Big news, HUGE!!
There are lots of things that get us excited here at @TeamBATC HQ. Cute cats in hats. George Clooney drinking coffee. The perfect pair of shoes. Nail varnish. Sherlock…
But I have to say, our news last month resulted in even more jumping up and down than usual.
Firstly, we opened our doors to find the next eBook star of the commercial women’s fiction world. Publishing in eBook is such an exciting and fast-moving world, and offers a fantastic opportunity for new authors to reach readers…and we at Books and the City want to discover and publish the very BEST new authors.
To kick us off, and for #oneday only, we asked for your submissions. Yes, that’s right; we wanted to hear from YOU. And I have to say, we were overwhelmed by the response… a huge pile of ‘first 3 chapters and synopsis’ are now sitting next to my desk, just waiting for me to delve into. Can’t. Wait! We hope to be able to get back to everyone who submitted before the end of September, but please do bear with us!
Secondly – we were giddy to announce a commercial women’s fiction-focused creative writing masterclass, which will take place on Saturday 15th November, here at Books and the City HQ! Aimed at as-yet-unpublished writers, the event will consist of a morning of one-to-one sessions with editors Jo Dickinson and Clare Hey and uber literary agent Lizzy Kremer, and afternoon panels for a wider audience with bestselling author Milly Johnson, Peter Saxton who is Publisher Liaison Manager at Waterstones Head Office, and Isabelle Broom – Book Reviewer at Heat Magazine!
Tickets will are now on sale so be quick, as this really is a super opportunity for all you budding women’s fiction authors.
Here is Editorial Director Clare Hey, who is one of the panellists and editors on the course, to fill you in with some more info.
‘We’re really excited to be running this one-day masterclass and I wanted to let you know what you can expect from the day. We know the world of publishing can feel impenetrable to those who are not yet published and so we want to help you with your next steps on the road to becoming published. Perhaps you are an aspiring writer with a great idea who hasn’t yet put pen to paper, or you may have already completed a novel and want to know where to go next. If so, read on…
This event will aim to help you on the next steps with your novel, pooling the talent behind the scenes at Books and the City to give you our top tips and insights into how to hone your writing, how best to get an agent and editor to notice you, and what booksellers and reviewers are looking for.
The day is split into two parts. The morning will consist of a series of fifteen-minute one-to-one sessions which will be perfect for writers who have already completed a first draft of their novel, or are very close to doing so. These sessions will be with either Jo Dickinson, Lizzy Kremer or myself (Clare Hey), and as we will have read the synopsis and first chapter of your work ahead of the meeting, along with your pitch letter, we will be able to give you personal feedback on what we have read. If you have something specific you would like to discuss, we will be able to advise, too. These sessions aim to be personal, detailed and constructive – your chance to have direct contact with an agent and editors who specialise in women’s fiction and to get direct and honest feedback.
The afternoon will be opened out to a wider audience in a series of panels, taking you from how to know when your novel is ready to submit, how you ought to submit and how best to get noticed, to sessions on what editors are looking for and how booksellers and reviewers spot talent. There will be some Q&A opportunities so you’ll have plenty of time to ask any burning questions you have, and there’ll be a drinks reception to give you time to mingle with your fellow writers and the team at Books and the City.
We’re excited to meet the writers of the future and look forward to a creative, fun and useful day.’
GLITTERATI EVENT REPORT
On 28th August, we hosted a fabulous Girls on Tour event at our favourite 5* hotel bar – Red Bar – at Grosvenor House Hotel with bestselling authors Ali Harris, Jane Costello and Paige Toon. It was a brilliant night with lots of chat, fizz, cocktails, cupcakes, doughnuts and an awesome goody bag for everyone that attended. We were also lucky enough to have our friends from Benefit Cosmetics on hand to give complimentary ’make-uppers’ to all guests and the wonderful Hannah Beckerman as our compère for the evening! We are hoping to go back to Red Bar for another #Glitterati event in Spring next year, so will let you know as soon as we can!
Want to know which books the team here at Books and the City HQ recommend for guaranteed satisfaction over the Summer? Sure you do!
NAME: Sara-Jade Virtue
When I was 16 there was no such thing as snap chat. Or twitter. Or tinder. There was no MySpace or Freeview. No Facebook, no Wii. No Wi-Fi, no internet or tablet or laptop or Apple. No kindle. Not even a CD let alone a DVD or a ‘digital’ let alone a mobile. But there was something, for me, more thrilling, more addictive and wonderfully pioneering than all those things put together. Her name is Jackie Collins and in 1986 when I was just 16, she wrote a book called Hollywood Husbands and every Summer without fail I reread this book. And I fall in love with my Ultimate Book Boyfriend – Jack Python – each and every time. So my Summer Reading Satisfaction Guaranteed title just HAS to be Hollywood Husbands for anyone who wants to be transported to a world full of glamour, power, scandal, intrigue and money.
