Today Kimberley Young, Publishing Director at Harper Fiction is in the interview chair!
Welcome Kim, fabulous to have you here! There are so many questions I’d like to ask, but I have to start with the big one:
HarperCollins is one of the largest book publishing companies in the UK. It’s also one of the publishing companies who are pro-active in grabbing opportunities and embracing change. So I think our first question has to be – what’s next? Any exclusive news you can give us the scoop on?
Oooh, exclusive news! Go on then, you can be one of the first to know. We are launching a brand-new romance imprint and about to start our call out for new writers & stories. This will be a digital first imprint celebrating the best of romance – so whether you’re writing short stories or full on epics we would love to take a look!
If you’re a writer email me at
Or spread the love and tweet the news @Harperimpulse
More info will be on our HarperImpulse facebook page soon.
The inbox is open!
We hear all the time about editors being inundated with manuscripts just how many land in your desk in a week?
I’m heading up the women’s fiction team here at HarperFiction and we are a team of 6. We mainly work through agents so between us we probably look at 12 submissions per week but that increases around the London and Frankfurt book fairs.
With our new digital first imprint though we want to hear from everyone and hope to increase that number!
What makes you sit up and take notice?
A fresh and original idea – or a voice that captures your imagination. A combination of both is of course the holy grail.
I do believe in the x-factor. Sometimes you turn page one and you just know that you have stumbled across a bit of magic. That doesn’t mean that the story is perfect just that you know there is something special in the pages that you can help shape. That’s what gives me butterflies!
And I also believe in an author doing one thing brilliantly. Find your strength and start from there.
Any predictions for the next big trend after 50 Shades?
New Adult – I’m obsessed and think some brave new storytelling is going on in this genre. I am definitely looking to read and publish more New Adult.
I’m commercial women’s fiction for Work, Rest and Play! I do sometimes switch off with a sporting biography or a weekly women’s mag. But there is still nothing like curling up with a good book! Sometimes it’s tough to turn off your inner editor, and I’m probably more ruthless about putting down a book that doesn’t captivate me than I used to be – but I think a lot of readers are like that. Time is too precious not to use it wisely.
How important is it for you that an author has their social media platform up and ready? Does this make a difference to a yes or a no?
It can help, for sure. In fact I would actively encourage any new writer to reach out to their readers – whether that be through social media or their local library. But there are no quick fix answers to making a best seller or building an audience and a million twitter followers doesn’t translate into a million sales… though of course it can’t hurt those sales either.
If you are really asking whether it influences my decision to take on a project or not then it’s yes and no – it depends on the genre, the platform, the project, the author. What it does show is that the author is keen to promote herself and combined efforts are always stronger than flying solo. It is a partnership.
What are your favourite up-and-coming releases?
I can’t have favourites as there are so many amazing releases on the HarperFiction list! It really is a dream come true to work with such amazing storytellers as they are all so different – total “incomparables”. I work with debuts like Lucy Clarke whose debut novel The Sea Sisters is a mix between Rosamund Lupton’s Sister and Alex Garland’s cult classic The Beach. And Josephine Cox who releases her 50th book next year. Barbara Erskine is an author of my heart, and out now How They Met by Katy Regan feels like a book written just for me!
Also… one other sneak peak:
Sssh, I can say no more!
Life and business is changing at a fast pace, and none more so than publishing. What one piece of advice would you give to a new author determined to make their mark?
Write for you first. If you love your writing, chances are someone else will too (hopefully 1 million others!) But always write for you.
And in the genius words of Take That… Have a little patience… Success doesn’t come overnight.
Q. It’s an exciting time and a lot of opportunities are opening up. What do you see as the biggest challenges for the year ahead?
I’d love to be able to predict what will sell, which story readers will respond to in their millions. It’s a cliché but publishing isn’t a science – that’s what is so fun about it but also means that every day is a rollercoaster. Things change so quickly – so the biggest challenge for me as a publisher is to move fast but not leave anything behind. It’s a good job I like roller coasters 😉
Are you excited by the diversity and high standards coming through with new authors who are self-publishing but hoping to be signed by a big publisher like yourself? What do you look for when signing someone new?
We have just published THE EDGE OF NEVER by JA Redmerski in eBook OUT NOW and in print on the 4th July. I think JA is a fantastic example of the amazing writers who are self-publishing. This story stood out amongst the crowd for two reasons – breathless emotion & amazing characters – oh, and an ending that…well I won’t spoil the ending! Read it.
We began as loveahappyending.com and hand-picked our authors. Whilst we were all very ‘new’, we realised it wasn’t just about writing a good story. How important do you think self-promotion and social media is to a new author and also our ethos of one for all and all for one?
Okay, first and foremost as a writer it is your job to write not a good story but a FANTASTIC story! You are storytellers and no-one can do it better. Yes, self-promo & social media is important… but I have a strong, strong belief that a good story will always come out.
We believe the way forward is in partnership – publishers, authors and the amazing ‘new breed’ of book review bloggers. It’s all about teamwork. Team work requires stamina, persistent dedication and self-motivation. Is this something you see as important for the future?
I completely agree and I’d love to be part of that extended team. So if you ever need anything you know where to find me. And please, if you see me at events – the RNA, Romance Festival or on-line please do say hello! I love to talk about books. Scratch that, I love to talk!
It’s great to meet someone who’s passion for books rule their life – I think you have the dream job Kim, although the amount of work and dedication involved must be second-to-none. Wishing you all the best with this fabulous new imprint and – AUTHOR ALERT – Kim is waiting for your emails!!!
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