A Place for Us, Harriet Evans’ first novel with Headline, will be available as a four-part e-book serialisation before the paperback original release in January 2015.
The serialisations will be released on a monthly basis—from the 31st July through to 23rd October—as £1.49 e-books sold through several e-outlets, with Apple iBooks as Headline’s primary partner for the initiative. Elizabeth Masters, PR manager at Headline, said: “The serialisation will be supported in different ways by all the major e-tailers and iBooks has always been a significant supporter of women’s fiction. It would be foolish to limit the reach of our digital publishing in any way.”
Headline has previously serialised novels—including those by erotica author Beth Kery and crime writer Michael Morley—but Masters said: “This is the first time we’ve serialised a novel with a big-brand campaign behind it with the intention of setting out our stall for an author’s career in the long term.” Masters expanded: “A Place for Us lends itself to serialisation. Each part is thematically complete and ends either with an extraordinary cliffhanger or with a big emotional punch.”
Headline hopes that monthly releases will build anticipation and give readers time to read each part and get excited about the next. The campaign is being supported by women’s fiction bloggers, online magazines and Woman & Home, which will run competitions highlighting the release of each part. The publisher believes that the campaign, as well as traditional publicity around the paperback publication, will not lessen support of the physical book. Masters said: “It goes without saying that the industry is experiencing significant digital growth but there are still a majority of readers who prefer physical editions, and it would be negligent to overlook this core market.”
Talking about why Headline decided on serialisation, Masters said: “It’s important to find new ways to promote commercial fiction in the current marketplace, when first format publishing is increasingly unpredictable . . . We don’t believe in a one size fits all publishing strategy; we like to tailor our campaigns to the books and authors themselves and innovate in a way that’s appropriate to the content.”
Evans was previously published by HarperCollins. Her seven novels with HC combined to sell more than 500,000 copies for a total value of £2.7m, according to Nielsen BookScan.
A Place for Us is Evans’ first project with Headline, where she worked as editorial director before becoming an author. Masters said Evans and her agent, Jonathan Lloyd at Curtis Brown, were very excited about Headline’s plans for the book.
Masters said: “A Place for Us is an emotionally charged novel that will wrap you up in a warm embrace as it nods to the golden age of epic women’s fiction but with a vibrancy of its own.”