Notes from March Meeting: The Sunday Times
• Jasmine Gardner, Style Magazine – firstname.lastname@example.org
• Josh Glancy, News Review – email@example.com
• Nicolette Jones, Children’s Books Editor – firstname.lastname@example.org
• Audrey Ward, Sunday Times Magazine – Audrey.email@example.com
Josh Glancy, News Review / Josh.firstname.lastname@example.org
There are a number of opportunities within News Review – serialisation, author interviews or authors writing a feature.
Interview – must be a well known name or have an amazing story to tell.
Features – often to publicise a non-fiction book, fiction doesn’t really work for them.
There is an unofficial essay slot within NR that is very often book related.
Topics they cover – history, politics, some lifestyle. The topics must be punchy, surprising or fit within the news agenda or have a news related angle or be from a well-known author or have a remarkable personal story.
Lead times: they go to press on a Friday for that Sunday. They commission up until Thursday but only for breaking stories, the majority is complete by then.
A good way to get an author in is to be reactive to news, even if they have said no to that author previously, if something happens that means their book fits with the new agenda then please get in touch.
Catalogues/books lists – they go through these a month or two in advance and of course accept pitches via email. As they are so newsy, it is difficult to say yes to things far in advance unless it’s a big name exclusive. Their lead times are fairly short due to having to be news-reactive.
Josh is happy to do media meetings when catalogues arrive, these will be mainly to tie down the big names, the smaller titles tend to be more news reactive.
Please be honest about what else you have secured for authors/titles and which other sections of the ST you are talking to. They don’t like following The Times unless a joined up deal for extract/interview.
Audrey Ward, Sunday Times Magazine / Audrey.email@example.com
The magazine has a 3 week lead time. They are commissioning up to May/June at the moment. They go to press on Thursday so Friday and Monday are the best days to pitch.
They had a re-launch of the magazine in February ’16. They now have a number of coverage opportunities for books/authors:
Cover interview – for high profile celebrity level authors. E.g. Naomi Campbell
Interview inside – e.g. Tracy Chevalier
Extract and interview – e.g. Judd Apatow
Features – personal stories. E.g. extract from book about personal story of Auschwitz survivor along with an interview
Author articles – can include fiction authors in these if they have a really compelling personal story or if a fiction title really takes off – e.g. Emma Healey wrote a piece about her grandma’s Alzheimers to tie in with Elizabeth is Missing.
They will also cover authors’ other projects – e.g. David Nicholls’ piece about writing the script for Far From the Madding Crowd film.
Relative Values and A Life in a Day – both still at the back of the magazine
For Relative Values they are really interested in covering power couples – e.g. Marian Keyes and husband, Ruby Wax and husband – both featured recently. There tends to need to be a ST photoshoot although they will consider pre-existing photos if a photoshoot is out of the question.
Life in a Day – recognisable author with an interesting story.
They also have a new slot – How It Feels To…
This needs an interesting story or angle or a personal experience. E.g. story of a mother whose child has cystic fibrosis. This piece is 800 words and can be written by the author or extracted from a book.
Me and My Motor – Driving has now been placed into the magazine. This is a piece with the author talking about their interesting car with photo. Nick Rufford looks after this slot.
To consider a book for coverage they need hard copies of the book or manuscript but a word document is really useful for extract.
They are always looking for big names and interesting stories but also for books that encourage features that make people think outside the box or tap into a trend.
Picture-led books – they still cover these, Ross O’Connell looks after these pieces.
Food – Laurel Ives looks after The Dish.
Jasmine Gardner, Style / Jasmine.firstname.lastname@example.org
There is a lot of crossover in what they are looking for with the other sections.
Fashion: e.g. fashion led books with a forward by a famous designer.
Self-help: a good line needed on work, success, relationships for it to work for them
Fiction: they don’t extract fiction but novelists do write for them. Journalistic credentials are needed. Personal stories work well, a great subject from a novel or hook for them to write around.
Manuals, memoirs, retrospectives, polemics (depending on whether there is a good line, a notable author, a good subject). Their remit is very wide.
They don’t cover recipes or cookbooks any longer. They cover diets once a year in January. Other food books would have to be covered as interviews, or trend-led features. Food books in general would be best directed to Laurel Ives who now edits The Dish (and no longer works on Style).
They don’t do paperbacks in their second edition, they will cover paperback originals. Occasionally they cover paperbacks but only if they’re by a well-known author and there is something more to say.
Send hard copies of proofs or manuscripts in addition to catalogues. For photo-led books, please send example images or contact sheets.
Monday or Friday are the best days to email, Thursday is their press day. Do follow up pitches with a phone call or chasing email. They print 10 days in advance of the paper being on the shelf. 12 days in advance, the issue closes. They work roughly 3 weeks in advance. They plan ahead as far as they can for big names or a great hook.
Once a quarter they publish an Irish edition so do highlight any Irish authors who would be suitable.
Style magazine’s books content will soon be looked after by Fleur Britten as Jasmine will be going on maternity leave. Fleur also looks after the moodboard. Fleur.email@example.com
Media meetings are appreciated to tie in to new catalogues arriving. Please make sure conversations between rights and publicity are joined up – sometimes a serial will be arranged through a publicist only to find the rights department has sold it elsewhere. They will pay for book extracts, so if they express interest then it is worth alerting the rights team.
Nicolette Jones, Children’s Books Editor / firstname.lastname@example.org
See www.nicolettejones.com/schedule for upcoming events.
Nicolette is a freelancer who looks after the Children’s Book of the Week slot in Culture Magazine – appears every week so covers 4 books per month. She also looks after the round ups which appear at Easter, in the summer and at Christmas.
She covers baby up to YA. She doesn’t cover ‘product’ books or brand tie-ins, the books must have an author.
YA crossover with very adult material is difficult for her to cover in the Sunday Times slot as the heading for the slot is ‘Children’s Book’ unless the content can be justified in a short space.
She does cover paperbacks although won’t cover a paperback where the hardback was reviewed.
Please always put the publication clearly on the email pitch or press release – the slots have to include books with an accurate press date as it is called ‘book of the week’. She prefers hard copies to digital where possible.
As Nicolette isn’t on staff, she does write features about adults’ and children’s books for other outlets (print and broadcast) so bear her in mind for these. She only reviews children’s books for the Sunday Times though.
She contributes to Bookbrunch – this can be a good opportunity for further coverage. (Email email@example.com.) Photos of launch parties with captions work well. She is also a professional chair so bear her in mind for events (again for adults’ fiction and nonfiction as well as children’s books – previous interviewees have included eg Margaret Atwood and Yeonmi Park).
Approaches are best over email. She is very busy but tries to reply where possible, but can’t always respond with opinions about unreviewed books. The book of the week piece goes in 10 days before it appears and she works between 3 and 6 weeks in advance. She is working on April and May now.
She is happy to do media meetings but appreciates publicists going to her where possible. For media meetings it’s great when publicists are selective in pitching and only pitch relevant titles.