Name: Agi (@Agi_mybookshelf)
I remember, as if it was yesterday, the day my mother brought Lady Boss home. She had actually brought two books by Jackie Collins, but this one became my favourite of all time. I remember feeling as if all my Christmases had come at once… my first ever adult book! I was around 14/15 at the time, and as soon as I had finished it, I turned back to the first page and started to read it all over again. Then I started to buy all the other books that Jackie had written. Lady Boss felt like all my dreams had come true, there was glamour, sex, bad language, thrills, drama, and action… lots and lots of action. I felt so sophisticated while reading it:) This book had me hooked, I wanted to finish it as soon as I could but also didn’t want it to end, and I still feel like this today, with all Jackie’s books. I have read them all but Lady Boss is still and will always be my Satisfaction Guaranteed read. My original copy is pretty beaten up now, but I still have it and to be honest, I’m never going to replace it with other copy, it’s just too precious.
Name: Trish Hills (@tishylou)
Blog: Tishylou’s World
As a 20 something who had moved from Canada to the UK, I quickly found solace in books. Chick-lit/women’s fiction became my favourite genre and Jennifer Weiner was one of the early authors I discovered. I love all of her books but In Her Shoes grabbed me because of the wonderful story of friendship between the sisters. I grew up with a brother and always wished I had that bond, although not always smooth, it’s one to cherish. The shoes also played a huge part in my love for this book! I used to wish I could own designer gear. I just love to escape into this book!
Name: Sarah Werbelow (@MPTsCityofBooks)
Before I started book blogging I had mostly been into chick lit books. It always had to be something with a great romance and tons of emotions. One Perfect Summer reminded me of how much I had loved these books when I was younger. Reading One Perfect Summer felt so gratifying that I didn’t want it to end too soon. To me this book was a chick lit love revival on 464 pages and Paige Toon my newest author crush!
Summer’s always been the time reserved for eating ice cream, going to the beach and dreaming a little about all the places I want to travel to. With the stunning Dorset background in the beginning, the cliffs and wide plains, it wasn’t difficult at all to dream myself into Alice’s story of first love and become a part of it. Alice and Joe’s love story is romantic, urgent and real. One Perfect Summer starts with Alice and Joe in their teenage years and continues with Alice going to college and exploring what the future has in hold for the two of them. Set in London, Cambridge and Dorset, this book fits exactly into that light summer read category, that uplifts your reading spirits and takes you to far away newfound places. One Perfect Summer isn’t just a fling but a splendid summer read that will stay with you for a long time!
Name: Jill Stratton (@jillstratton)
Blog: Jill Loves To Read
I was recently lucky enough to read The Time of Our Lives. The book, to me, sums up a feel good summer read. Through it I discovered a group of best friends who know each other inside out. They are embarking on what should be the short break of a lifetime. The novel has all the fun, drama, laughs and escapism that you would want from a summer read, but it also has some gorgeous poignant moments, and of course there is a hot man involved! There is one disaster after another that will at times have you roaring with laughter and no doubt have others staring at you like you are a loon, but it will leave you feeling warm and with the feeling that life is pretty cool. I really enjoyed it and would happy recommend to others.
Name: Amanda Moran (@onemorepage)
Blog: One More Page
I love all of Rebecca’s books – they are all big, glitzy, sexy, dramatic reads, just perfect for a bit of summer escapism but one of my absolute favourites is Killer Heels. Imagine The Devil Wears Prada but bitchier, Fifty Shades but sexier and Ugly Betty with even more drama and you have Killer Heels which is set between London and New York in the glamorous world of high fashion magazines. The story follows the fortunes of Coco Raeburn who will do anything to get to the top and her equally ruthless boss Victoria Glossop. I loved Coco’s rise from rags to riches. The story is told alternatively from Coco and Victoria’s viewpoints with some amazing plot twists that made this an absolute page turner and perfect summer read for me!
