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Tue, 09 Dec 2008 11:40
The Book Depository: What/who do you see as your primary market?
Judy Piatkus (Piatkus Books): Our Piatkus fiction is targeted mostly (though not always) towards women. We publish several of the world’s most successful commercial fiction authors and we also publish a careful selection of more upmarket literary fiction. We are currently also building a number of authors in the UK market in the niche genres of romance, historical romance, and vampire romances. Our novels are read by women of all ages and all backgrounds and cultures all over the world. Their appeal is completely mainstream.
Our Piatkus non-fiction lifestyle list is informative and inspiring and is aimed at everyone who is interested in learning more about their health as well as all those who like to think for themselves about different aspects of their daily lives.
Our Portrait imprint is more about entertainment than information and appeals to history and music buffs as well as all those who enjoy good writing in any genre.
BD: What are the principal challenges/opportunities you see at the moment in the business of publishing books?
JP: This is a wonderful time for publishers in that heavy book readers are buying more books than ever before. It is possible to sell very large quantities of titles that are really working.
The challenges however are many. With more than 10,000 new books published every month, each book has to be sufficiently special that booksellers have a reason to stock it and so competition is tremendously fierce. Margins are increasingly under threat as the high street retailers contend with their local supermarket and online competitors. And, most difficult of all to combat, how do you find and keep new readers in our fast-moving society where setting aside time to read is becoming more and more of a luxury because there are so many competing demands on both our work time and our leisure time.
BD: What brings you to the decision to publish a particular title/author?
JP: However, much we love a project, if our costings don’t indicate that it will make a profit, we can’t do it. The reason for that is that we are completely independent and we have to make reasonable profits to survive. We are offered thousands of projects each year and it is not easy to make the best choices. Our editioral team is highly experienced and a book must be championed by an editor before we will consider taking it on. The books we finally decide to make offers for are the ones that we feel the most enthusiasm for publishing and selling. Every single person in the company is involved with each book at some stage so when we make an offer, the whole company is committing to be involved with the new title.
BD: What books are you most proud of having published?
JP: There are so many books that I am proud of that it is impossible to list them all. In the 1980s, we published Colour Me Beautiful which did not just revolutionise the way women thought about the clothes they bought but also influenced the way the fashion industry displayed and sold their clothes. In that decade we also began to publish books on alternative health and wellbeing. When we published The Reflexology Handbook by Laura Norman in 1984 hardly anyone knew what reflexology was. In the 1990s, we were very successful with The Curry Club range of cookbooks and we began to publish more health and mind, body and spirit books before the subjects became mainstream. Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom by Christiane Northrup, a marvellous book about how our emotions affect our phsycial health, Many Lives Many Masters by Brian L Weiss, the classic book on past lives and Clear Your Clutter with Feng Shui by Karen Kingston all opened up different ways of thinking to the millions of people who have read them. We have one of the best lists of mind, body and spirit titles in the world. In 1996, we published The Optimum Nutrition Bible by Patrick Holford who has probably done more to change the way people think about the food they eat than anyone else. And when we first published it, only a handful of specialist shops sold vitamins and minerals. Now they can be found in every chemist and healthstore throughout the world.
Over the years our fiction list has included novels by some of the most successful writers in the world - Danielle Steel, Virginia Andrews, Harlan Coben, Robert Crais and now of course Nora Roberts, J D Robb, Linda Howard, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Julia Quinn, Lisa Kleypas, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Marge Piercy and many more wonderful storytellers.
BD: What books are you working on right now?
JP: This spring we have had a lot of attention for Zigzag by Nicholas Booth and Julie Andrews by Richard Stirling, both on our Portrait list. Coming up shortly, we have Smart Food for Smart Kids by Patrick Holford and Fiona McDonald Joyce and The New School Rules by Francis Gilbert, two very strong titles which will be of interest to all parents. We have four new authors who we have multiple contracts for who we are planning to build – Dr Mark Atkinson, author of the The Mind Body Bible, Life Detox by detox gurus Amanda Hamilton and Sandy Newbigging and Instant Intuition by Anne Jirsch which has a foreword by Paul McKenna. Grande Expectations by Karen Blumenthal is a book about a year in the life of Starbucks stock which explains how the stockmarket works and why stocks fluctuate and Richistan is a fascinating look at the new wealth boom and what millionaires do with their money.
We feel that this spring we have new books on many of the hot topics of our daily lives which is what Piatkus has always been known for. Our fiction list includes new novels from many of our favourite authors listed above along with a number of new writers who we are launching. There is much much more that we are excited about so please go to our website for further information.
These are The Book Depository's 5 favourite Piatkus Books titles:
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