Traditional Publishing

Writers' News

New Publisher Listing: Nine Arches Press – Thursday March 30, 2023

Publishes poetry collections. Accepts submissions during specific submission windows. See website for details.

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‘Normal People for married people’: How to land a book deal for your first novel – Wednesday March 29, 2023

Lauren Mackenzie is just the latest writer to benefit from the Irish Writers Centre’s Novel Fair, which helps pair new talent with literary agents

Kevin Barry once said he’d wager that “some of the most brilliant writers who ever lived have never been published”. He was making a case for the importance of discipline over talent. (In his scenario, the brilliant writers hadn’t managed to complete any work.) But what of those brilliant and disciplined writers who have gone undiscovered, their manuscripts sitting latent on a laptop?

Over its first 12 years the Irish Writers Centre Novel Fair has uncovered a great many such writers and manuscripts. The speed-dating-style pitching event, whose 2024 edition is launched today, seeks to bridge the gap between yet-to-be-discovered talent and industry professionals.

First, writers are chosen by a panel of judges, based on the opening 10,000 words of a manuscript. Next, these writers polish and submit their completed novel. After that comes a seminar, where the budding authors are briefed on the pitching process. Then comes the fair itself, at which they pitch their novel to agents and publishers in the hope of securing representation, a book deal or both.

Among the fair’s past successes are Michelle Gallen (Big Girl, Small Town), Caitríona Lally (Eggshells), Kevin Curran (Beatsploitation), Olivia Fitzsimons (The Quiet Whispers Never Stop) and, recently, Lauren Mackenzie, whose debut novel, The Couples, will be published by John Murray in July.

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Books: As demand for sex fiction hots up, UK bookshelves will soon be heaving under weight of steamy titles – Tuesday March 28, 2023

Readers can expect a stream of erotic fiction, memoir and relationship guides to appear in book shops, and for titles to have a greater focus on inclusivity than traditional mainstream offerings

Things are about to start hotting up between the covers for British bookworms after publishers predicted bookshelves across the country will soon be heaving with steamy titles.

A host of offerings centering on sex, relationships and intimacy is due to be released in the coming months to cater for readers starved of physical closeness and affection during the Covid-19 pandemic and seeking escape from the bleakness wrought by the cost of living crisis.

Readers can expect a stream of erotic fiction, memoir and relationship guides to appear in book shops, and for titles to have a greater focus on inclusivity than traditional mainstream offerings – which have typically focused on heterosexual monogamous relationships – publishers, literary agents and authors have revealed.

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How Annette Lyon Went From Writing "Sweet Romance" to Suspense – Wednesday March 22, 2023

People who know me as a romance writer might see my new suspense novel as something that came out of nowhere. At first glance, my history would bear that out.

When my first novel was published by a small press, I really didn’t like the title they picked. It sounded too romantic for a book where, to me, the entire point was something else: the concern of a mother for her child. I made some tweaks so the title would point to that underlying theme. It had a suspense subplot, but there wasn’t really a way to get that across in the title or cover.

My second novel also had a romantic arc and a suspense subplot. My third was my first foray into historical fiction, which scared me. Readers said it was my best work yet, which told me that stretching myself had probably made me grow as a writer. That story also had a mother deeply concerned about her daughter. It didn’t have a suspense subplot, but it did open with a house burning down.

What I thought would be my fourth was a murder mystery, but the publisher suggested I do more historical, as my last book had outsold the others. I set the mystery—and my suspense ideas—on a shelf to gather dust with the many creepy resource books I’d collected about poisons, death, injury, firearms, and more.

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Does it pay to be a top author? – Sunday March 19, 2023

Does it pay to be a great novelist in New Zealand? The Detail talks to two authors about how they make a living spinning a good yarn.

Catherine Chidgey

Catherine Chidgey has been writing novels for almost 30 years - and she's one of our most celebrated writers on the scene at the moment.

Every morning, she's up at 6, writing. She does the school run, goes to her day job as a lecturer in creative writing at Waikato University, gets home, dinner, and then she's in bed - again, writing.

"It's insane," she laughs. "I don't recommend this schedule for anyone out there. Basically I have no other life."

She's just cracked the shortlist for the Jann Medlicott Acorn prize for fiction in this year's Ockham New Zealand Book Awards, for her 2022 novel The Axeman's Carnival.

It's a prestigious prize, too - carrying a $64,000 pay-out to the successful author.

But Chidgey's not in it for the money. She's in it for the passion.

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Sheppard leaves DHH to establish new literary agency – Wednesday March 15, 2023

Hannah Sheppard is leaving the DHH Literary Agency to launch a boutique agency with a focus primarily on commercial adult fiction and children’s fiction from middle grade through to YA. The Hannah Sheppard Literary Agency (HSLA) will be opening to submissions from 14th March 2023.

While at DHH, Sheppard worked with authors Dee Benson, Sarah Bonner, Abi Elphinstone and Chris McGeorge among others, and will continue to represent the majority of her client list at her new agency. With HSLA, Sheppard aims “to consciously build a community of authors who celebrate diverse and joyful representation and also commits to opening the agency’s virtual doors to aspiring authors for a monthly Zoom drop-in to help demystify publishing”.

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Words of wonder: A look behind the scenes of Ireland's thriving literary magazines – Wednesday March 15, 2023

The Moth may be departing, but there's no shortage of other outlets for writers seeking publication. Here are profiles of a few of them 

Who, in their right mind, would start a literary magazine? Plenty of people, it would seem, if the growth in publishing outlets for new writers, particularly online, is to be believed. While they’re often seen as a kind of cottage industry, small literary magazines are part of a bigger picture.

 They provide a temperature check of the cultural climate, they’re a resource for talent-scouting publishers and a first stop for the big names of the future. Sally Rooney’s work, for example, first appeared in The Stinging Fly (see panel) so their influence is often way out of proportion to their size.

We spoke to three journal editors at varying stages of the process to find out what possessed them to enter the perilous world of literary publishing.

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Why Would Someone Steal Unpublished Manuscripts? – Tuesday March 14, 2023

Filippo Bernardini has been accused by the government of stealing over 1,000 book manuscripts. In court filings, he said he was motivated not by money but by a love of reading.

For more than five years, someone was stealing unpublished book manuscripts from editors, agents, authors and literary scouts. The question of who was behind the scheme baffled the publishing industry, but just as perplexing was another question: Why?

Most unpublished manuscripts would be almost impossible to monetize, so it wasn’t clear why somebody would bother to take them. Filippo Bernardini, who has pleaded guilty in a fraud case in which the government said he stole more than 1,000 manuscripts, offered an explanation on Friday in a letter addressed to a federal judge.

Bernardini said he stole the books because he wanted to read them.

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New Publisher Imprint Listing: Basalt Books – Tuesday March 14, 2023

Welcomes proposals for book projects anchored in the Pacific Northwest, particularly those focusing on the people, places, and cultures of the greater Northwest region. We encourage both established and first-time writers to contact us with your ideas. We are committed to publishing well-written and well-told stories.

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Do we still need the Women’s Prize for Fiction? – Friday March 10, 2023

Nine debut books were among the 16 novels to make the cut in this year’s Women’s Prize for Fiction long list, announced this week. But what relevance does a gender-exclusive award retain when women dominate the contemporary world of publishing? 

When the Women’s Prize for Fiction was launched in 1996 it was badly needed. Back then, female writers found it hard to get their work published. If they did succeed, their work was, all too often, unappreciated by critics and under-acknowledged. It’s clear that is no longer the case.

Women buy 80 per cent of all novels. At the time of writing, the New York Times top 15 bestseller list features 13 female writers. One global survey found 60 per cent of literary agents to be female; another poll, in the American publishing industry, found that 78 per cent of publishing staff overall were female, including six in ten at executive or board level. According to figures from the Bookseller, 629 of the 1,000 bestselling fiction titles from 2020 were written by women. By 2021, female-authored books sold more copies on average than those written by men. 

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