Tory Lyne-Pirkis, Radio Times Book and TV festival – firstname.lastname@example.org
Jo Finney, Assistant Features ed, Good Housekeeping – email@example.com
Lauren Hadden – Deputy editor Psychologies – firstname.lastname@example.org
Natasha Lunn – Red features writer - Natasha.Lunn@redmagazine.co.uk
Susie Rushton – Vogue Features Editor email@example.com
Fanny Blake – Books editor Woman and Home – firstname.lastname@example.org
Radio Times Book & TV Festival
Radio times are launching a brand new book festival, to take place the last weekend in September (25th – 27th Sept) in the beautiful surroundings of Hampton Court Palace. The Radio Times is the media partner, and will be flagging the headliners with interviews and features. The biggest arena will seat 1000 with about 80 events and a footfall of about 20,000 people.
They’re looking for all genres and all types of authors – headliners will be big names who straddle both the TV and book world, but they’re also looking for authors with nothing to do with TV, and less well known names names.
Publicists should get in touch with Tory at Midas on email@example.com to suggest people who might like to take part – and the festival are taking a stand at LBF so come along and say hello.
Jo Finney – Good Housekeeping
Jo is GH’s assistant features editor but also their books ed, and began the meeting by sharing a few statistics about GH. They have around 419,000 readers rising to 1.4 million if you count shared copies. Their typical reader is female, in her early 50s, ABC1, and usually married with children. Their readers are book lovers and are 33% more likely to have bought books than others, in fact GH estimates that their readers were responsible for £9,000,000 worth of book sales in the last year alone. About 40% own e-readers.
They tend to cover mainly fiction and feature a mix of genres. Slots and features opportunities include:
• Books I love (household name)
• Celebrity line up – again household names
• Life lessons – people like Pam Ayres, Val McDermot
• Life experience pieces – autobiographical pieces for example Daisy Goodwin did a piece on her relationship with her dad, Freya North wrote about how her friends supported her through her divorce.
• Real Life Slot – again, autobiographical, but this slot is focussed on single, transformative experiences
• Behind the Headlines slot – people behind the news.
They also run the “GH Reader Recommended” scheme – this is a paid for service where books are sent out to a panel of GH readers who respond with their views, and if the book scores well enough publishers can use the GH logo and say it is endorsed as a Good Housekeeping Reader Recommended book.
GH works about 5 months in advance – one of the longest lead times. However they don’t necessarily need books that far in advance – at this point catalogues and AIs are fine. In terms of reviewing, Jo needs proofs 3 months in advance – she can work with any format but she prefers hard copies. She loves personal input from publicists about what they really recommend.
Late last year they opened a brand new venue in soho with a cookery school and recipe kitchen which can function for cookery book events.
Jo also looks after books on the website so please do contact her with any suggestions for this – they really like anything with ready made copy eg pieces and blogs.
In terms of clashes – they compete with the other women’s magazines but also with supplements including YOU magazine, although it will depend on the feature and the slant. The key is to please be honest and flag any potential clashes ahead of time so they can discuss.
She is on twitter @JoFinneyBooks
Lauren Hadden – Psychologies
Psychologies is looking for voices that are real, warm, honest and intelligent – preferable laced with some humour! In terms of the kind of book that works really well for them, Lauren cited Wild by Cheryl Strayed, a book the whole team at Psychologies has really got behind and loved. For this book they did a feature in the magazine, followed by School of Life event, they interviewed Cheryl about her core values and finally they reviewed the film. As you can see, when they are passionate about a book they really champion it.
Best-selling cover stories include people like Maggie Gyllenhaal – their readers are intelligent, quirky, interesting, and go right across the age brackets – they are TED talk listeners, idealistic, but also practical. Lauren characterised them as seekers; enthusiastic, curious and sceptical.
They aim to make Psychologies a nourishing read for both mind and body – a safe space. The diversity of their readers makes it hard to pin down what they’re looking for but she says they lean maybe more towards the literary, the new, the transformative.
