Ask An Industry Expert: Nia Beynon
20 September 2019
Today I’m delighted to welcome Nia Beynon, Publishing/Sales and Marketing Director of the new fiction publishing company BOLDWOOD BOOKS.
Hello, and welcome Nia. Having opened for submissions just over six months ago, I’m guessing you’ve been rather busy! Can you tell us what the company’s main priorities have been in these early months and your own particular role in this?
It has been quite the year! We set the company up from scratch, from building desks on February 1st through to our first book publishing exactly six months later. We have now published 7 books and signed 25 authors. So it really has been a whirlwind but the most amazing experience. Starting from a blank piece of paper is so liberating – you can set everything up exactly how you want to, with no baggage. It really is a once in a lifetime opportunity.
Of course you can’t be a successful publishing house without talented authors so, along with setting up the infrastructure of the company, our main priority has been acquiring a wonderful array of books to publish. We have felt incredibly fortunate to have had such a huge amount of support from the writing community, including many RNA members.
In terms of my own role, I have been spending time setting up our internal processes, from contracts through to production and distribution. I’ve also been setting up our agreements with the retailers, acquiring books for the list and planning our sales and marketing strategies. A bit of everything!
What would you say makes Boldwood different to other publishing houses?
For us, the publishing process is a partnership with authors and so we involve them in every stage of the process. Our commitment to authors is that their books will be available in every format – ebook, audiobook (both CD and digital download) and paperback – globally on the same day. This is not something that many publishers offer, so we’re proud to have put this jigsaw together. We also have a truly global outlook to our publishing so ensure that every book we publish has a strategy for each major territory.
What type of submissions are you personally looking for at the moment?
As a proud Welshwoman I would love to find a lovely, warm Welsh voice in romance or women’s fiction that really pulls on the heartstrings.
Your submission guidelines ask for a one-page synopsis, covering letter, the manuscript and ideas for future books. Which do you normally look at first, and which carries more weight?
The covering letter is the first thing I will look at – it’s so helpful to get a sense of the author, their background, ambition and an elevator pitch for the book, including where they see themselves sitting in the market. Of course the final decision will come down to the manuscript itself, but I would strongly recommend doing research and spending just as much time on the letter as you would the synopsis. It’s an author’s opportunity to make a strong first impression and get editors excited about reading their manuscript.
Do you have any tips for writing a really good synopsis?
Writing a good synopsis is a skill. My advice would be stick to one page and give the essence of the book without going through every last plot strand. It’s helpful for writers to have a 1 line pitch for their book and so that is a good starting point. Easier said than done – as I said, it’s a skill!
Is there anything you or your publishing house wouldn’t accept right now?
We don’t accept any science fiction or fantasy as our editorial team doesn’t have the specialist expertise in these areas. We also do not accept YA, short stories, poetry or non-fiction.
Do you look for anything in an author apart from a brilliant book? (such as social media presence)
Whenever I speak to a prospective author I ask what they are looking for in a publisher. For me, it’s really important that we align in what we want from the partnership. I’m looking for authors who take their writing seriously and are committed to working hard to make their books a success. A good social media presence is a plus, but as long as an author is up for working on their social channels, it’s not a prerequisite.
What is your typical working day like?
I’m fortunate to have a very varied role – I am involved in every stage of the process, which I love. So I could be editing a manuscript, working on a cover brief, managing digital advertising, liaising with our audio partner or making and distributing ebooks. Every day is genuinely different.
What’s the best part of your job?
The best part of the job is going on the publishing journey with an author – from the moment you call to offer a contract, through the editorial process and then publication and getting the book into readers’ hands. It’s an amazing process and one I feel lucky to be a part of.
Can you tell us the last published book you read which you really enjoyed and why?
Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty because I really wanted to read the book before watching the TV series! She writes such brilliant characters and I love her style – she does an excellent job of making you feel like part of the investigation rather than an outsider.
Thanks for finding time in what sounds like a frenetic schedule to talk with us, Nia, and all good wishes as you take Boldwood Books forward.
For more about Nia and Boldwood Books:
Nia was talking with Susan Leona Fisher: http://www.SLFisherAuthor.co.uk