Tuesday, September 23, 2014

What's in your Pocket?

Today we are delighted to welcome Tracey Steel who works as part The People’s Friend fiction team, with special responsibility for Pocket Novels. We asked her about these books, complete in their own right but following a very different path to publication from the ‘norm’.

Did you work for DC Thomson before taking on your current job?
I joined DC Thomson straight from school at the tender age of 18! That was way back in 1987 and my first job was writing the horoscopes on Jackie magazine. It’s true….they’re made up! From there I worked on most of the teenage titles then I had the brilliant job of serialising books for the Dundee Courier. One month it was John Grisham and the next, Joan Collins!

How many Pocket Novels are published each year?
Twenty-four. Two a month.

Where can we purchase Pocket Novels? Twenty-four novels a year is a huge amount. Can you tell us something about their ‘shelf life’?

Each Pocket Novel is available for a fortnight. They are available from most supermarkets or you can order them on line at www.dcthomsonshop.co.uk

What happens then, after you withdraw them?
The author can then self-publish or sell to Large Print AFTER we’ve published it. They also have to use their own original manuscript i.e. not the one we’ve edited.

What would you say is the best word count for a People’s Friend Pocket Novel
With our new larger print they tend to come in between 40,000 and 43,000 words.

How does an author submit and does she/he have to have written for the People’s Friend Magazine?
Anyone can submit a Pocket Novel manuscript. All I need is a synopsis and the opening three chapters…anyone can have a go!

What would be the normal lead time before you can reply with an answer?
It really does vary as I’m part of the weekly Fiction team as well, so please bear with me! We have rather a lot of manuscripts

How long does it take from acceptance to publication?
It can be anything up to around six months.

Is there a genre that readers prefer?
We had a pretty detailed survey done a couple of years ago and no one genre came out on top. As long as the story’s engaging it doesn’t matter where or when it’s set.

What are you looking for at the moment?
Family sagas, ‘gentle’ crimes, but not murder, and romance!

What do you enjoy reading and how do you spend your leisure time when not working on Pocket Novels?
I’m a crime fan! I love forensic-based books and thrillers!

Thank you so much for joining us today. I hope there’s room in you inbox after our followers have read this.

This blog is brought to you by Elaine Everest and Natalie Kleinman. If you would like to write about the craft of writing or perhaps be interviewed about your writing life please contact us at elaineeverest@aol.com


angela britnell said...

Jackie was one of my favourite magazines but long before your time! Interesting interview and I'd recommend trying pocket novels to anyone who's interested - Tracey is great to work with.

Noelene said...

Tracey, it's lovely to "meet" you and I look forward to our continued association.

Rosemary Gemmell said...

Very helpful to read your post, Tracey - thank you!