Notes from January Meeting:Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday
(Northcliffe House, 2 Derry Street, London, W8 5TS)
Books Editor, Daily Mail
020 7938 6130 Susie.Dowdall@assocnews.co.uk
Susie is responsible for serialisations and reviews and everything else to do with books! Sandra Parsons is the Literary Editor and Jane Mays is the fiction editor â€“ in the office 2 days a week. Sandra and Susie deal directly with rights departments for serialisation and PR departments to request interviews or to commission features. There is a features conference every day when the features editor says which of the ideas he would like to use. They have 4 pages in the Review section, covering roughly 20 books a week â€“ all genres (including childrenâ€™s books). The paper has a massive circulation and the editor really loves books so they are always extremely receptive to book ideas, literary news stories and offers of interviews.
Sandra and Susie buy serial rights and commission book related features for all sections of the paper including Femail, Life and Style and Sport. Keen on history, biography, illustrated books (particularly with lovely picture spreads) and cookery. Plenty of ways they can make use of books so not just for serial or review. Interviews are mainly with well known names. May commission authors for one-off or regular pieces which may or may not relate to a book (although books will always be plugged). Femail is always looking for new writers for topical stories. The Saturday essay is often provided by an author.
Press releases via email are fine but please make them interesting! Know the paper and be realistic about whatâ€™s right for them. Please donâ€™t bombard them with inappropriate ideas â€“ be selective. Please donâ€™t ring to see if a book has arrived. They do look at everything and are exceptionally organised (in order of publication), so if you particularly want to flag something up choose carefully. Please donâ€™t send multiple review copies, only one is needed initially – they will ring if a second copy is required. Happy to meet publicists for breakfast or coffee if you have something to pitch. Jane Mays has taken over from Amber Pearson who is moving to Singapore.
Dan Davies, LIVE Magazine
Dan looks very much at the wider view. An ideal feature would be a photographic one from perhaps a book or a film. Past great features: an amazing collection of vintage cars, History of the World in 100 Objects. Features can cover 3 or 4 pages, slightly male orientated. There is a reportage slot spanning 4 or 5 pages and this can be book related. Looking for less historical stories, strong British angle is good â€“ do please think who the Mail on Sunday reader is. Previous 1500 word features have been on the likes of Ian Rankin, David Baldacci, Stuart Maconie, Will Self, Michael Johnson. These can be self written or in the form of an interview. They can be about a recent book or not. There is a regular data-graphic spread in the magazine. These are generally commissioned new every week but could use something from a book if relevant.
New for January â€“ How to Survive, Thrive and Prosper â€“ expert advice on how, for instance, to mix the perfect Martini, build a tree house, prepare the perfect BBQ etc. This spot is good for mentioning backlist titles. There are also 5 or 6 short items in each issue (around 175 words each) â€“ books are always credited.
Constantly looking ahead to cover big events, royal stories, Olympics etc. There are 2 car specials (Feb and Sept), 2 style specials and a DIY special. Readers love technology items so interesting new developments are always well received. Not really covering fiction at the moment unless by a very well known author who could fill for instance the â€™10 of the greatestâ€™ slot.
Books Editor, The Mail On Sunday
Direct line: 020 7938 6393 Marilyn.Warnick@mailonsunday.co.uk
The Mail On Sunday loves book related features and would be delighted if PPC members were more pro-active.
Marilyn Warnick buys serial rights which can appear anywhere in the paper. But she also commissions features and opinion pieces and works with the Review section, news desk, features, diary, politics, sports and health. If an idea comes in that seems more appropriate for LIVE or YOU she will pass it to Dan or Kate so that no good idea is wasted.
The main paper is looking for fresh, newsworthy stories that inform, entertain, emotionally move or provoke thought in both male and female readers. If a novelist has had an extraordinary life experience such as surviving a tsunami, an earthquake, a car crash or an illness they could be interested. If a novel is based on a true life story that can be illustrated it could turn into a feature. If one of your backlist authors is an expert in an area that is currently in the news, there might be an opportunity for an opinion piece. If someone famous has died and you have a biography on your back-list the author could be asked to write an obit.
As a litmus test, if an author tells you a personal story that makes you want to re-tell it in the office, The Mail On Sundayâ€™s readers might be interested too. Think light and shade. If current breaking news is about deaths or financial gloom theyâ€™ll be looking for glamour or light-hearted human interest stories. But if itâ€™s a slow news period – when reality TV participants are making front pages – theyâ€™ll want more serious stories.
Illustrations are important, so if you can provide information about what photographs might be available or taken it could influence their decision.
Theyâ€™re also looking for highly illustrated coffee table books with brilliant photographs that can be featured as pic/caption/book offers on the books pages throughout the year.
Itâ€™s useful if you write succinct, cogent pitches and please always supply a telephone number as well as an email address so they can call you back. Marilyn answers all of her emails and can be reached onMarilyn.Warnick@mailonsunday.co.uk or 0207-938-6393.
4 Summerhouse Road London N16 0NA
We love books at YOU Magazine. We run extracts, larger up-page serials, sometimes with TV advertising, interviews and pieces by authors. We usually have at least one book feature in the magazine a week. Sometimes I get lucky and squeeze in two.
We have long lead times (6 weeks) and the rest of the team are terrifically competent and organised women so issues are often planned months in advance. So you need to get in early. Think of us as a monthly with a lead time of 6 weeks â€“ 3 months. Donâ€™t worry if you donâ€™t have proofs. I am happy to read manuscripts. And just knowing that a title is coming 6 â€“ 9 months ahead can be incredibly helpful.
Donâ€™t assume that we share information at the Mail on Sunday â€“ we are all much too busy and operate as separate bodies. So you need to send things to Marilyn Warnick and to me (if you want YOU to consider it) on the contact details below.
Angela Mason is our food editor on firstname.lastname@example.org
We do not do much in the way of fiction but I am always happy to consider pieces by authors who have written novels which can be personal or about background to their novel. I have been books editor at YOU for fifteen years and during that time we have run a wide range of pieces from history to how-to; biography and memoir to humour â€“ so never make assumptions about what we might not want! We are a full colour magazine so pictures and picture books are important to us too. I am also happy to think about ways of covering books second time around on paperback publication.
We have a circulation of over 2 million and a readership of more like 6 million. We get to more ABC1 women than any other magazine and my guess is that many of them do not necessarily read the review pages of newspapers and buy a great deal of copies of books we feature off the page. We have a monthly reading group which is organised by John Koski and an annual book day for 200 readers in London which I organise.
I am officially a freelancer. I work from home and take a pile of books into the weekly commissioning meeting â€“ so I am effectively selling in your ideas there. So please donâ€™t be afraid to come forward with them â€“ no idea is too silly!