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Publishing News (14/09/2020)

Publishing Moves North with HarperCollins

HarperNorth, founded in 2020, is “at the vanguard of the movement to widen publishing’s regional diversity” and finally we see publishing break out of the confines of the M25 to 111 Piccadilly, Manchester. 

Explaining the logistics of the new venture, The Bookseller reports that the Manchester-based division will be headed by Oli Malcom, who currently oversees Harper NonFiction and Avon. They are expected to publish twenty titles across all genres in the first year, looking specifically to find regional authors to increase geographical diversity in the industry.

Announced on 21 January, industry figures generally welcome the move. Jeremy Pratt, MD of Crecy Publishing, commended the location choice for its transport links and affordability as well as the quality publishing that is available in the city. Simon Ross, of Manchester University Press and Stephen Lotinga, CEO of Publishers Association, also saw the move as a positive. Some northern indies, however, were sceptical. Stefan Tobler of And Other Stories and Kevin Duffy of Bluemoose Books see the move as “bittersweet”: it seems that despite the many vibrant cities in the north, publishers only acknowledge Manchester. These indies celebrate the wealth of opportunity the move brings for authors, and hopefuls, but see this as merely a “first step” into the north.

In the nine months since the announcement, HarperNorth have been incredibly active on Twitter and have displaced any scepticism the industry had regarding their recruitment and acquisitions. On 8 July, the public hashtag #askharpernorth allowed people to send in any questions they had on publishing, books and writing. 

The HarperNorth submissions portal removes the complications of agents as well as the need for an author photo. However, they still require the standard 250-word pitch, a short synopsis, an author biography of 100-200 words and social media links. They aim to respond to submissions within 6 weeks. Currently, they have open submissions for both fiction and non-fiction work. The books do not need to be based in the north, as long as the author can call the north their home. According to their Twitter, the imprint claims that this will stay open unless submissions require more time to read through than is available.

Should you wish to send a finished manuscript to HarperNorth, firstly accept our congratulations on finishing your manuscript, and then email They are accepting all adult non-fiction and fiction, from crime to rom-com and memoir to history, with the exception of poetry, plays and children’s books. 

Publishing director, Genevieve Pegg, said “We know what it is (we're) looking for - people to feel their voices are a bit of an outlier."

The first book is due out in autumn this year. The Lancashire Post has also revealed that their first non-fiction acquisition has roots in Liverpool. Melissa Reddy, football author, has been commissioned to write the story of Liverpool’s journey to the Premier League win, due out on 15 November. Watch out for Believe us: The story of how Jürgen Klopp led Liverpool to Victory

In the most striking move since the announcement, HarperNorth set up the Northern:Lite days to help northern publishing hopefuls launch their publishing career. In the absence of work experience and placements as a result of COVID-19, they have launched these virtual open days to allow candidates to learn about editorial, marketing, publicity, production and networking. Similar to PRH’s work experience placement, candidates will be chosen randomly and no previous experience is required!

With industry professionals and experts, such as Genevieve, offering one-to-one Q&A sessions, masterclasses, careers clinics and CV advice, this opportunity will be invaluable for anyone seeking to start their career. We highly commend HarperNorth for offering such an experience for people.

To get dates, times and application details, head to this website. We wish you the best of luck!

You can also sign up for their newsletter, which will also be packed full of helpful tips to get into publishing.

In the words of Suzanne Collier, of @bookcareers, who tweeted her support for the publisher, we “know you’re all going to finally change the publishing landscape for the better!”

Jamie Oliver: 67 Weeks of Chart-Topping Success

Jamie Oliver is undoubtedly one of the biggest names in non-fiction publishing, with his impressive track record of producing best-selling cookery books. Whenever you walk into a Waterstones, you’ll almost certainly find one of his books on a table close to the door. His VEG: Easy and Delicious Meals For Everyone was published in August 2019 but can still be found in a prime-selling position in most stores: an achievement that few books can boast weeks, let alone months after publication.

Since records began, Jamie is the best-selling British non-fiction author and the second best-selling British author, behind only J.K. Rowling. To date, he has sold 14.55 million books. Now he has added to these achievements by spending a 67th consecutive week in the number one spot of the UK Official Top 50.

His 23rd book 7 Ways was released on 20 August and sold 34,241 copies in only five days, earning him a wealth of positive reviews from the offset. It shares seven ways to cook eighteen of our favourite ingredients and create new recipes from supermarket staples. It is this focus on accessible, cheap and exciting food that makes Oliver Britain’s favourite cookbook writer.

Oliver’s publisher Michael Joseph (@MichaelJBooks) took to Twitter to celebrate his achievement.

7 Ways builds on Jamie’s long career of helping families eat better for less. Beyond his books he has had a significant impact on the food sector through his campaigns to reduce childhood obesity and improve people’s health through nutritious food. His most famous drive was his mission to tackle the quality of school meals by banning processed food. He successfully highlighted the importance of feeding children’s brains and his campaign led to the government introducing new standards for school dinners in 2015. These new regulations stated that each meal had to include at least one portion of vegetables, and that fried or pastry-based foods could only be served twice a week.

As Britain’s most recognisable TV chef, he has hosted a number of successful television shows beginning with The Naked Chef in 1999 when he was spotted by a production company whilst working as a chef at The River Café, Hammersmith. Since then he has been a familiar face on our screens, taking us around the world on his American Road Trip and saving busy families time and money with His Fifteen Minute Meals.

With many families currently facing financial difficulties, the nation will undoubtedly be turning to Jamie’s cookbooks for years to come.

Unmissable Online Festival: Diary of a Debut Novelist

An online festival, Diary of a Debut Novelist, has been launched by a group of debut authors in partnership with The Caledonia Novel Award, an Edinburgh-based, international award for unpublished and self-published novelists.

Each week in the month of September, a different debut author will share their experiences of becoming published. From when and why they started writing seriously and how they found an agent to represent them, to how they secured a publishing deal and what the editing process entails, any question an aspiring author might have will be answered.

Emma Christie, debut author of The Silent Daughter and organiser of the festival, hopes the events will inspire writers by sharing what it’s like to be a debut novelist in the times of COVID-19. She was inspired to create the festival after joining a Facebook group for debut authors who were set to launch their work during the pandemic. 

She said to The Bookseller:

"Finding the debut author group on Facebook has been a total blessing for me. I’ve never actually met any of the members in person but despite that there’s a fantastic sense of community between members. We trust each other. It made me realise we all suffer the same doubts and paranoias—and that it’s okay to talk about them openly. It’s also a group that inspires and encourages members, and a place where our successes are cheered on and celebrated.”

"We all share our stories in the group, and I realised these same stories could and should be told to a bigger audience—to inspire, educate, reassure and encourage unpublished writers, and to give readers a deeper insight into the experience of a debut novelist. I’m delighted to be joining forces with The Caledonia Novel Award for this event and hope together we can inspire and encourage aspiring writers not only in Scotland but across the country—and the globe!”

Wendy Bough, Edinburgh-based editor and founder of The Caledonia Novel Award, said

“I’m delighted to be involved in Diary of a Debut Novelist! The COVID-19 lockdown has affected the fortunes of so many debut novelists, and it’s great to be part of a positive response. I hope that this exciting venture will encourage aspiring writers to get their stories out there!”

The first session aired at 7.30pm on 2 September. All sessions are pre-recorded on Zoom before being broadcasted on the Diary of a Debut Novelist public Facebook Page every Wednesday throughout the month and are shared across all of The Caledonia Novel Award’s social media channels. All sessions have a live Q&A at the end where the audience can ask the participating authors any questions they might still have.



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