We've been celebrating the best of 2012 over the last couple of days, so it feels appropriate now to look ahead to a new year and a fresh crop of books. To start us off, I'm delighted to give a very warm welcome to the blog today to Leah Woodburn, Associate Publisher, Tinder Press - you may remember a few months ago I introduced Tinder Press, the new imprint launched by Headline, well Leah is here to tell us all about what she calls "the inspired madness behind starting a new imprint". Over to Leah:
We’re constantly being told that we’re living in gloomy times. The death of traditional publishing has been heralded more times than I can remember, and the recession hasn’t made anything easier. Bricks and mortar bookshops are disappearing from our high streets, author advances are shrinking, the midlist is in turmoil: you might be forgiven for thinking it was a time when publishers should be trimming their lists, avoiding risk-taking and keeping their heads down. Indeed the last thing they should be doing is exposing themselves by starting a new imprint. This isn’t, however, a view that we at Headline share – which is why we’re launching our new literary imprint Tinder Press in spring next year.
There are lots of reasons why a new imprint feels like just the thing to be doing at this moment. Firstly it felt right for us as a publisher: with a stable of authors that includes Martina Cole, Jill Mansell and Karen Rose, Headline is best known for its commercial publishing. Whilst we’re fiercely proud of this fact, it does mean we don’t have quite the same reputation for our publishing of literary fiction – and yet our list includes prizewinning authors like Maggie O’Farrell and Andrea Levy, and we’ve had huge success with debuts like When God was a Rabbit and The Snow Child. So it felt like the right point in our lifetime to expand our publishing in this area and put out a message about how serious we are about it, and a new imprint seemed the best way to do that.
And beyond what it means to Headline, it just seems to make sense in the current climate. There are so many books being published these days, it’s harder than ever to find ways for them to stand out – but creating a brand new imprint with a strong, carefully crafted identity felt like it would enable us to do that. The Tinder Press list will be kept fairly trim – we’ll publish about ten to twelve books a year – and this will mean that none of them will be jostling for position or in danger of getting lost; each book will have its own place on the unique list and the space it needs to breathe. And we, in turn, can guarantee authors that they will be published with all the passion and focus they deserve.
And we hope in time readers will come to trust the Tinder Press name. We want the imprint to stand for integrity and quality, but we also want it to feel intimate, and accessible. To that end we’ve put together a Tinder Press team with a designated person in our publicity, sales and marketing department - faces that will, we hope, become familiar and give the imprint that personal touch. From the start we’ve been very keen to create a community around our books, and reach out directly to readers. And it feels like we’re starting to do that - we might not have published a single book yet, but we make a lot of noise, constantly chattering away on Twitter, Facebook, and blogs like this one.
So while, to some, launching a new imprint might seem like an act of pure madness right now, I hope you can see why, to us, it makes a whole world of sense. And unless people are just being kind to our faces, the launch of Tinder Press does seem to have been greeted with genuine enthusiasm. We’ve talked to agents and booksellers and bloggers, all manner of publishing eggs in fact, and we’ve been bowled over by the goodwill and support we’ve been shown. I think people like the fact that it’s a positive, optimistic thing to be doing in tough times. So while it’s very early days still, there does seem to be a good feeling around the imprint already, which we hope will get it off to a good start and establish something that will endure for years to come.
And we really do think we have a cracking launch list. Sitting alongside literary heavyweights like the mighty Maggie O’Farrell and the sublime Patrick Gale we have some thrilling debuts, with settings as diverse as North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains, bustling Bangalore and the Panhandle of Oklahoma – throw in a spot of prizewinning translated fiction too, and we think there’s something for everyone.
Each book is unique, each one is a gem, and we couldn’t be more excited about publishing them all. So to whet your appetite further, I asked some members of the Tinder team to pick a novel we’re publishing in 2013 that’s really getting them hot under the collar; here’s what they said:The Hope Factory’s breathtaking jacket is exactly right for a novel which is so vibrant, and bursting with life and colour. It’s the perfect Indian novel, with a beguiling cast of characters and a plot bubbling with intrigue, humour and love. It has a little bit of everything, the result of which is that it’s like nothing else.
Emily Kitchin, Editorial
Narrated by a young man who has recently departed this life and left his parents bereft, I defy anyone to read Michel Rostain's extraordinary novel, The Son and not be moved. It's heartbreaking yet also full of wit and, ironically, a curious joie de vivre.
Imogen Taylor, Editorial
I cannot wait for Peggy Riley’s Amity & Sorrow (March 2013), the compelling story of a woman named Amaranth who escapes with daughters Amity and Sorrow from her husband’s polygamous cult. A novel about God, Sex and Farming. What more could you want in a novel?
Sam Eades, Publicity
I love love love The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls. It has it all, the beautiful background of the North Carolina mountains, a glimpse of 1930s southern American society and the hierarchies of boarding school life. It is a tale of friendships and illicit affairs. But mostly it is a story of family secrets told through the eyes of a seemingly innocent young girl.
Brid Enright, Export
I finished Morgan McCathry's new novel, The Outline of Love , hardly able to draw breath. How can one so young write with such dazzling brilliance of tortured love, and dark, menacing family secrets, and the intricacies and ever-changing nuances of friendship. And the ability to use language in a way which makes you sigh in wonder. The woman is a future prizewinner and this book is utterly sublime!
Kim Hardie, Sales
I find myself drawn to the cover of Snapper with its kitsch but cool birds. It’s a real gem of a book: birdwatching for slackers.
Frances Doyle, Sales
Instructions for a Heatwave (Feb 2013) is an absolute wonder of a novel from the incredible Maggie O’Farrell. Set in the legendary heatwave of 1976, it takes you on a journey of discovery through the eyes of a family for whom life has never been straightforward and has taken a turn for the worse when their father just disappears one summer morning. Simply breathtaking, it left me yearning for more yet utterly delighted.
My thanks to Leah for giving us the background to the new venture, and to the Tinder Press team for this tantalising glimpse of what's to come. I'm looking forward to the books with great anticipation, and here's to the success of the imprint and its authors!