On November 4th, the participants of the Bridging Literary Divides programme at Arkbound had the chance to attend a meeting with Ellen Gleeson and Natalie Edwards from Bookouture, a branch of Hachette UK specialized in commercial fiction which aims to diversify voices in literature. Ellen and Natalie explained that, even though Bookouture is owned by Hachette, one of the biggest publishers in the UK, it is extremely independent, and its employees remain the decision-makers.

Here are a few key quotes that allow our participants to understand more clearly what submitting to a publishing house such as Bookouture involves:

‘If you’re longing for a traditional paperback deal or if you hate Kindle, then you should probably not submit to us. We’re a digital publisher and aim to turn our authors into digital bestsellers!’

‘[When submitting to us] apart from a blurb, there is also space for a synopsis, which can be brief (like a page or no more than two pages) and you don’t have to worry about making it exciting because it’s literally telling us what happens in your book in brief details. And the reason why it’s helpful for us is because we might read your first chapter or first few chapters and think “oh, the writing is really good but there’s no hook and we don’t know where this is going”, so if we see that in the synopsis there’s an amazing twist we might be inclined to read more or at least to email you about it.’

‘We also want to know about our authors, we don’t need to know their favourite colours [laughs] but if the author took part in a programme such as Bridging Literary Divides, we would be really interested in knowing that’

‘Don’t be scared to submit to us even if you don’t have any social media presence’

‘The reason why we reached out to Arkbound and Bridging Literary Divides is because we need to diversify the publishing world which has been historically white and upper middle-class, and we want to change that because this is not representative of the world’

Zoom meeting with Ellen & Natalie from Bookouture

If you have any questions about Bookouture, visit the website

If you have any questions about the project or Arkbound, contact Matisse Lefebvre at matisse@arkfound.org


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