Name: Erin McEwan (@erinschoicee)
Blog: Erin’s Choice
It’s really hard to pick one favourite novel from Paige because I love Chasing Daisy too, like LOVE it, but there is something about Johnny Be Good that just has me reaching for it over and over again. I could probably quote it verbatim and I love visiting books I’ve already read over the holidays. It’s the perfect summer read. It’s set in LA mostly, so even if you’re not going on holiday this year you can live vicariously, and it involves the MC being PA to a rockstar, a gorgeous untamed brilliant rockstar called Johnny Jefferson. If he alone doesn’t satisfy your summer reading then I’ll eat my sun hat.
Name: Simona Elena (@skydreamersimi)
Last summer during my holidays I read One Perfect Summer and fell in love with Paige Toon’s style of writing, I had to get all her other books instantly! I spent most of my summer reading her books and that brought me into this great book blogging world – so thank you Paige. It’s hard to choose a favourite, but I have to go with Chasing Daisy because I just adore this book. It’s the perfect summer read, full of drama, real emotion, fun, great characters, a gripping storyline and it will get you hooked instantly!!! I experienced a whole range of emotions reading this book, crying at one point and then laughing at another, it’s a heart-warming, sweet and amazing story, perfect for a lazy day at the beach.
Name: Shaun (@bookaddictshaun)
A few years ago I bought a book from Waterstones and the rest, as they say is history. That book was Chances by Jackie Collins. Chances is my favourite book of all time. It is an incredible book. It is like ten feature length films in one. I remember the first time I read it and how amazing I thought it was. People describe books as ‘unputdownable’ but this literally is, it’s annoying when you have to stop reading and the hours fly by like minutes when reading it. I don’t know how many times I’ve read it but each time is just as good as the first and I’m not bored yet.
Lucky Santangelo is a one off and an absolutely fantastic character. She is my favourite fictional female character ever. So addictive to read about. Gino is another great character. Chances has a wonderful cast of characters, all of whom are believable. Carrie’s story is so horrible to read about but not all that hard to imagine. Reading about America in the 20s, 30s etc was so enjoyable and fascinating and I loved feeling like I was there myself.
Chances doesn’t read like a book, you forget that you’re reading a book and instead get lost in the world that Jackie Collins has created. This book, and indeed many of her other novels, has everything. Sex, glamour, love, comedy, murder, treachery, tragedy, money, everything you could possibly want from a book.
Name: Natalie McCormack (@PajamaBookGirl)
Milly Johnson is without a doubt ChickLit royalty. Her books are always easy, charming, and full of character. My Milly Collection has, over the years, become one of my favourites and has go to books for when I’m in the need for something uplifting.
I first came across Milly when I read Here Come The Girls and instantly fell in love with it. Since then I have been on a Milly spree and have read every book she has to date. Here Come the Girls is still up top, but has recently been pushed out of my number one spot by her latest release The Teashop on the Corner. It is honestly a book that will have you giggling like crazy one minute and wiping a tear with sadness the next. The suspense element has you gripped and it lasts right through to the final pages without dragging or becoming tedious. And of course as usual it is packed full of northern charm, which to me is the key element in what makes Milly an author who stands out from the rest. She does not take herself serious at all and you see that in her writing. I’m happy to say I’ve had numerous chats with her and can vouch for that too. It is always a pleasure to read her books.
Name: Heidi Bartlett (@Cosmochiklitan)
My Summer Reading Satisfaction Guaranteed title? Easy! Definitely Here Come the Girls by Milly Johnson. I’ve read this book a few years back when it first came out and immediately fell in love with Milly’s cheerful writing style and her funny and entertaining description of cruise ship life. Her characters are extremely likeable and so well thought out and developed that experiencing the whole storyline together with them is a piece of cake. I always wanted to go on a cruise holiday, even more so after reading this fantastic book! I normally don’t like reading books more than once, but this is one novel I could read every summer to evoke the perfect summer feeling in me – sun, sea and more sun and more sea (and of course a few hiccups and complications along the way J). Here Come the Girls literally screams summer read at me and I am sure that everyone who has read this title will agree with me.
Name: Jennifer Joyce (@Writer_Jenn)
Blog: Jennifer Joyce Writes
Last year, I turned thirty. Which is pretty scary. Yes, it was just one more number than twenty-nine, but it was also something much more. It was saying goodbye to my twenties. It was reaching a significant milestone that only a decade ago had felt a million years away. But here it was, staring me in the face and there was nothing at all I could do about it. I was in my thirties now and there was no going back.
