Traditional Publishing

Writers' News

S&S UK to Launch Summit Books U.K. with Ravi Mirchandani at the Helm – Thursday April 18, 2024

On the heels of Simon & Schuster's recent revival of Summit Books, headed up by former Little, Brown editor-in-chief Judy Clain, Simon & Schuster UK has announced it will relaunch the imprint in the U.K., tapping Picador editor-in-chief Ravi Mirchandani as publisher.

Mirchandani has helmed Picador in the U.K. since 2019, and has spent the past decade at the Pan Macmillan imprint. There, his authors include Patrick Radden Keefe, Douglas Stuart, and Hanya Yanagihara. His publishing career has spanned nearly 40 years, and prior to Picador, he served as editor-in-chief of Atlantic Books, publishing director of William Heinemann, and editorial director at Penguin Books. At Summit Books UK, Mirchandani will report to Suzanne Baboneau, managing director of Simon & Schuster UK’s adult publishing division, effective September 2.

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Trade debates shift towards shorter books for children – Thursday April 18, 2024

A notable shift towards shorter children’s books is being reported by publishers, agents and librarians, with many welcoming what they see as a challenge to the idea of length as “a marker of merit”, particularly in relation to middle-grade titles. The development is also seen as a way of getting reluctant readers “back into reading” following the pandemic and its impact on comprehension and enjoyment levels.

Discussions at the Bologna Children’s Book Fair around declining reading levels, exacerbated by the pandemic, were accompanied by discussions about book length, difficulty level, and what some see as “unrealistic expectations” around middle-grade titles. One attendee told the Bookseller that “there is a real feeling that books are too long and need to be shortened as attention spans and comprehension decline".

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New Literary Agent Listing: Ciara Finan – Thursday April 18, 2024

I am looking for fantasy, romantasy, dark academia, rom-coms and romance, book club fiction, psychological thrillers, historical fiction and commercial non-fiction. I’m particularly interested in finding and championing stories by writers from underrepresented backgrounds and communities.

[See the full listing]

Dead Ink launches open call for northern crime fiction – Wednesday April 17, 2024

Dead Ink Books is launching an open call for short literary crime stories from northern authors ahead of a new list focused entirely on northern crime fiction. 

The scheme is a collaboration between the indie publisher and literary agencies Curtis Brown and Conville & Walsh. Agents from Curtis Brown and Conville & Walsh will be reading initial submissions. The winners’ stories will be published in an anthology, Motives Unknown, in addition to a "small fee" and a consultation with a literary agent. 

Dead Ink director Nathan Connolly said: “We’re looking for works in the genre that have that Dead Ink touch – compellingly written, transgressive, bold and daring. We’re on the hunt for new talent as we prepare for a new venture and we want to foreground writers from our home region.

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New Magazine Listing: Heavy Traffic – Tuesday April 16, 2024

Fiction magazine with open submissions and no criteria. Send submissions by email.

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New Literary Agent Listing: Sally Ekus – Monday April 15, 2024

Represents a wide range of culinary, health, wellness, and lifestyle talent, from first-time cookbook authors to seasoned chefs, RDs, professional food writers, bloggers, online creators, and journalists.

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Ernest Hemingway’s Advice to Aspiring, Young Writers (1935) – Thursday April 11, 2024

Here in the twenty-twenties, a hopeful young novelist might choose to enroll in one of a host of post-graduate programs, and — with luck — there find a willing and able mentor. Back in the nineteen-thirties, things worked a bit differently. “In the spring of 1934, an aspiring writer named Arnold Samuelson hitchhiked from Minnesota to Florida to see if he could land a meeting with his favorite author,” says Nicole Bianchi, narrator of the InkWell Media video above. “The writer he had picked to be his mentor? Ernest Hemingway.”

What Hemingway offered Samuelson was something more than a literary mentorship. “This young man had one other obsession,” Hemingway writes in a 1935 Esquire piece. “He had always wanted to go to sea.” And so “we gave him a job as a night watchman on the boat which furnished him a place to sleep and work and gave him two or three hours’ work each day at cleaning up and a half of each day free to do his writing.” To Hemingway’s irritation, Samuelson proved not just a clumsy hand on the Pilar, but a fount of questions about how to craft literature — something Hemingway gives the impression of considering easier done than said.

Nevertheless, in the Esquire piece, Hemingway condenses this long back-and-forth with Samuelson into a dialogue containing lessons that “would have been worth fifty cents to him when he was twenty-one.” He first declares that “good writing is true writing,” and that such truth depends on the writer’s conscientiousness and knowledge of life. As for the value of imagination, “the more he learns from experience the more truly he can imagine.” But even the most world-weary novelist must “convey everything, every sensation, sight, feeling, place and emotion to the reader,” and that requires round after round of revision, so you might as well do the first draft in pencil.

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Peter James announced as special guest for Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival – Monday April 8, 2024

Peter James has been announced as the final “special guest” for the 2024 Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival, taking place from 18th to 21st July in Harrogate.

James is the author of the Detective Superintendent Roy Grace series (Pan Macmillan), which has been adapted into an ITV drama starring John Simm. He will mark his 20th Roy Grace book at the festival with an exclusive preview of One of Us is Dead, which will be published by Pan Macmillan in September 2024. The author is scheduled to be in conversation with TV presenter Louise Minchin, and will also talk about his new standalone novel, They Thought I Was Dead (Macmillan), revealing the fate of Roy Grace’s missing wife Sandy. 

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What’s On: Bournemouth Writing Festival, various venues – Monday April 8, 2024

AUTHORS, poets and amateur and professional writers are invited to join more than 100 workshops and events organised as part of the Second Bournemouth Writing Festival.

Writers appearing this year include award-winning author Kathleen Whyman, editor and writer Gary Dalkin, self-publishing success Matt Shaw and bestselling author Alex Stone. The writers will be discussing a range of topics from plotting a novel to choosing the best publishing options.

Following the success of its inaugural event, the Bournemouth Writing Festival returns from Friday 26th to Sunday 28th April, bringing together a diverse community of local and UK-wide writers, authors and professionals for a weekend of learning and collaboration.

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The Importance of a Great Setting in Crime Fiction – Monday April 1, 2024

Some years ago, I was working on a draft of my first real mystery thriller. In the opening pages, I included a bit of description meant to establish the location of the story (my hometown, Gainesville) and the time of year (late spring, the most miserable season in Central Florida). When I submitted the chapter to a writing workshop, one of the more experienced writers in the group immediately commented: “You need to cut all this setting stuff. Thriller fans don’t care about setting. They want to get to the action, quick.”

Like most writers, I passionately despise criticism of any kind, but this rankled more than most. It rankled, of course, because I knew that the writer who had made this comment (a very elegant and smart older lady with a couple of published novels under her belt) was partially right. Not about the “thriller readers don’t want to read about setting” part (I totally disagreed with that portion of her response; my disagreement is, in fact, the topic of this essay), but with the fact that I was rendering my novel’s setting improperly. That is, I was describing the setting in a very lazy and arbitrary manner, disconnected from what was actually happening in my main character’s mind or, for that matter, in the plot.

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