrative that deals with subjects that have not been tackled before in fiction.


Ruth Tross, Editor, Mulholland Books

Publishes suspense fiction, crime, thrillers, horror, police procedurals, psychological suspense etc etc.

Wants:  books that cross or combine genres in some way, an unlikely or unusual point of view, a setting outside big cities or the UK – some unique element, more women writers, a big modern political/social/conspiracy-ish thriller, something like State of Play in book form.


Julia Wisdom, HarperCollins

Publishes Crime and Thrillers

Wants:  an original voice, terrific plotting ability and some new angle on the various sub-genres, historical crime, mash-up fiction, and psychological thrillers


Jane Lawson, Doubleday

Publishes quality fiction

Wants:  great stories with strong emotional pull.


Gillian Holmes,  Arrow

Wants: strong narrative non-fiction with a female bias. Fiction: compelling popular fiction


Helen Garnons-Williams,  Bloomsbury

Publishes: literary fiction

Wants: something surprising and trailblazing


Claire Baldwin, Headline Publishing Group

Publishes a wide range of commercial to upmarket, literary fiction from historical fiction with a darker edge, to fantasy.

Wants: Cross-over novels with intriguing, thought-provoking hooks, stories with heart, or that get my heart racing, and books that might have particular appeal for  international markets.


Sarah Savitt, Faber

Wants:  In fiction, a great storytelling, exceptional prose and a big emotional impact. In non-fiction, a great narrative book about  triathlons also feminist and topical non-fiction  for women and  narrative non-fiction which explores society and politics through individual lives


7 comments on “The books that UK publishers want to commission in 2013

    January 30, 2013

    Hi, thanks for this very useful.

    Best wishes Pat   -Patricia Osborne


  2. Thanks for this Bridget very useful info

  3. bridget whelan
    January 30, 2013

    I found it fascinating so I thought that others might also. Think the message is definitely not ‘same old, same old’….

  4. Vikki (The View Outside)
    January 30, 2013

    Excellent post Bridget! 🙂


  5. bridget whelan
    January 30, 2013

    Thanks Vikki – can you see your WIP fitting into any of these slots?

  6. Pingback: This Is the Way the World Ends (Gollancz SF Collector’s Edition) by James Morrow « Rafferty's Rules

  7. Pingback: The most popular posts of 2013 were about publishing opportunities, the Nobel Prize and a rather misleading X rated story… | BRIDGET WHELAN writer

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


This entry was posted on January 30, 2013 by in News and tagged , , .


%d bloggers like this: