Friday, February 12, 2016

Meet The Publisher: Catherine Burke of Sphere

Welcome back to Sally Quilford who this month is talking with Catherine Burke of Sphere.

Catherine has worked in publishing for fifteen years, first as a bookseller at BCA (Book Club Associates), then as an Editor at Harlequin Mills & Boon where she ran the MIRA list and published the RNA anthology, Loves Me, Loves Me Not.

In 2010, Catherine was approached to join Little, Brown Book Group as Editorial Director and she is
now publisher of their commercial imprint Sphere and Executive Director for Group Rights and Hachette Audio UK. Catherine told us, “Sphere publish many wonderful authors across all genres, including RoNA winners and nominees including Elizabeth Chadwick, Jenny Colgan, Emma Fraser, Carole Matthews and the much-missed Catherine King.”

How many titles does your company publish each year and where are your books sold?

Little, Brown Book Group has an incredibly diverse list of fiction and non-fiction titles and we publish approximately 1700 titles per year. At Sphere, we publish around 180 novels per year, across all commercial genres.

What do you look for in a romantic novel?

Characters I believe in, a conflict that must be overcome, a story that leaves me in tears – I am partial to a weep!

How might writers improve their chances of being published by you?

Read, read and read some more. Know what it is that you love about your favourite books and write the book you want to read. 

What reason might you reject a novel/author?

If it doesn’t compel me to keep reading – I look for real page-turning, immersive qualities in the novels I publish.

How long can writers expect to wait for a response to their submissions? This includes acknowledgements or acceptances/rejections.

We work directly with agents and we would aim to be back in touch with an agent within two weeks of receiving the submission – often sooner.

How do you see the future for writers of romance and the romance publishing industry in general?

Love absolutely does conquer all and readers are always going to want to read romantic fiction – I can’t imagine fiction without love and romance, it’s an absolute fundamental of life itself! As for the wider industry, it’s hugely exciting to see the variety of ways readers choose to enjoy their romantic fiction now – whether through audio downloads or CDs, ebooks, HBs or PBs – all routes are open and the genre has never been more in demand. There are some sensational authors out there and incredibly talented new authors emerging, too.

Do you attend RNA events? (so that our readers might have the chance to meet you)
I was at the RNA Conference last year and regularly attend the RoNAs and the Summer and Winter RNA Parties. If you spot me, please do come and say hello!

Thank you, Catherine, for those informative answers. 

If you have anything you want to ask Catherine, please feel free to do so in the comments and I will point her in your direction.

Sally Quilford:

Sally is the author of over 20 novels, all involving a central romance, with a bit of intrigue on the side. 

You can read more about Sally here.

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Gwen Kirkwood said...

Sorry to be so long in commenting. Since Dot Lumley, my agent, died I have not looked for another as she had just moved me to Hale and they were happy to work directly with me. However should I assume from one of your answers that you only accept submissions via an agent? I understand this in many ways because it must cut down the slush pile and save time and money.

isabellajrose said...

As I'm on my tenth book as an indie author I would now like a trad publisher what is the best way to go about this and how long do RNA books have to be in the new writers scheme. 50000 or 80000.