And then The Wish List was published and I devoured it. It captured all the thoughts and fears I’d had myself about turning thirty, but it did it in such an amusing and uplifting way. I loved the characters and knew exactly what Emma was going through, although she had her list to complete before thirty smacked her in the face, which was fun. Why hadn’t I made a list myself? Maybe I’ll make one before I turn forty…
Name: Zarina de Ruiter (@zarinatweets)
Blog: Page to Stage Reviews
I fell in love with A Gift to Remember as soon as I laid eyes upon its stunning cover. This may sound superficial, but while I try not to judge a book by its cover I can’t help but find myself drawn to a particular title because of the way it is presented. The striking image in this case showed the characters cut-out from the pages of a novel and as a bibliophile myself this appealed to me immensely.
The story within was as beautiful and romantic as I expected from the cover. It tells the tale of the bookish Darcy who frequently disappears within the pages of her treasured novels, dreaming about her namesake Mr Darcy and the equally handsome Mr Rochester in between her shifts at a small independent bookstore in New York. This was instantly recognisable as, let’s face it, who hasn’t swooned over gorgeous but fictional men before? I’m sure if the choice existed many women would opt for their perfect literary hero over the often disappointing reality.
To continue on with the bookish theme, each chapter from Darcy’s point of view started with a book-related quote relevant to her situation. Some of them I had heard before and already loved, but others were new and enlightening to me. The literary theme, combined with the introduction of swoon-worthy Aidan and loveable husky Bailey, made for a delightfully romantic and heartwarming read.
Name: Suz & Jaydee (@B00kShelf)
Blog: Page Central (BookShelf)
I read The House By the Sea in 2011 and it has stayed in my mind since. When a book stays with you that long, you know it’s a brilliant book and that the impact it has had on you, has been huge!
Name: Emma Louise (@EmmaIsWriting)
Last summer, I picked up a book from ASDA. I hadn’t heard of the author before and it was before I became a book blogger. The book was The Longest Holiday by Paige Toon. Before I had even read the blurb, I fell in love with the charismatic cover. The soft sunshine colours were heaven. When I read the blurb, I immediately knew I’d love the book and therefore, I purchased it straight away. When I arrived home, I read it straight away and oh wow! What a treat. The Longest Holiday will always be my favourite novel by Paige. Not because of hunky Leo, or the love he has for his friends. But because Paige welcomes you with open arms to her fictional world. You can’t help but be swept away by her imagination. I loved the setting of Florida and when I was there myself in November, I spotted a couple of places which were mentioned in the book. That increased my love for the book. It’s not just the book I love, it’s Paige as well. She’s the one who encouraged me to become a book blogger. She’s always there for her fans. She’s not just an author, she feels more like a friend.
Some things you need to know about digitaloriginals are:
* The term ‘commercial women’s fiction’ is generally used to mean fiction that appeals primarily to women, though not necessarily written by a women, and tends to be full of modern relationships featuring friends, family and lovers. It can be funny, it can be sad, but most of all it covers great storytelling that resonates with women. It rarely features aliens, blood, guts and gore, zombies, ladies in crinolines, dragons, child wizards or autopsies.
* Your novel needs to be around 80,000 – 100,000 words and complete.
* You need to send it as a word document (or equivalent) double spaced.
* We will consider novels that have been self-published, or have been previously published, providing you have retained full rights, or had rights reverted back to you.
* We will endeavour to respond to all submissions within 30 working days, and will provide feedback on your submission where appropriate.
* If your novel is selected, we will publish in digital format, which will be available across all e-tailers in the English language across the World. You will be working with our experienced inhouse team, and will be provided with a contract, full editorial input including copyediting and proofreading, a suite of marketing and publicity promotion and an eBook jacket.
* Remember, we are not a vanity or custom publisher. digitaloriginals is part of the Simon & Schuster UK publishing company. A digitaloriginals author will benefit from the Simon & Schuster editorial, marketing, publicity and sales expertise and your contract with us under the digitaloriginals project offers you the same benefits as all Simon & Schuster UK authors receive.
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August 18, 2014. Paige Toon on next week’s Glitterati evening!
August 12, 2014. Jane Costello on our ‘Glitterati’ Evening!
August 4, 2014. Ali Harris on our first Glitterati evening!
July 7, 2014. New York research for ‘A Gift to Remember’!
July 1, 2014. On Writing ‘Tell the Girl’
June 4, 2014. ‘Have you ever looked back and wondered… “What if”‘?
May 22, 2014. Why I like an unrequited love story
April 25, 2014. The Making of The Year of the Rat
March 10, 2014. One of my greatest writing aids is my dishcloth!
February 10, 2014. Mini Breaks for BATC