They cover around 15 books an issue and are particularly interested in memoir, travel writing, nature, and books about journey. Some of the books they have loved recently include Alexandra Fuller’s memoir, Elizabeth Gilbert’s novel, Kate Gross’ cancer memoir, Miranda July’s The First Bad Man, Evie Wyld’s All the Birds Singing, and Grace McCleen’s The Offering.
They are a small team – Lauren is the deputy editor and the hub for books – she will push stuff out to other team members. Mailing is the best way to contact her, email a close second. She rarely answers the phone. She loves proofs and will respond to an interesting look proofs. For reviews she works with Eithne Farry.
They work as far ahead as 5 months for features but only about 2 months for reviews. However the earlier you can get things in, the better.
She likes invitations to launch parties but can’t always justify the time. For this reason she particularly enjoys showcase events because you get to meet several authors at once.
If you are pitching, she stressed to please send TAILORED pitches, ie not generic press releases, ones that show that you have thought about whether the book would be right for Psychologies and what the angle could be for them.
They also run events with Wilderness
They don’t cover children’s books, and will do YA only if there is a relevant angle, eg they’ve done a YA author who is a psychologist herself, and wrote a piece on psychology for them.
Lauren looks after the website herself. It’s a good place to feature stuff because they have a very strong social media presence, eg they have about a million followers on Facebook alone.
The magazine does feature men but is definitely slanted towards women. Contributers don’t necessarily have to be UK based.
In terms of clashes, other magazines are obviously competition but they also compete with some newspaper sections eg Guardian family, Please flag any potential clashes early.
She is on Twitter @lozzhadden
Natasha Lunn – Red
Natasha is a features writer at Red Magazine. She began her talk by giving members an overview of the various different routes into the magazine and the people to contact in each case.
Natasha herself is the best contact for for features. Hannah Dunn should be approached with pitches for the culture pages (reviews, beautiful coffee table books and author interviews). She recently oversaw a lovely piece on a writer who had travelled round the world reading books in each country. Viv Groskop is the lit ed (she works in close contact with Hannah over what to review.) Bridget is in charge of the self-help, self-improvement style features and is keen to hear about books in that mould, eg Arianna Huffington type stuff – she also does events so it’s worth thinking about whether there is a feature/ events package you could offer together.
As well as straight profiles, they love original, memoir-style pieces or 750-word guest speaker columns – eg people like India Knight, Hadley Freeman, Marian Keyes. Jennifer Saunders wrote a piece for them about using comedy to combat depression.
They also do extremely well with extracts – particularly anything with a photographic element and good visuals. Memoirs work well for them – they might ask the writer to crunch down one aspect of their book into a piece, or do something totally tangential, eg one novelist is doing a feature about living in a different country to her husband. Please bear in mind that the hook for a memoir piece doesn’t necessarily need to be a memoir book – so if your novelist has a great first person story, please do pitch it. The key is probably to get to know your author and take time to find out any quirky, unrelated stuff in their background that they might be prepared to talk or write about.
Sometimes they are looking for features with a specific theme – eg what writers have learned about men, or a life-changing travel theme – Natasha or one of her colleagues will email round helpful PRs to get suggestions for this.
If you have a very well known author they will consider profile / shoot – they need as much notice as possible on this (even if you don’t have a proof yet – a heads up is better than nothing). For a feature of this kind they would need roughly 4 months notice, ideally.
Natasha likes receiving physical catalogues and finds it very useful to flick through them looking for ideas. She is always happy to go for coffee and loves attending events, particularly showcases.
She is also in charge of the Red Women of the Year awards – previous winners have included the writers Samantha Shannon and Laurie Penny, and Natasha is keen to get more writers nominated so please do feel free to make suggestions to her.
Red is keen to feature male voices, too, and contributors don’t necessarily have to be UK-based.
Hannah Dunn looks after their website, but you can also go to Natasha with suggestions, particularly if you have a blog post that could work for them.
