Writing Magazine

LUCKY 21

COMMERICAL FICTION PHOEBE MORGAN

An editorial director at HarperCollins, and author of four novels, with The Wild Girls due out in April

@Phoebe_A_Morgan

“Lockdown or no, books matter.”

I think it’s safe to say 2020 has been a curveball for us all. Thankfully, the publishing industry has got through it, and the top-line is that books are still selling. The support for independent bookshops in recent months (including the wonderful #SignForOurBookshops initiative from Holly Bourne) has been phenomenal and heart-warming to see, and we are all hoping for a strong 2021.

Many are wondering if there will be a boom in cosy crime following the huge success of Richard Osman’s The Thursday Murder Club, and we’re also seeing renewed interest in speculative fiction – perhaps born from a desire to escape the current reality. Two come to mind – Sleep Tight by CS Green focuses on a secret division of the Met that focuses on supernatural crimes, and new acquisition Impossible by Sarah Lotz is about a couple who fall in love whilst living in alternative worlds.

As an editor, I’ve also had a slew of submissions that focus on the medical – several thrillers with doctors or surgeons at their heart (pun not intended) which I think comes from the intense public interest in science and the health industry as a result of the pandemic. I read an interesting piece of consumer insight that said many more young people now say they want to be doctors when they grow up, and I think we could see that reflected in fiction.

With many books still being pushed back, it’s likely that 2021 will be a busy one for publishing – but as we’ve seen, the appetite for reading is clearly there. Lockdown or no, books matter, and they have helped us all escape from the world over the last twelve months.

INDEPENDENT AUTHORS ORNA ROSS

Author and founder and director of the Alliance of Independent Authors

@IndieAuthorALLI

“Readers are tired of big brands pretending to be human, pretending to care.”

2020 was an extraordinary year, with many personal challenges for authors, but all the indications are that it was a bumper year for sales of author-published books. Distributor PublishDrive noted a 58% increase in booksales in October

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