Marilyn – has since retired from the Mail on Sunday, notes should still be relevant for what they are looking for.
She’s been there for 18 years. She looks after serial rights, book interviews and general features across all categories. Send all books to Marilyn and she will forward them on to individual departments.
Always remember the MoS is a newspaper, they are looking for exclusives, the never before seen. They won’t follow others. Their reach is massive so do consider them first. They have more readers than Times and Telegraph put together and more than anyone else except The Sun. Their readers read a lot of books and their readers buy off the page. They have a 50% crossover with the Daily Mail. FT readers read the MoS – they have good City and finance desks.
Every now and again they experience a situation where rights and publicity don’t communicate and one sells serial and the other the interview – this makes things really difficult for them so please try to communicate. This can also happen when the agent retains serial rights.
Marilyn works Tues, Weds, Thurs. Kieran Connelly works Mon and Fri. Keeba Roy, Assistant Arts Editor, works with Marilyn and Neil Armstrong who looks after reviews. Keeba looks after the summer and xmas books specials. She also oversees everything so do try Keeba for any questions as well.
Marilyn prefers email so she can share info easily. Please send proofs or printed PDFs.
For interviews they need authors with an interesting back story – remember NEWSpaper. They also look for big names/high profile.
If a celebrity dies and you have backlist biographies from them call her immediately as they will likely use it for extract.
They buy books for promotions – diet books, better health, fitness for the over 60s, gut health, etc. Books that have a ‘promise’. Gardening also works well. Alongside the offer there is an ad in the Metro on a Friday, Daily Mail ad on the Saturday and then the masthead in the Mail on Sunday – really worth it and a promotion that has a definite correlation with book sales on Amazon. It can be an 8 page supplement in the main paper or You Mag for readers to pull out.
Kate Figes – email@example.com
Kate works from home. She reads a lot! Contact by email or phone.
She reads a lot and then takes her suggestions/choices to the Books meeting to put forward for serial/extract/first interview.
She works to a very long lead time, consider her alongside those for the monthly mags. The earlier you can get info/pitches/proofs to her the better. Kate is very busy.
Please don’t suggest things that others are already covering in terms of piece/interviews, etc. Don’t waste her time. Be honest about what plans you have for a campaign. She will blacklist publicists if they waste her time!
She doesn’t tend to do features with fiction but loves original pieces by authors – both fiction and non-fiction.
She’s happy to receive all forms of material – manuscripts, PDFs, proofs but she struggles with Dropbox and WeTransfer.
For features and interviews they will need really good accompanying images.
Don’t be afraid to call with an idea and ask Kate what she thinks. If it’s not for them she will quickly say. She really doesn’t mind this though. They’re always looking for something they haven’t covered before so always up for hearing new ideas.
If you have a passion pitch that didn’t get coverage for the hardback, go back to her for the paperback to talk it through. For books that haven’t received the coverage they deserve first time around.
Catherine Fenton – Deputy Editor of You Magazine firstname.lastname@example.org
Catherine works very closely with Kate. Serial/Interview – send to Kate and cc Catherine. Kate would do the extract, Catherine would commission the interview.
For extracts, please send the PDF.
If visual books please send manuscripts but not double sided.
Fiction – they don’t cover that much.
For their Reading Group/Book Club please contact John Koski. John.email@example.com Please send him ideas – covers paperbacks rather than hardbacks. The Reading Group slot pushes books up the charts – sales correlation. They’re always after authors with a good, strong, personal story. For example they’ve done a piece with an author who is losing her sight, another about an author breaking up with her partner as they decided not to stay together for their child, another author who spent a long time living in the wilderness. They run an offer on the book alongside pieces or interviews.
They have a slot called Quick Fire – often features male authors.
Another slot called Emotional Ties mainly features women. It is centred around an object that means a lot to them – book, painting, drawing, etc. A visual piece.
Picture stories work really well for them. As do fun stories – silly dogs, etc.
For Fashion books, please send them to Catherine.
In November they run their New Book Day. 250 – 300 readers join them for a day talking about new books and hearing interviews from new authors or authors with new books coming out. Kate Figes sets up the day – please send ideas for authors for 2018. The event is all held in one venue and authors speak throughout the day. This November they have authors such as Jeffrey Archer, Jeremy Vine, Chris Patten, Alan Hollinghurst, Rose Tremain, Alison Weir, Min Kym and Judy Murray. They feature a range of serious and popular authors and the readers attending spend a fortune on books.
Quick mention of online- always on the look out for content accompanying books. For example, they did a lot of online coverage during the Kondo phenomenon – lots of video. They can add extra content to accompany a piece online – more images, video, etc (not more words though, the extract remains the same).
Showcase events are useful to be invited to as they are wrapped up in one evening – with wine! Or what can work well is a visit to a publisher where they see almost the whole publicity department to run through all of their titles.
Andrew Davies – Event Magazine firstname.lastname@example.org
Andrew often liaises with Marilyn. He also needs to know what is coming up so do loop him in to emails.
Event covers a lot of books – reviews, features, shrink wrap (slot), authors’ lives – they will cover paperbacks.
Main feature – lateral thinking ideas covering fiction and non-fiction.
Andrew receives 100s of emails and doesn’t get around to covering them all – sorry!
Some ideas do sit on the shelf for a while though and are used at a later stage. For example, they’ve covered authors working with policemen on their crime novels – this piece was published 8 months after the original pitch.
Author pieces – can tie in to a new TV series or a film release – for example, Dan Jones wrote a piece about the parallels between Game of Thrones and the War of the Roses.
Andrew doesn’t tend to answer the phone, please use email.
They’ll cover history and celeb biogs in their hardback or paperback forms – pbk only if the story has changed/moved on since original publication or they haven’t covered that person for a while. They do prefer to get the story first time around but will consider pbk. For example, they interviewed Paula Hawkins very early on and then covered her again once the book had taken off. Sapiens – covered in second wave once it took off. They’re always open to revisiting ideas.
Please pitch authors with very interesting back stories. Please chase pitches although if you’ve not had a reply on the third of fourth chase it’s a no.
They do both interviews and extracts – they sometimes prefer interviews as their journalists can write in their house style or elaborate on a particularly interesting part of the story.
Hard copies of books or proofs are preferred to PDFs.
Lead times – can drop things in late but they go to press each week on a Weds. Can react later but also loves to get things sorted far in advance.
Meetings – trying to do more. Can meet for coffee – around an hour with someone from each publicity department twice a year can work to flag key titles in advance. Try to be able to give extra details from the catalogue where possible, don’t just read through the catalogue with him.
Photos – they’re always looking for unseen photos to form a story around. If they can say ‘never before seen photos’ on a story it increases profile. For example, new Marilyn Monroe photos were found in Austin. The book with them in it was from a tiny press but it got a MoS cover and sold lots of copies.
Questions: Q: If something exclusive runs in the US, will they still cover it in the UK edition. Unlikely – the story is already live and no doubt all over social media so it’s dead here as an exclusive. Vanity Fair often buy serial for the US publication and are very different to here. MoS talks to People Magazine though so there is a chance for crossover. If possible for the US not to run their story online early in the week then it can be possible to still run as an exclusive here on the Sunday – tricky though. The Mail Online have a dedicated US team in NYC – any early coverage from them will kill it for the UK. They don’t work closely together.