Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Chatting with Publishers: Sam Eades

Our guest in this month’s Chatting with Publishers series is Sam Eades, Editorial Director at Orion’s new imprint, Trapeze. Welcome, Sam.

Can you tell us something about your journey to your present job?
If you want the full journey my first job was at JJB putting coathangers on clothes… After graduating  I did work experience before getting my first publishing job as a publicity assistant at Transworld. I then worked in publicity at Headline and Macmillan before joining Orion in a joint editorial/publicity job. Authors I have worked with as a publicist include Neil Gaiman, Jessie Burton, Eowyn Ivey, Emily St John Mandel, Ann Cleeves, Kate Mosse and Linwood Barclay. A little shoutout to my fellow publicists here. Publicists direct and inform the publishing of a book. We read submissions, help with pitches for new business, share thoughts on the cover/copy/publishing vision. We think about the ideal reader for the book – working out which media and retailers to target, and coming up with a campaign strategy to reach them. We are also the person at a company who has direct contact with an author’s audience. We meet them at events, interact with them on social media.  I’ve found this experience so useful whilst learning the ropes as an editor. On the editorial side, learning how a book goes from typed manuscript to finished product has been eye-opening! I now work in Trapeze, a new imprint of Orion specialising in commercial fiction and non-fiction. We are looking for books to start conversations, and are a rowdy, collegiate bunch.

What is a typical day like as a busy editor – if there is such a thing as a typical day?
It is varied – a typical day could include meeting an agent to talk about potential projects, a film scout or literary scout to flag hot books, an author meeting to talk through edits, or an editorial meeting where we share thoughts on submissions. You might be writing back cover copy, editorial notes, or metadata to feed through to online retailers. You might be negotiating, or running through a contract. On the creative side you might be briefing a cover or brainstorming titles/shoutlines or pulling together a pitch for new business. You might be chatting through pr/marketing/sales plans for a forthcoming publication or presenting a book to colleagues at a sales conference or taking a book to acquisitions. Or you might be at home, flying solo and working on an edit! My day starts with a sprawling to do list and something will come in last minute that takes me off in an unexpected direction.

Have you ever wanted to write a book?

When not surrounded by books in your job what do you like to read for leisure?
Cosy crime, psychological thrillers, police procedurals, YA novels, coming-of-age stories, and narrative non-fiction. I try and read one Non Work book a week, to refresh my palate!

What are you looking for at present?
A great sweeping love story or a book that blends magic/SF with another genre. And I’m learning to be prepared for unexpected books that might not be on my wishlist.

If you receive a submission that is not a genre you handle, do you pass it to another editor in your company?
I do! I can pass things on to several imprints at Orion.

Does your company accept un-agented submissions?
Gollancz occasionally accept un-agented submissions during specific times of the year (check their website for more details). You can also submit directly to W & N’s fantastic Hometown Tales programme: 

Do you have a crystal ball? What do you feel will be then next 'big thing’?
Our Crystal Ball is called the Consumer Insight department, a fantastic team who analyse the market and predict whether a trend might run out of steam or accelerate. I match this kind of information with my gut. I’ve looked at over 350 submissions so far and try and put myself in the mind of a reader. If I’m hungering after a certain type of fiction, might they be too? For example, I acquired a fantastic weepy called WE OWN THE SKY, as not only was it a brilliant book but I also had a feeling that readers (like me) might be ready for another FAULT IN OUR STARS.

If you have one piece of advice to give to anyone submitting a manuscript, what would it be?
Firstly finish the book. Then get an agent, don’t submit directly to a publisher unless they accept unsolicited submissions. Agents are a great thing, they protect your interests and will make sure your manuscript is seen by the relevant people. To find an agent get the Writers and Artists Yearbook and pull together a list of people who represent authors with work similar to yours. Read their submission guidelines and follow them to the letter. Keep your covering letter to a page – have a bit about you, a bit about the plot, a two line pitch and comparison titles. If you don’t know what your book is like, you might fall at the first hurdle. If an agent calls it in, feel free to chivvy other people on submission list. Be professional, honest and play by the rules.
If that doesn’t work… try creative writing courses to hone your manuscript, join writers groups, ask people you trust for feedback on your manuscript. Enter writing competitions/go to events where you can get feedback on your book such as York Festival of Writing or the Curtis Brown Discovery Day.

Or try self-publishing! If you do, you will need to put in a lot of work yourself to get the right cover, to perfect your online copy, and to publicise and market the book yourself. But that work can pay off. And publishers and agents are looking at the Kindle charts for self-published talent.

What a wealth of helpful information, Sam. Thank you so much and good luck with the new imprint.

Natalie Kleinman writes contemporary and historical romantic novels and has thrown a bit of a mystery into the mix in her current wip. She is accumulating a nice collection of Regency works to help with her research. You can follow her blog at

Thank you Natalie! 

If you would like to write for the RNA blog please contact us on

1 comment:

Sandra Mackness said...

What a riveting read! Many thanks, Sam Eades for sharing so much information, and Natalie Kleinman for asking the questions.