In terms of clashes and exclusivity, Red does consider supplements, weeklies and monthlies as competition.
She is on twitter @Natashalunn
Susie Rushton, Vogue
Vogue is first and foremost obviously a fashion bible for the cognoscenti, but beyond that they have a strong literary tradition and value books in the magazine. There isn’t really a perfect pitch for Vogue as they are very diverse but Susie gave examples of three ways they have worked with book publicists in the past:
Janine di Giovani’s book about Eve Arnold, was featured. This was photography book, Janine wrote a special piece for Vogue and they extracted some of the photographs. It worked really well because the book was strongly visual and that’s a huge plus for Vogue.
Adam Thirlwell, the novelists, wrote a memoir piece about getting married and what it meant to him. That’s the kind of piece that can come out from a conversation with an author face to face or on the phone. They photographed him and his wife.
Finally they recently did a large interview with Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. They sent Erica Wagner out to Lagos to interview her, did six pages with photos and it is one of their most popular features on the website. Something like that probably only happens once a year – memoir pieces maybe 6 times a year – book reviews about 3 times a year.
Internally, the main resource they use is an internal forward planning list, so the first step is to get the book on the list, they need at least 3 months notice for this, more for a bigger feature.
Basically she loves books and looks forward to working with you all!
Vogue tends to want features exclusive and that includes press magazines. Very different pieces and reviews might not bother them but similar features would.
They are happy feature men and contributors don’t have to be UK based.
Susie is a good contact regarding any website suggestions.
You can find her on twitter @SusieRushton
Fanny Blake, Woman & Home
Fanny is Books ed for Woman and Home – the magazine has a similar readership profile to GH and they are very aware of the fact that their readers love books. They can feature debut and breakthrough authors as part of the reading group which they run every month. For larger features and cover stories, they are probably looking at more household name types like Dawn French.
They feature a lot of novels but they also have a non-fiction slot called The Life Edit which use self help / non-fiction books like Declutter your Mind.
Feature ideas should be directed to Tessa Hilton or Charlotte Williamson (formerly of the Telegraph) – Charlotte.Williamson@timeinc.com and they do very well with humour and relationship pieces. They love having writers on the subject of their marriage!
Their Feel Good You supplement covers diet well-being and health.
Their website has about 300,000 unique users and suggestions can go direct to Natalie Cornish on Natalie.Cornish@timeinc.com
Like everyone else they work far in advance (several months) so heads up are really good. They work about 3-4 months ahead but the more notice the better. However on the website they can feature stuff at much shorter notice.
Fanny herself has a double page spread for her books and slots here include:
Celebrity-driven slot “What’s on my e-reader”
Author interview (this month Patrick Gale)
Book reviews – at her discretion – she covers mainly fiction but also some NF – and tries to ensure a range of genre and publishers.
Double page interview with brand name authors eg James Patterson, Jojo Moyes, Judy Finnegan.
She works from home and sent a general plea to PLEASE not send completely irrelevant books eg children’s books, or popular science, as WH will not cover these and she then has to dispose of them. Also if books come very late, there is no point in sending as they will get ignored. If the cut off for inclusion in the magazine has passed, you would be better going direct to Natalie for the website. She also doesn’t like gimmicky wrapping or anything that sprays her with glitter or includes little presents – eg confetti, love hearts, key ring, aprons. She did say the one exception to this is booze!
What she likes is a really enthusiastic, pithy, personal pitch – someone who takes the trouble to call about a particularly brilliant book. Don’t waste your powder by bigging up everything indiscriminately, save it for a really good one.
She likes parties, particularly where there are several authors. She also likes to be buttonholed and introduced to the authors at these things, so please don’t feel awkward about dragging her off to be introduced to your author.
She pays attention to twitter and the “big” books which are being flagged months in advance, but she also likes hearing about books under the radar.
She loves a beautiful proof and enjoys reading physical copies (not e-proofs).
In terms of clashes and competition – they ask for exclusoves over other women’s mags and YOU magazine.