WHS tips Fresh Talent dozen

WHS tips Fresh Talent dozen

W H Smith Travel has unveiled the next 12 titles in its Fresh Talent promotion, including one self-published novel and another published through new indie publisher Urbane.

The retailer said the first dozen titles in its Fresh Talent promotion, which launched in February and aims to promote new and emerging writers, went from “strength to strength” in sales terms.

The dozen titles to be promoted through the retailer’s Travel stores over the next three months include two from independent publisher Canongate: Animals by Emma Jane Unsworth and The First Bad Man by Miranda July; 10:04 by Ben Lerner published by Granta; and After Me Comes the Flood by Sarah Perry, published by fellow indie Serpent’s Tail.

Self-published author Piers Alexander, whose historical début Bitter Trade has been sold by W H Smith Travel stores since October 2014, is on the list, along with Being Someone by Adrian Harvey, published by Urbane Publications, which launched last year and describes itself as a collaboration between author and publishing house where authors are involved in the publishing process from the initial ideas to marketing and selling the book.

The final titles in the promotion are from larger trade houses and include: The Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard (Orion); The Book of Lost and Found by Lucy Foley (Harper); An Untamed State by Roxanne Gay and The Glasgow Coma Scale by Neil D A Stewart (both Corsair); Bitter Fruits by Alice Clark-Platts (Penguin); and The Infiltrator by Robert Mazur (Corgi).

The retailer said it had been working closely with publishers to curate the list, which it expects will capture the attention of commuters and travellers. W H Smith Travel fiction buyer Matt Bates said: “Our Fresh Talent promotion is going from strength to strength, showcasing the very best in new and emerging writing talent. We have worked closely with major publishing houses as well as independents to curate what is undoubtedly a very strong selection.”

Alexander, who is represented by Lucy Luck of Aitken Alexander, said: “Being selected for Fresh Talent is a huge deal for an indie author: WHS has done a great job of making new writers visible, and I’ve been raiding those Fresh Talent shelves on my way through Heathrow recently.”

The first batch of Fresh Talent titles sold 37,245 copies through Nielsen BookScan between February and the end of April. The Fourth of July Creek by Smith Henderson (Windmill Books) sold the most copies, shifting 5,690 units, while Bird Box by Josh Maierman (HarperVoyager) was the second most popular inclusion, selling 4,343 units.