Notes from May Meeting: The Sun and Sunday Sun
Ben Jackson, Features, The Sun and Sun on Sunday
Ben would like to be â€˜top of the treeâ€™ when it comes to serialising books that are revelatory or have an eye catching exclusive, this is especially the case with the advent of the Sunday Sun.
As well as showbiz and sport he would like to encourage publicists to think of them as a great showcase for books with humour or a quirky sense of the absurd (eg extreme ironing) or just slightly weird. Looking for show biz titles, not really big adventure books, like books about wars and stories written from a womanâ€™s perspective.
Ben wanted to reinforce that if a book has a powerful set of pictures it will often be right for them. He also apologised for the fact that not everything commissioned will actually appear in the paper.
Obviously serialisation in The Sun has a massive effect on sales. They can start running a serial in the Sunday Sun and continue through the week in the daily paper â€“ same staff! They donâ€™t mind sharing with The Times eg Cherie Blair.
Overall advice would be to make clear when an email is not simply an all-rounder (make it specific to The Sun), to send in the hard copy of a book whenever possible (it’s much more likely to be used), be persistent with your emails even if you don’t get an answer first time. (Theyâ€™re not being rude just busy and sometimes can overlook things completely). He wants to keep up with books while they are happening not after the event. Heâ€™s very interested in digital but the online department is inundated with material so keep it simple!
Natasha Harding, Book Reviewer, Something for the Weekend
Natasha.email@example.com 7 Spencer Place, Kings Hill, Kent, ME19 4JS
Natasha has been reviewing the books for six years now and the page has evolved a lot since then. When she first started it was a tiny column each week and now is usually a page â€“ depending on adverts.
The page usually consists of an interview, a 2nd lead which is usually a round-up of books and then 4 small reviews. She tries to incorporate a bigger review each week â€“ usually care of Peter Thornton or John Wyatt. Sheâ€™s also recently started to do an ebook of the week.
Simon Copeland, Peter Thornton and John Wyatt do some great reviews for the page. Simon likes more obscure crime and biographies, Peter likes American crime and John Sci-fi.
Pictures are always a good thing so childrenâ€™s books are brilliant or any â€˜picture-leadâ€™ books.
Natasha also writes for the Womanâ€™s pages. This may be in the form of a round up â€“ best beach reads for example or an extract.They did a feature from â€˜Feed Your Faceâ€™ recently which worked really well.
Natasha regularly writes for the main paper too â€“ again anything quirky that is easily extracted is always a plus for the Sun and they often need authors to write opinion pieces for them. If she rings and says weâ€™re on â€˜editionâ€™ it means itâ€™s for the next dayâ€™s paper so it is usually pretty urgent. Sheâ€™s done a few pieces like this recently, one on erotic fiction and another on eBooks. They do a lot of these kinds of pieces with childrenâ€™s authors; Julia Donaldson, Michael Morpurgo, Roger McGough are recent examples.
Itâ€™s always nice if people read the page so you get an idea of the kind of stuff they do. Please tailor your emails specifically for her and send finished copies of the book as soon as you can. She is more than happy for you to point out specific titles â€“ this is preferable to round robins.
Natasha is really passionate about reading and children reading in particular. Sheâ€™s in the process of sorting out remote access so she can get the books on line and will sort out â€˜book cornerâ€™ whereby a childâ€™s book will be reviewed by a child each week. Sheâ€™s very excited by this!
Claire Frost, Deputy Production Editor
Fabulous magazine, Sun on Sunday
3 Thomas More Square
London E98 1XY
Tel: 020 7782 7949 Claire.firstname.lastname@example.org And my Twitter handle is: @FabFrosty
Claire works for The Sunday Sun’s supplement, Fabulous and has started writing a book blog for their re-launched website Fabulousmag.co.uk. The book blog goes live every Saturday lunchtime. If this does well, hopefully they can do more reviews in the magazine itself.
– Claire is focusing on commercial women’s fiction, big new releases, a bit of YA crossover and anything else that sounds interesting!
– She likes to receive review copies well in advance, as she is writing the blog alongside her day job on the Production desk of the magazine. Press releases are really helpful, but if there’s a book you think is perfect for Fabulous, a quick email can also be helpful.
– Other contacts at the magazine: they are always looking for beautiful cookery books to run extracts from (especially by big names). The contact is the Assistant Editor Sarah Mason (email@example.com). They are also interested in books that would make great real-life stories. The contact is Sinead McIntyre (Sinead.McIntyre@fabulousmag.co.uk).