Bates launches digital-first fiction imprint Wavesback

Bates launches digital-first fiction imprint Wavesback

A new digital-first imprint for commercial and literary fiction, Wavesback, has been launched by publisher Nick Bates.

Bates said the aim was “to publish books with strong ideas and characters at their centre that have commercial and literary appeal”.  Previously HarperCollins' sales and marketing director, Bates became associate publisher for Harlequin in 2017. He left HarperCollins in 2018.

Based in the south-west, the new imprint will “embrace everything that is positive and forward thinking about the new flexible working world", Bates said. “Wavesback aims to combine what have become the hallmarks of quality modern digital publishing by working with the best editors and on bespoke marketing campaigns with ambition to innovate in all aspects of the publishing process and in particular in discovering new audiences for the authors Wavesback works with.”  

“We’ll bring experience and structure combined with innovation and agility,” Bates said. “But more than anything we want to deliver on the ambition of our authors to reach lots of readers and make every engagement we have, with readers, authors and everyone who interacts with Wavesback an open and positive one.”  

The first publication, A Numbers Game, will come from debut crime writer R J Dark and is scheduled for 4th June.  

“I could not be more pleased to publish A Numbers Game as the debut for Wavesback,” Bates said. “It is an outstanding, page-turning read with wonderful characters and a unique voice in the shape of R J Dark. I know readers will love Mal & Jackie as much as I already do.” 

Dark is represented by Ed Wilson, of the Johnson & Alcock Literary Agency, who said: “We’re excited to be part of Wavesback, Nick’s new digital-first venture. In the midst of lockdown, homeschooling, and the general carnage of 2020/21, it’s taken all his publishing knowhow and plenty of dogged determination to launch this new imprint. It’s a testament to Nick’s tenacity, and the clarity of his vision. We’re thrilled to be involved, and it shows how publishing will continue to thrive as we emerge from the pandemic.”  

Dark's work has been acquired in a three-book deal and will be followed by Midlands-based author Chris Danson later this summer. Wavesback is open for submissions. 

Bates can be contacted via email on or via the website