Curtis Brown is launching an online book group, offering readers the chance to get “a sneak preview of work from some of the agency’s most exciting new and undiscovered authors” just ahead of publication.
Applications for readers for the group, the first online reading group to be hosted by a literary agency, opened today (Tuesday 25th).
Curtis Brown and Conville & Walsh will send out two new books each month to an initial group of 40 people, with each title sent out up to six weeks in advance of publication.
Members will be invited to take part in a virtual book group meeting each month, which will include a live Q&A session with the book’s author and book’s agent.
The reading group will be run by Richard Pike and Emma Herdman, both assistants to agents at Curtis Brown, and will launch in January 2015.
Pike, who joined Curtis Brown from Hodder & Stoughton, said: “I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to introduce some of our most exciting new and less well-known writers to the Curtis Brown Book Group and I look forward to the discussions and responses that the exceptional stories we have lined up will inevitably create.”
Herdman, previously a buyer on the Waterstones fiction team, said: “Discovering wonderful debut authors is surely one of the most thrilling parts of working in publishing - I’m looking forward to sharing that excitement with our Curtis Brown Book Group.”
People who do not make the first six-month membership list for the book group can keep up with what is being read on the book group’s blog, where special reading group content from the author and publisher will be hosted.
The blog will also offer giveaways and competitions for members and non-members, and feature posts from agents, authors and guest bloggers.
Jonny Geller, m.d. of the books department at Curtis Brown, called the move a "fantastic initiative", saying: “As an agency, we strive to continue to open up the doors of publishing to everyone and involve enthusiastic readers in the success of great books from the earliest stage.”
Applications for the Curtis Brown Book Group close on 19th December. Members will be asked to commit to a minimum of six months participation.
Details of how to apply will be posted on Twitter, the Curtis Brown website and the Curtis Brown Book Group blog.