An Interview With… Sam Eades

Hi everyone, and this morning I’m delighted to welcome Sam Eades to the blog today. She kindly took the time to answer some of my questions, mainly about how life for her in the publishing industry began, but also about her current role as a publishing director for Trapeze Books. Oh, and also what she is up to in lockdown.

Over to you, Sam…

1) How did you first come to be involved in the publishing industry? Did you actually have any other career plans?

I didn’t really know the publishing industry existed when I was younger! I studied English at university and spent the Summer doing work experience placements at schools, literary agents and publishers trying to work out what I wanted to do as a grownup. It wasn’t until I got my first job as a publicity assistant at Transworld that I realised exactly what the publishing industry was, and how lucky I was to be part of it!

2) What prompted you to become an Editorial/Publishing Director? Can you tell me a little about your role in the publishing process for the manuscript?

I worked as a publicist for seven years at Transworld, Headline and Macmillan which I absolutely loved. However I found myself wanting to be part of the beginning of the process of publishing a book, to determine how a book might be published and even what editorial direction to take. I initially joined Orion in a hybrid publicity and editorial role before finally joining new imprint Trapeze Books as a fully commissioning editor. Now I get my hands on every part of the publishing process! I read manuscripts and take them to acquisition. I acquire them through negotiations with agents. Then I work directly with the author on shaping the manuscript through rounds of structural and line edits. I make sure our publication runs to critical path, working with production and Ed management departments. I brief the cover, write retailer copy and back/front cover copy, and work with our digital, sales, audio, pr and marketing teams to devise a publication strategy so the book ends up in the hands of the reader in all its various formats.

3) How do you know that you have connected with a manuscript? What does an author do that leaves you wanting more?

At Trapeze I have a specific brief. I’m looking for books that start conversations, that hit the zeitgeist. If a submission is in that area I normally know I want to publish it after a few pages for me to get a sense of voice, style, story and feeling. I love authors who have something to say, where there might me two layers to the story, what’s on the page and in the spaces between the words.

4) What advice do you have for any writer looking to submit to agents and publishers?

Authors often want to circumvent the agent process and submit directly to publishers. For some genres, authors might be best served to work with publishers directly like the fantastic team at Bookouture. But having worked with some fantastic agents recently who have edited their clients work, nailed the publishing vision, and thought so carefully at submission stage, and worked so hard during negotiations – why wouldn’t you want a brilliant agent fighting in your corner? It might be time consuming finding the right agent – but ultimately they will help writers sustain careers.

5) For the author who isn’t published yet, would you recommend the traditional or indie route?

There are advantages to both! Hybrid authors like Rachel Abbott do it brilliantly, with a traditional and indie strand. I’m working with Michele Gorman who has self-published and she’s taught me so much I didn’t know about the promo side of the ebook market. I hope I’ve taught her a bit too!

6) What are your views on the crime and thriller market currently? In your view, is there a sub genre you think is in need of more representation?

I’d love to see more diverse voices writing in the crime and thriller genre. There is a fierce need for representation.

7) Do you have a genre that you read for pleasure? Is there any genre of book that you wouldn’t read?

Cosy crime. And I’ve become a much wider reader since reading for pleasure for nine months on mat leave. I still find westerns a struggle though!

8) Can you name one fiction author that you like, and why you admire their style of writing?

I love Sharon Bolton, as she is so brilliant at creating atmosphere. Recently she transported me to the end of the world with her thriller The Split which is set in South Georgia.

9) In lockdown, what are you currently reading? Are you finding that your reading habits are changing at all?

I’m mainly reading emails 😂. I’ve found I’m much slower at reading submissions, but when I do get to them, I’m giving more thoughtful responses to agents.

10) In lockdown, what are you currently watching on television? Are you finding that your habits are changing? Do you have a favourite drama that you enjoy religiously?

I still watch lots of TV! I’m enjoying Schitts Creek, RuPauls Drag Race and Money Heist. So humour and drama!

Thank you for visiting the blog today, Sam. It has been a real pleasure to interview you.

Bio: Sam Eades is a Publishing Director for Trapeze Books. What she looks for: Books that start those all important conversations.

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