winged reviews
Event, Fresh Start September, Interview / September 3, 2012

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Hope you guys are enjoying the event so far! Today on Fresh Start September we are hosting the editor of Strange Chemistry, the lovely Amanda Rutter!

Strange Chemistry is a global imprint dedicated to the best in modern young adult science fiction, fantasy and everything in between. This Angry Robot imprint has made a big impact on the Young Adult world so far, and I for one cannot wait to read more of their upcoming titles! They officially launch this month and their first two titles are:

Blackwood by Gwenda Bond   Shift by Kim Curran
Blackwood by Gwenda Bond   Shift by Kim Curran
Order on Amazon US
Order on Amazon UK
Add on Goodreads
  Order on Amazon US
Order on Amazon UK
Add on Goodreads

Aren’t the Strange Chemistry titles exciting? Read on for more about launching a new imprint and debut titles from the editor herself, Amanda Rutter!

What are the reasons a publisher would start a new imprint?
I think the main reason that a publisher would decide to start a new imprint is because they are unable to achieve what they wish to do within the constraints of their current imprint. Angry Robot (Strange Chemistry’s parent company) deals in adult SF and fantasy, and so required a new imprint in order to bring out books that young adult readers would want to pick up. Next year the crime imprint Exhibit A is being launched. I think it definitely ensures that a brand is not diluted by creating different imprints. It means you can target the right readership, that the right people are in place to choose the books that are being published.

What are some of the most challenging aspects of starting a new imprint?
Ha! Definitely the name! I jest, but that did take an awfully long time to pin down! We were lucky, with Strange Chemistry – although we are a new imprint, we are not a new company, since we belong to Angry Robot. This means that all of the logistical information and contacts were already in place – we didn’t need to find a company to distribute the titles, we haven’t had to build a reputable and reliable list of copy editors and proof readers, because that’s all in place through Angry Robot. Really, we’ve been left with the fun stuff – choosing the books and getting to tell everyone about them!

What’s the most fun thing you got to do with Strange Chemistry so far?
I would definitely say that the most fun thing is *always* making an author’s dream come true, by telling them that they have a book deal. We know just how hard authors work to get to a point where their books are presented to editors in publishing companies. To be able to say that you love a book enough to publish it – that is a wonderful moment!

Apart from that, I would say being able to jet out to New York to attend BEA has been a highlight. It was fantastic to meet agents, editors and bloggers based in the US – I love face to face meetings rather than having to deal through phone and email, so it was a simply fantastic way to achieve this. New York is always a joy to visit!

Can you tell us about the time you signed the first Strange Chemistry book and why? How did you pick the rest of the titles?
I started work in December last year and it wasn’t too long before the office closed for our Christmas break, so I was actually at my parents’ house, sat in my pyjamas and, as I recall, eating some Turkish Delight when I read the first chapter of Poltergeeks (my first signing for Strange Chemistry). I recall it because I actually had shivers and felt as though I was reading a *real* book, rather than just a manuscript on a screen. I couldn’t stop reading and that’s when I knew it would be the first book we’d sign – luckily the rest of the team here at Strange Chemistry agreed with me!

The rest of the titles have fallen into place over a period of seven months or so. It’s been a pretty quick turnaround, because we had to ensure that the five launch titles were ready to go, and that the first half of 2013 was pretty much set. I receive manuscripts from agents very regularly and each week I set some time aside in order to read through them. Most of them I will turn down, for various reasons, but every now and then one will come through that I just love. I can say, hand on heart, that every title I take on has a character that I simply fell in love with – Julie from the aforementioned Poltergeeks; Scott from Shift; Miranda from Blackwood. They all spoke to me and demanded that I read their story!

What qualities do you look for in a debut author?
I never look for an AUTHOR; I only ever look for a good book. Obviously once I start thinking that I want to sign a book, I will have a snoop to find out more about an author. I like a debut author to have an online presence – information about them, about what they’re working on, things like that. It’s not essential, but we like all of our authors to cultivate relationships with their readers through online means, so it makes sense to see if an author is already that way inclined. All of the authors I’ve taken on have already been on Twitter and/or Facebook; most of them have had an author website, with a blog. These days I can’t over-emphasize the importance of this, since a lot of readers will look for their next book online or try to connect with an author once they’ve read their book.

What in your opinion is the best way to promote a debut title?
Hmm, this is a tough one – you see, we’re a small publisher with a small publishers’ marketing budget! I’m sure if you asked this of someone within a larger publishing company, they would have a very different answer…

I guess the main way is to make a connection with the people that you would like to pick up your book. Read blogs and find out about the bloggers/reviewers who might be intrigued by this particular title. Chat on Twitter. Strange Chemistry has a habit of using Netgalley in order to send out as many eARCs as we can, so that people are reading and talking about the books. You really need to get people interested and I think the only true way to achieve this it to start a conversation.

I want to say a big thank you to Amanda Rutter for participating in Fresh Start September and allowing Faye, Melissa and I to bring you this interview and donating some amazing prizes as part of the giveaway below!

As a bonus part of the event, we are giving everyone a chance to win some prizes donated by our wonderful participants and ourselves! The prizes include:

  • 2 winners of Strange Chemistry ARC packs, each pack including a copy of Poltergeeks by Sean Cummings, The Assassin’s Curse by Cassandra Rose Clarke AND Katya’s World by Jonathan L Howard (courtesy of Strange Chemistry)
  • 1 winner of an eBook of My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century by Rachel Harris (courtesy of Entangled Publishing)
  • 1 winner of an paperback of Speechless by Hannah Harrington (courtesy of Harlequin) – US/CAN ONLY
  • 1 winner of a hardcover copy of 34 Pieces of You by Carmen Rodrigues (courtesy of the author) – US ONLY, enter here
  • 3 winners of a book of your choice from any that has been featured in Fresh Start September (each courtesy of the hosts)

The giveaway is INTERNATIONAL (except when specified otherwise) and will run until the end of the event (30 September). Remember to follow the Twitter and Facebook pages of the prizes you want to win, for example, to be eligible to win the Strange Chemistry Prize, you must follow them on Twitter and Facebook. Good luck!

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3 Responses to Fresh Start September: Interview with Strange Chemistry

  1. Pingback: Winged Reviews - Welcome to Fresh Start September!

  2. Kulsuma says:

    So interesting to read more about the ins and outs of publishing! I look forward to reading books from Strange Chemistry in future.

  3. Pingback: Winged Reviews - Fresh Start September - Winners and Thanks!

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