Hookline - bringing together new writers and good readers

Posted by Yvonne Barlow on Tuesday, January 29, 2013
Many years ago, a new writer sent their manuscript to a publisher, and they would hear a 'yes', 'no' or 'maybe'.
Today, new writers send their manuscripts to publishers, and they are likely receive a postcard telling them to get an agent. Many agents now act like editors, helping their writers through rewrites. In turn, publishers turn to agents they trust - and agents stick to writers who have earned their royalties, or are writing in a fashion that is likely to earn good royalties (hence the popularity of new writers who turn out mummy porn). 
The new writer with something different to present can find it very difficult to find a place in this relationship.
Hence, the Hookline Novel Competition!
We bypass agents and editors and take the work of new writers directly to the readers. We trust book groups, those dedicated consumers of novels who meet regularly to discuss their latest read. However, we knew when we set up Hookline, that we couldn't cope with the vast numbers of writers who were likely to submit their work. We needed a benchmark and, after much discussion, we set that at post-graduate writing level. We did so because these courses are not unique - most universities now offer an MA in writing. We also recognise that the students of these courses make sacrifices, both in money and time, to learn this craft. Anyone can tap out an 80,000 word novel, but it takes dedication and study to consider the pace, character development, plot and writing style that should come together to result in a good read.
At Hookline, we try to bring dedicated new writers together with consuming readers in the hope that we will find some very good reads. This is our fifth year, and a quick look at the titles we have published so far shows a range of quality fiction.
It has been a slow process. Book shops were reluctant to take our titles, despite our offer of sale and return. Many traditional book shops, while asking for customer support, are reluctant to change because they like their comfortable billing process. No matter, our sales have increased 1000 percent over the last year thanks to e-readers. 
Actually, it's not thanks to digital e-readers. It is thanks to our readers who are learning to look at Hookline titles for a novel that has received a thumbs up from readers who are just like them.
 


Tags: "hookline novel competition" "hookline books" "ma writing" "book groups" 
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Yvonne Barlow Editor at Hookline Books - where book clubs and readers choose the novels that go to print.

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