Karen Robinson – The Times and The Sunday Times Crime Club
Looks after the CC bulletin which drops into people’s inboxes on a subscription basis. Each bulletin can have a different topic or theme – they do cover true crime alongside novels. It is sent out on the last Thursday of every month and contains titles published in the following month. Some exceptions can be made with regards to pub date but it’s almost exclusively about the following month.
Sales of crime fiction have rocketed in the last 3 years so the bulletin is very popular.
Mini features are available for authors to write – these are 350 words long. They often work well for authors who have done a lot of research on a topic – 5 Things You Didn’t Know About style pieces.
There is an author interview every month – with a big name author. Sometimes the interviews are with less well known but super interesting authors though. The questions aren’t the same each month and are tailored to each author.
They offer a lot of giveaways – for these they’ll need a high res jacket image, the first chapter of the book for their subscribers to read, backlist copies to win, etc. Due to GDPR these now have to be set up as individual mini webpages but it’s all still very straightforward.
Book Tours – Karen would like to start publicising book tours on the bulletin – her readers are super keen and would love to follow where authors are, especially if they are visiting their local area.
The CC archive is accessible via the website. It’s not hugely influenced by Andrew Holgate and Robbie Millen but they are a litle bit involved.
They have 15000 subscribers and a super high open rate.
They work with other partners to provide other really good competitions to keep their click rate up – they offered a comp to win a flight to Iceland for Iceland Noir, signed Linwood Barclay books, tickets to Incident Room in Harrogate – the trick is to get your idea/request in early to allow time for planning.
She doesn’t cover YA.
Jake Kerridge – crime critic, Daily Telegraph
He looks after the slot in Saturday Review section – this is one slot, 300 words on one book. 2-3 books covered per month – they are all crime and thrillers.
He doesn’t cover paperbacks. He does cover true crime.
He also looks after the crime reviews for S magazine – 5 small reviews or 2-3 larger ones, sometimes a combination of the two.
On a good month he can cover up to 12 books, on a bad month sometimes only 2 or 3. It depends what the editors are after.
Charlotte is still editing the page in the paper. His lead time is roughly 3-4 weeks in advance. For the Telegraph it’s less, roughly a week in advance.
Please send proofs as far in advance as possible for planning purposes. And please send pitches or title highlight emails direct to Jake – he reads all emails even if he doesn’t get around to replying. He tries to let PRs know if a review is running. Do feel free to chase if needed.
He occasionally does features and interviews. He also looks at trend pieces – back in the summer he did a piece about Relatable Heroes. He can’t do many but do pitch ideas. He used to have a weekly interview but this has gone now. Online analytics showed that only the big names got the clicks so now that’s all he does.
YA – he might look at one or two YA crime a year. Only for the right book though.
Sophie Goodfellow – First Monday Crime
Looks after First Monday crime – first Monday of the month, 4 authors and a chair, held at City University. Great audience figures – the lowest they’ve had is around 50.
It is a very author focussed event with a dedicated audience, many of which come every month. A number of authors are also in the audience.
Big Green Bookshop do their booksales.
No theme – they pick authors who will work well together. They try to be timely in terms of publication date but can’t always promise.
Event – 1 top name, 2 midlist, 1 debut. They have a commitment to diversity within their events in terms of age, gender and race.
They haven’t had YA authors as yet but would be open to it. THey also haven’t had a true crime author yet but would be open to it.
They try do have as much social media activity around their events as possible – they tweet from the event, post on FB, etc. They have an email newsletter and are forming a strong community. Post event a lot of them all go to the pub together. If an author who is supportive of them and has been to previous events is pitched, they will be prioritised for the panel.
They are happy to give away proofs but only in conjunction with sales as they wouldn’t want giveaways to prevent people purchasing books too.
They have a partnership with City University’s MA in crime reading/writing.
They had a bumper panel in December 2017 and had an audience of 200. Rod Reynolds is often their chair, or journalists or authors. They do pay authors a fee for the event.
The event is booked by commitee – Rod, Sophie, Bill Ryan, Catherine Armstrong, John Richardson and one of the MA students, Steph. Send your pitches by email and offer a proof and press release to be sent. The committee then go through all of the pitches and decide who gets the places. They plan around 6 months in advance but it’s always useful to know about authors in terms of drop outs or gaps in a panel.
People they haven’t secured yet are big names such as Lee Child, Val MsDermid, etc who they would be really keen to welcome to the event.
They don’t do publisher meetings at the moment but are thinking about starting them.
Barry Forshaw – FT, Guardian and CrimeTime
He is the crime critic for the FT and also the thriller critic for the Guardian (Laura Wilson covers crime). Do also send copies of books for him for the Guardian to Justine Jordan. Barry has no power over what he covers – he can only make suggestions but ultimately the Lit Eds decide!
He also covers crime titles for The I. Reviews are dictated by Alice here.
For CrimeTime he runs short interviews with authors and also authors can write original pieces.
Try to find a way to make your pitch original and come up with interesting topics for authors to write about.
He appears on the Phil Williams Show which airs at midnight on BBC Radio 5 LIve and does crime reviews with Katy Guest.
Lunches and launches – yes please! And also to author lunches. Just to point out though, a lunch doesn’t guarantee a review, he can’t ever promise that as it’s out of his control.
He doesn’t cover YA or children’s titles.
Angela McMahon – Noireland
She is a publicist by trade. She spoke a lot with David Torrance at the crime bookshop in Belfast and together they set up Noireland.
Together with Catherine Armstrong and Erica Morris (ex-Harrogate Director).
Nothing like it existed in Ireland.
They take the best elements of crime festivals. It follows the same format as Harrogate – it happens over a weekend at a hotel – the Europa. They concentrate on maximising audience numbers.
As with Bloody Scotland and Scottish authors it does aim to showcase Irish writing as a priority but they very much sit alongside International authors.
David can generate large audiences from the local following he has with the bookshop. Their average audience number is around 130 per event. The smallest audience was 70.
In 2017 the event was in October but they are now moving to Spring 2019 (March).
They don’t impose themes, they let them evolve organically from the meetings.
There is a screen element to the festival as NI has big links to film and drama – Game of Thrones filmed there for example.
They offer screen writing courses throughout the festival and invite big screen names to be interviewed by crime authors.
They look at loose themes such as ethics, borderlands and identity.
They have a big university in Belfast so attract a younger audience than perhaps the average festival.
Sponsors – Bushmills, Tourism Ireland and Transport Northern Ireland.
One of their main goals is to be very organised with lots of communication between them and authors, agents and publicists. Author care is really important to them.
They reported fantastic book sales for 2017. They keep their ticket prices low to encourage book sales.
YA would be difficult but David does have a kids’ crime bookclub linked to the shop. They do cover true crime and non-fic books on forensics, etc.