Hey, folks, it’s time to ask the editor!

I’ve compiled a list of questions and the lovely Abigail Fenton, Editorial Director at HarperCollins, HQ Digital, has answered them. Read on to find out more about the work of, and some top tips, from one of the best editors in the business!

I thought today’s question would be interesting given the whole Coronavirus/lockdown/pandemic thing and the literary world talking about how popular pandemic based books will be in the future. It doesn’t cover that exactly, but it will give you an idea about trends because today’s question is:

How do you track/understand trends?

Abi says:

I am obsessed with the bestseller charts. Not only for tracking my own authors’ books but also for seeing what else is performing well. Not a day goes by without me checking the charts several times in both the US and the UK, so I can see what readers are responding to. Whenever I take a book to our acquisitions meeting or brief a cover I look at competitor titles closely, so that I know exactly where I am positioning the book and which bestsellers I want it to sit alongside.

Thanks Abi!

As writers we need to write what we want to read, but we do need to understand the market, just as Abi does, for agents query letters and things like that. It’s always good to know what’s most popular and what’s maybe fallen out of fashion. That being said, we all know it’s swings and roundabouts, so if the genre you’re writing isn’t the most popular right now, it doesn’t mean it won’t be back again soon!

Thank you so much to Abi for taking the time to answer my questions. Her workload is CRAY-ZEE! So I’m so grateful to her for humouring me and my blog!

Abi Fenton, Editorial Director, HQ Digital

Abi is Editorial Director, HQ at HarperCollins and before that was Commissioning Editor at Bookouture.

Cover photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash