Digital-first imprints are making waves in the industry, and are proving to be a fast-paced alternative to a more traditional publishing route.
Could you tell us a little about yourself and your role at HarperCollins?
I’m senior commissioning editor at Avon and I’m looking for brilliant commercial fiction to publish on both the Avon and Maze lists. I look after eight authors – all of them very different with diverse but equally brilliant books! I’ve been here for almost two years and worked before at Michael Joseph and Transworld and before that as an agent’s assistant at Abner Stein.
Avon is well known for publishing fantastic women’s fiction, but your crime list is garnering a lot of attention, particularly Paul Finch’s DS Heck series, and C L Taylor’s The Accident. What do you think is the secret to commercial crime fiction success?
Tricky question! You need a great conceit – a really hooky pitch that you can get across to someone in about ten seconds. If you’ve gone on for longer, you’re likely to have lost your audience. In addition I think it helps to have a digitally engaged author who understands the importance of Goodreads, Amazon and other etailers, and a great voice on social media. It also helps if they’ve got a good ‘story’ for publicity purpose and if they are willing to get out and about on the crime circuit and engage with fans and retailers. Oh and a good cover helps as well.
Avon recently launched a new digital-first imprint, Maze, could you tell us a bit about it and how it will work?
We’ll be publishing a minimum of 15 books per year and our goal is to discover, publish and globally build new talent from debut authors supported by competitive pricing, arresting packaging and innovative social media activity. At the moment all of our submissions are agented but we may look to do an open submission later in the year. Watch this space …
There are already a few digital-first imprints, including HC’s very own Impulse – why now, and what do you think Avon can bring that’s new and different?
I think it’s important to mention Avon’s stellar track record in digital publishing. We’ve had a plethora of top ten Amazon hits in the last year (C L Taylor, Jacqui Rose, Paul Finch, Miranda Dickinson) and so feel that Maze is a great platform for the Avon Team to launch and create new brands. Maze content will be commissioned, edited and packaged by the highly skilled and successful Avon team.
In addition we will provide, a unique hand-publishing experience, and dedicated editorial expertise, guidance and collaboration. We have access to a digital sales team who are the industry leaders in digital publishing. Our relationships with key retail partners have powered our eBooks to bestseller status.
We can offer outstanding sales, publicity and social media strategies including dynamic pricing, effective social media campaigns and special key account promotions.
What are you and the team on the lookout for to publish through Maze? What would you love to find?
Our remit is pretty broad! Avon’s heartland is in women’s fiction and saga but recently we’ve had great success with crime in ebook (Jacqui Rose, Paul Finch, Mark Sennen and C L Taylor to name but a few) so we’d love to find some brilliant British crime. Good sagas are like gold-dust – we’d love to find a new saga. Speaking generally we’re looking at a fairly broad remit under the fiction umbrella – we’re looking for crime and thrillers, women’s fiction, historical fiction, saga, erotica, fantasy and horror.
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