Notes from March Meeting: The Sunday Times
Robert Collins, Deputy Literary Editor firstname.lastname@example.org / 020 7782 5774
Robert only does book reviews â€“ no features. There is a weekly books blog on â€˜what weâ€™ve learnt this weekâ€™. They cover history, biography and memoir and love something out of the ordinary eg The Hare with Amber Eyes which they were made aware of a long time before publication and felt it was something special and unusual. Frustrating for them if they find something they would definitely have covered is being published in two weeks time and they hadnâ€™t been told about it. Itâ€™s impossible to do books justice in the paper if they donâ€™t have time to think and plan the coverage. Send through catalogues as early as possible; they will be studied and send through finished copies as soon as physically possible. Email is the best form of communication. Do not phone on a Monday which is press day. Can be worth phoning on other days to pester, particularly if publication dates have changed. Literary Pages do share with other parts of the paper. Launch parties are great but sometimes not so useful if the book has already been reviewed. Happy to meet up to discuss advance lists. There is a childrenâ€™s book of the week and round ups for kids at Easter and Christmas. Send books for Children straight to the Childrenâ€™s Books Editor, Nicolette Jones. There are regular genre round ups for instance in Historical Fiction, Crime, Sci-Fi, Thrillers etc. Please include e-book price on the press release if possible. They are sometimes compelled to review titles early in the month if there is a glut in the middle or the end.
Louis Wise, Culture email@example.com / 020 7782 5773
The front of the Culture section is specifically for book features, interviews and extracts. May sound ridiculous to say but they are looking to cover books they like! The author must have a story eg Hope: A Tragedy by Shalom Auslander. Books covered in Culture must be extremely strong and compelling as competing with music, theatre and dance which are also coved in this section. A few weeks ago for instance there was a great interview with Timothy Mo who has spent 12 years in Hong Kong writing his next novel. An interview with Grace McCleen was a bit of a risk as unknown author but it turned out to be very interesting and worked really well. Send through proof copies if necessary but finished copies are better, at least a month before publication if at all possible. The section goes to press on a Wednesday afternoon so please do not phone on a Tuesday or Wednesday â€“ otherwise happy to chat. Please make sure you are pitching to the right person. Sometimes cover childrenâ€™s books but authors have to be really well known eg The Hunger Games or Mackenzie Crookâ€™s The Windvale Sprites.
Laurel Ives, Consultant Editor, Style firstname.lastname@example.org / 0207 782 5767
Very keen to use books in Style and there are plenty of opportunities. Always have a great response from readers on book related features. Fashion books with great images are perfect eg book on high heals or behind the scenes of Lady Gagaâ€™s fashion trends. Also like talking point books eg on social trends for example a book on will power or Zoe Strimpelâ€™s: Man Diet, or fun titles such as Make Love like a Prairie Vole! Keen to cover big name women authors. If use an author in one of the smaller weekly columns will always plug a book. In the Lifestyle section always looking for features on food and recipes, diet and fitness and health. Update pages will recommend books and also Style Barometer. Laurel is happy to meet with publicists once or twice a year to discuss ideas. Please be honest about what other papers you are talking to as The Sunday Times will rarely follow someone else. Great to hear from you if you have a targeted idea which may also reflect what is happening in the news. Culture section has a huge online presence and also on Twitter. On the website they are looking for multi media content, moving images with discussion and chat.
Mark Edmonds, Sunday Times Magazine email@example.com / 0207 782 7482
The Times Magazine is fifty years old this year. Looking for blockbuster narrators/stories which will gel with the news pages eg Martin Amis on Christopher Hitchens. Also room for smaller publishers.
Three regular sections are Relative Values (has been running for 25 years), Life in a Day â€“ particularly good for really entertaining figures eg Frank Skinner, Andy Warhol, Paul McCartney. And finally, Witter where 10 to 12 sharp questions are posed â€“ the tone is irreverent verging on rude! A particularly good interviewee was the comedian Jackie Mason (sold lots of tickets to her show as a result!). Also good were DBC Pierre, Ian Banks, Joanna Lumley, Arabella Weir and Sue Perkins. Subjects need to talk in an unrestrained way! Best way to contact Mark is by phone or email but please think what you are going to say before picking up the phone.
Alan Hunter, Editor, News Review firstname.lastname@example.org / 020 7782 5484
The first element in News Review handled by Alan is serialisation where he often uses big political diaries or memoirs with great narrative eg Peter Hain MP, also books that will make the news. Bob Tyrer (Associate Editor) deals with really â€˜bigâ€™ books. Karen Robinson is another good contact on News Review. Section goes to press on a Thursday and can, if necessary, turn things around very quickly. Mainly interested in first serial, interviews may have to be passed to Culture. Of the week feature â€“ whatâ€™s in the news eg Aspirin is good for you, Richard Bacon on trolling or quirky stories â€“ The Time Travellerâ€™s Guide to Elizabethan England for instance was passed to News Review from the Books Pages and the author Ian Mortimer wrote a 3,000 word piece for them which worked really well. Alan also picks up books from the US from the US Papers but happy if you are able to pass them on. Very interested in social science â€“ asks PRs to send through edited highlights of what might work for them. Could be interested in books in translation but the main emphasis is on British and American literature.