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.
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