Audrey Ward, Features Editor, The Sunday Times Magazine
She has worked in a number of departments at the ST so knows it all well. She looks after serial, interviews and commissions features:
‘How It Feels To’ slot
‘Life in a Day’ slot
‘Relative Values’ slot
The Magazine is the second most read section of the paper after News.
She is looking for headline generating books – will it transfer over to News? Or those books that tackle an issue. Also interested in books from celebrities and well-known authors. They also cover unknown authors who have great stories – they ran extracts from Rose McGowan’s book, Ruth Davidson’s book and also Roger Daltrey’s which they ran alongside an interview.
Henry Marsh on assisted dying
Christine Armstrong – Mother of all Jobs (achieved massive engagement with this piece)
Adam Kay on IVF postcode lottery
If high profile they can cover them in one of the slots pieces, they ran an extract of the new Walliams with Blake illustrations, they did pieces on/with Judith Kerr, Lauren Child – must be well known.
Cookery – The Dish is published with the paper once a month and have recently run books such as Reese Witherspoon’s, Tom Kerridge, etc. Lisa Markwell is the primary contact but Audrey will also receive cookery titles and pass them along.
They have regular cross-dept meetings to discuss titles. She does pass stuff onto News Review. They go to press 10 days in advance of publication. Thursday is press day and Monday and Tuesday quietest days.
Email is best. Do send catalogues. Happy to have meetings to discuss highlights. Very interested in hearing author back stories. She goes to launches where possible but is so busy. Make sure books go to the correct department where possible even though they share.
Catherine Forster – main contact for News Review.
Times Plus events – they have had authors such as Henry Marsh lately which was super successful. It’s another way for their readers to interact with authors.
Francesca Angelini, Associate Editor, Culture
She looks after the stuff in the front half of Culture, Andrew Holgate is the reviews editor.
They feature two author interviews or trend pieces per month. BIg names work well for them as well as second book follow up pieces where the debut has made a big splash (e.g. Sarah Perry).
Authors with a back story also work well.
They also cover debut authors making it big – e.g. Imogen Hermes Gowar.
LIterary fiction, memoir and biogs work well for them.
If they’re doing a feature interview it will run before the review by about 2-3 weeks.
Catalogues are great. Please do send proofs but only the ones you know are going to work for them, don’t blanket send. Press releases are really useful for quotes and endorsements. Email best for getting in touch. Great to meet for coffee to discuss highlight titles. One person from each department to represent the whole list is best.
They go to press on a Wednesday for the Sunday. Tuesday and Wednesdays are their busiest days.
They work roughly 2-3 months in advance.
Trend piece examples – Rewriting the Classics, Up Lit, Audio Books
She talks a lot to Andrew Holgate.
Exclusivity – they don’t like to follow and won’t follow The Times or Guardian.
They don’t run a lot of extracts, barely any in fact. They did run one for the new Robert Galbraith.
Digital – used to add more to pieces. For example when they ran the Sarah Perry piece they had a video of her reading an extract from Melmoth running alongside.
Sian Griffiths, Education and Family Editor
She has worked within various departments across the paper – she also works for News as well as education
They don’t just cover parenting books.
They feel as if they don’t get sent enough books.
News – the most read section of the paper, lots of what they run gets picked up by other press.
Page 3 – big news piece space. Examples of what they’ve run – Book by the Countess that inspired Downton Abbey – she gave a run down of the mistakes in Downton which was subsequently picked up by a lot of press after running. The same happened after they ran a piece on A Streetcat Named Bob.
They like to interview big name authors. Even if serial has gone elsewhere they still consider first interview if it will then generate news stories.
Email best. Catalogues very useful. They’ll set up a meeting if they are interested in a pitch. They don’t attend launches. Building relationships with PRs is really important for them as they receive over 100 press releases a day on the news desk. They like to know who they can trust. Fridays and Saturdays are really busy for them.
They can turn stories around in a couple of hours if needed – if big news or if serial or interview falls through.
They work roughly 2 weeks in advance but also very reactive as well as planning ahead.
They prefer to run 2-3 weeks pre-pub if a big newsy piece in order to get in first. They won’t follow anyone else, they only do exclusives.
They like to run a video interview alongside print on the website.
Children’s – yes, if a big name/newsy.
Scarlett Russell, Style
Has been at Style for a year now. Previously worked across magazines such as Red, Stylist, Marie Claire, Grazia.
She looks after the celebrity aspect of the magazine. Louisa McGilly looks after books.
They are looking for books for women. First time authors are great if they have a great story to write about.
They run non-fiction extracts, first person pieces.
They run a men’s issue twice a year.
Coffees to go through highlights are great. Send catalogues. Email best. Don’t attend launches or press conferences. Monday is their quietest day.
They don’t cover children’s titles or parenting. Although David Walliams is writing a piece for them.
Exclusivity – they always want to run first.
They go to press a month in advance.
Style considers it’s social channels act as it’s website as ST website is behind a paywall. They always ask a celebrity to tweet their interview/piece.
Each section (within the ST as a whole has a newsletter so everyone is always on the lookout for content for that.
They have a podcast team starting soon but not entirely sure what that will look like as yet.
99.9% of content sits behind a paywall but they have started releasing non-paywall news stories at 6pm on a Saturday.
Registered users get 2 free stories per week.
Every now and again something will not be published behind the paywall – for example the JK Rowling charity piece – she went with the ST but one of the conditions was that it wouldn’t be behind the paywall.
Times+ – events are often linked to content within the paper. They’ve run events with Ruth Davidson, Roger Daltrey and Henry Marsh whose pieces were also super successful when printed. Rather than editorial supporting the events the editorial leads.