Event report

Conference 2012 - Boldly going where Ebury Fiction has not gone before

Report published 26 July 2012

Ebury is part of Random House and is a well-established non-fiction publisher. Gillian Green joined Random House to launch Ebury fiction in 2008, and is currently Ebury’s Fiction Director. Gillan talked about Ebury Press Fiction and answered questions from attendees.

Ebury Press Fiction publish commercial fiction aimed at women, including general and literary fiction, historical fiction and crime. They are currently growing their list from twenty fiction titles published in 2011, to a planned thirty titles in 2013.

Ebury are open to submissions from both agented and unagented writers in all the genres listed above. Average word count is 90-150,000 words, with an acknowledgement that sagas and historicals tend to be longer. Gillian mentioned a particular interest in books that would appeal to reading groups, and suggested that there is still a market for commercial sexy stories that might not suit a erotica-specific imprint.

Ebury also publish Rouge List romance, Rouge X erotic romance, and are currently relaunching erotica imprint, Black Lace. The Del Rey imprint, publishing sci-fi and fantasy, will launch in the UK 2013.

Black Lace is being relaunched with the re-release of two original Black Lace novels. New Black Lace publication will start in September. Full submissions guidelines will appear online in August/September, but word count is likely to be c.70-80,000. Black Lace novels can be contemporary or historical, and can focus on same-sex pairings. Ebury are not commissioning individual Black Lace short stories at present, but might consider complete short story collections.

Gillian answered questions on topics from glittery book covers to 50 Shades:

The next big thing?
More emotional maturity. Women’s fiction is broadening out. That doesn’t mean no more rom coms, but they need emotional complexity. Historical fiction is having a resurgence and the genre is still growing. The current craze for erotica is a bubble that will burst, but not this year, and enjoy it while it lasts

Sparkly pink book covers?
She showed a slide of Charlotte Street by Danny Wallace - a rom com being marketed to appeal to men and women and noted that Wallace has an existing male and female fanbase. She suggested that it can be harder for female rom com writers to appeal to men so the marketing approach might be different. She also suggested that change only comes when a publisher takes a risk and gave the black cover of Scarlet Bailey’s The Night Before Christmas as an example of a non-traditional rom com cover put out by Ebury.

The appeal of 50 Shades of Grey?
At its heart it’s a love story. This is added to by the thrill of reading a “naughty” book and the fact that there’s a trilogy centred around the same characters.

Written by Alison Maynard

It's a fact

When David Szelnick bought the rights to Margaret Mitchell’s 'Gone With the Wind', only six months after its 1936 publication, the whole world cast Clark Gable as Rhett Butler before the ink was dry on the contract.