Welcome to the
first in our series, Chatting with Publishers. Today Natalie Kleinman
Kate Bradley, Senior Commissioning Editor at Harper Fiction, who was kind enough to answer her questions. So, for
all you writers who would like an insight into another side of the industry,
here it is.

Can you tell us something
about your journey to your present job?
I’ve been really lucky to have a second career as an editor. I
worked in retail and direct mail bookselling for many years, picking up valuable experience about readers; what people buy and why. It’s all helped me as a commissioning editor – I always think
about who the end consumer is when I’m acquiring a new novel or writer.

What is a typical day like
as a busy editor – if there is such a thing as a typical day?
Yes, there is definitely such a thing as a typical day – it’s
characterised by editing and publishing mostly. Editing is where you work with
an author to help make their book as good as possible; we can do umpteen edits
before the book is ready for the world. Publishing is really the strategic and
tactical process of getting people to buy the book; it’s about the jacket design
working with the copy to make the book appealing to potential readers; using social
media to reach out directly to consumers; working with our Sales and Marketing
teams to engage retailers; all of this is often the hard graft; editors love
editing and sometimes find it hard to stop!
Have you ever wanted to
write a book?
Occasionally, but I know I’m best at helping writers to realise
their ideas and to get their brilliant stories down on paper (or laptop!).
When not surrounded by
books in your job what do you like to read for leisure?
Books about the sea.
What are you looking for at
The next big thing! Honestly, I just really like books that take
me on an emotional journey, whether that be historical or contemporary.
If you receive a submission
that is not a genre you handle, do you pass it to another editor in your
Yes, always. I’ll often have a read too, even it if isn’t an area
I handle. It’s good to see what’s out there and all of the editors at Harper
work very closely together, we read each other’s book all of the time and share
the things we’ve loved.
Does your company
accept un-agented submissions?
No, we’d be deluged. Better that agents do some of that ground
work for us, it’s what they’re really good at; sifting for gold – we’re the
Do you have a crystal ball?
What do you feel will be then next ‘big thing’?’
If I knew that…at the moment, our genre is very volatile and
anything can happen. One thing’s for sure, readers will always want books that
speak to the heart, but perhaps with books that subvert the idea of the
traditional heroine.
If you have one piece of
advice to give to anyone submitting a manuscript, what would it be?
Write a very brief introductory letter; no life stories! Make what
you send as good as it can be – work tirelessly on it. Be patient and take the
feedback you are offered positively; it will all help you to hone your craft.
Thank you for answering my
questions, Kate, and for giving our readers so much helpful information.
About Natalie:
Natalie Kleinman writes contemporary and
historical romance novels and has thrown a bit of a mystery into the mix in her
current wip. She is accumulating a nice collection of Regency works to help
with her research. You can follow her blog at
Thank you, Natalie
If you would like to write for the RNA blog please contact us on elaineeverest@aol.com

  1. Author
    Julie Vince 2 years ago

    Very helpful interview, thanks for posting this!

  2. Author
    Karen 2 years ago

    Thanks for sharing a bit about the publishing world with us, Kate, and for such good advice.

  3. Author
    Rae Cowie 2 years ago

    Great practical advice, Kate, thanks. Note to self – keep the submission letter simple and take the reader on an emotional journey.

  4. Author
    Adrienne Vaughan 2 years ago

    Kate always shoots from the hip, logical, sensible and so much insider knowledge, could listen to her all day! Great piece, Natalie.

  5. Author
    Rosemary Morris 2 years ago

    My thanks to Natalie for interviewing Kate; and thank you Kate for interesting answers to Natalie's questions. I've taken your advice about short, to the point letters.

  6. Author
    kate bradley 2 years ago

    Thanks to Natalie for the great questions, I tried to follow my own advice and be to the point!

  7. Author
    Natalie Kleinman 2 years ago

    You are every interviewer's dream, Kate. Thank you again

  8. Author
    Anita Chapman 2 years ago

    Great interview, thank you both!

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