Building the Hot Key list – a Publisher’s view

What could be more exciting than building a list from scratch? It’s every editor’s fantasy: to hand pick books and authors you love, that you have lots of room for, and getting to acquire a dream list!

But of course, there is more to it than that! There is a business to run, and a profit to be made, a future to be forged. As much as it is a thrilling task, it’s a daunting one. What makes it so much fun is knowing that Sarah Odedina, myself and Sara O’Connor share a passion and a vision: to cherish our authors and to work with them to produce outstanding books for all reading tastes and abilities for 9 year-old readers and upward. This shared vision makes the acquisitions process feel like so much less hard work!

As an editor, my tastes are varied, perhaps eclectic. Commercial, literary – any genre – but all submissions need to move me and take me somewhere, and with people I want to know about. There are some crucial ingredients: good – hopefully great – writing. A cracking story. Characters I must believe in. Our launch list delivers on each of these ingredients and encompasses the funny, the silly, the sinister, the sexy and the exciting – sometimes all in one book!  At Hot Key we will only go on building more books and authors of this calibre into our programme for the years ahead. We are buying books that children (and some adults) and we ourselves want to read. We are enthusiastically carrying the torch for the physical as well as the electronic book reading experience. Treasuring tradition, but embracing the new with our exciting digital plans. And our books are already causing a stir, as the trade is waking up to what we have to offer on our launch list, and our competitors look enviously at our beautiful collector’s bound proofs (a numbered one  for every book!)

It’s so great to be looking forward optimistically, excitedly and creatively to our backlist as well as our formidable front list.

And we have some surprises up our sleeves too. Projects that will showcase how creatively and laterally we think as a team and position Hot Key Books as innovators and influencers in Children’s fiction.

Enjoy, and watch this space!



2 responses to “Building the Hot Key list – a Publisher’s view

  1. I only heard about Hot Key ten minutes ago! I googled them at once and found you were there and read your history with huge pleasure. I too knew the dear dead days of the creaky old house in Bllomsbury and also the wonderful Pam Royds, who has been the most powerful influence in my writing life. One of the great editors, with patience, insight and sheer knowledge such as I’ve never met since (and many years afterwards I was edited by her daughter Caz at Walker. Like mother, like daughter).

    What a wonderful mission statement that is. A new publisher which aims to act as a publisher should and nowadays too often doesn’t. More power to your collective elbows!

  2. Nice post! I bet your authors are just as excited to be part of something like this. Congratulations on the great launch list!

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