Category Archives: News & Media

RNA “Ask The Expert” With Hazel Cushion

Here is Helena Fairfax’s fantastic interview with Accent MD Hazel Cushion on the RNA blog…

Today we welcome Helena Fairfax to the RNA blog. Helena is going to be bringing us a monthly blog interview with the ‘movers and shakers’ in the publishing world. Over to you, Helena!

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It’s a great pleasure to welcome Hazel Cushion, Managing Director of Accent Press,
to the RNA blog today. Hazel and some of the Accent Press team were at the RNA conference in London this year, taking pitches as well as running one of the sessions. I also have fond memories of their Pimms party by Regent’s Canal. We thought an interview on the RNA blog might be an opportunity for those who weren’t able to attend the conference to find out more about Hazel and about Accent Press, and we’re delighted Hazel has accepted our invitation.

Thanks so much for dropping in, Hazel. Please tell us a little about the history of Accent Press and how you came to start it.
I started Accent Press in 2003 in my front bedroom when my triplets were seven years old. I was effectively a single mum as my husband worked in the Middle East and I wanted to start a business that would work around my kids. I’d just done an MA in Creative Writing and, as part of that, we put together an anthology of our work. Once I knew how to make a book I was hooked! The timing was just right too as desktop publishing and the internet suddenly made it all possible. Needless to say it quickly moved out of the bedroom and we now have offices on a business park north of Cardiff where I employ a team of twelve amazing people.

What do enjoy most about your job? And least?
Well, the very best bit must be making authors’ dreams turn into reality – when they get to hold their books and see them climbing the charts and on book shop shelves. That is always a magical thing. I also love employing young people and seeing them grow and develop their careers. We’re based in south Wales and there aren’t a great deal of opportunities for young people – I’m very pleased that we can offer permanent jobs to people in such a vibrant and creative industry.
The worse bit is that’s it a tough market and we can’t make it happen for everyone. Trying to sell one book by one author is incredibly difficult – it takes time to build a following which is why we no longer commission standalone titles.

What is it you are looking for when a manuscript lands on your desk?
Brilliant writing, realistic authors and books with commercial potential. I find it really depressing that we have to reject so many submissions because authors haven’t read our guidelines first.

Where do you find your new authors, and how?
Very often it’s word of mouth or by attending events like the RNA conference. We do use agents sometimes but are equally happy to take on unagented authors. We do also actively seek successful self-published authors who are climbing the Kindle charts.

For anyone who missed your excellent talk at the RNA conference, what advice would you give someone submitting to Accent?
Read our guidelines first! Make sure the book is a publishable length and is either a series or that you have or plan other titles. We no longer publish single titles as they are just too hard to get noticed.

What benefits do you feel a publisher offers an author over self-publishing?
Where it works best is when we work as a team with the author supporting them and allowing them the time to develop their writing career. We provide the editorial support and guidance to enable that to happen and also free them up from the business side of selling and marketing their books. Authors are usually happiest plotting, planning and writing, and tend to find the whole pushing and publishing side uncomfortable. These days everyone hopes their authors will engage on social media too but if authors hate it then we say don’t worry about it. Our job is to promote and sell their work – I’d really rather our authors were writing than tweeting!

Romance is the biggest-selling genre in publishing, and yet the one taken least seriously by the mainstream. Why do you think this is? And how do you think romance authors can address the negative perception?
Sadly a lot of publishing folk are ridiculously pretentious and I find that very tiresome. Romance is the biggest-selling genre because it provides brilliant entertainment and enjoyments to the most discerning of readers – women. They are also the largest book buyers, especially the 18-26 age group. Cynical me might say they enjoy romance because they are still naïve and hopeful – and older women love the escape from repeated heartbreak!

What’s your favourite romance novel of all time?
Wow – that’s a hard one. Can I cheat and say what my least favourite was instead? I think some of you may agree if I say the words ‘fifty’ and ‘grey’?

Apart from your own authors, which book have you enjoyed the most recently, and why?
To be honest I tend to listen to books rather than read them, either when driving or before I sleep. One I read though was All Change, the final part of the Cazalet Chronicles by Elizabeth Jane Howard.

What do you like to do in your spare time?
I’m very creative and messy – I love painting and crafts. My latest thing is felting where I take vast quantities of beautiful and quite expensive merino wool and spend hours soaping, soaking and rolling it into completely unwearable or usable objects.

If you could describe your working-day in just three words, what would they be?
Varied, rewarding, fun.

Thanks so much for your thoughtful answers, Hazel. It’s been a pleasure getting to know you.

***

Read the original RNA post here:

http://romanticnovelistsassociationblog.blogspot.co.uk/2015/08/ask-industry-expert-hazel-cushion.html

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Shiver: Accent’s Spooky Shorts for Hallowe’en

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Accent Press are proud to announce Shiver, a selection of spooky, scintillating, and scary stories from some of Accent Press’s best-loved authors. Featuring gruesome crime from Bill Kitson and Andrea Frazer, a frighteningly modern fairy tale from Helena Fairfax, ghostly goings-on from Christina Jones, David Rogers, Jane Risdon, Marie Laval, and Tricia Maw, a twisted take on a national pastime from Cara Cooper, and the supernatural side of reality TV from Caroline Dunford.So this Hallowe’en, if you’re hankering for a haunting, could murder a mystery, or are prepared to be scared – let Accent make you shiver.

 

 

#1 Tickled Pink by Christina Jones

Accent Press takes 10% of the Top 100 Amazon Romance Chart!

Accent Press have 11 books in the Top 100 of the Amazon Romance Chart this month; that’s over 10% of the overall chart. There’s 3 in the top 10 and we’ve even bagged the number 1 slot with Christina Jones’ Tickled Pink! We’re not ones to blow our own trumpet, but we think that’s not bad for a small independent publisher!

As the Contemporary Women’s Fiction editor at Accent Press, I have to say that I feel  privileged to have worked on so many incredible titles. Thank you so, so much to all the authors who’ve made this possible, and here’s to our continued success!

Cat Camacho x

 

Bestsellers are:

 

Love in Vogue

Love in Vogue – début novel from Eve Bourton coming soon!

Accent Press is thrilled to announce the upcoming début novel from up-and-coming contemporary women’s fiction author Eve Bourton, Love in Vogue. We’re all set for publication in mid-September, and we can’t wait to get this blockbuster out there! Fans of Louise Bagshawe and Sophie Kinsella will love this.

Love in Vogue

When her tycoon father suddenly dies, Corinne Marchand, heartbroken and also mistrustful of men after being abandoned by playboy Philippe de Rochmort three years earlier, throws herself into running his couture empire based in Paris. Busy with her new life and convinced that she is better off alone, she refuses to give merchant banker Miles Corsley the time of day, let alone a date.

Corinne’s younger sister, model Yolande Marchand, has loved Philippe’s brother Yves all her life, and they are to be married, but after meeting bad boy film star Patrick Dubuisson she breaks off her engagement and embarks on a passionate affair in Hollywood with Patrick.

When Philippe finally returns to France and shocking secrets are revealed, Corinne has to decide if she will trust Miles with more than her money as they battle to save her company from a hostile takeover while Yolande learns the hard way that Hollywood glamour doesn’t always bring happiness. Meanwhile Philippe and Yves are struggling to convince the women they love that they are the men they really want.

All anyone can ask for is a second chance …

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34th University of Winchester Writer’s Festival – Meet an Accent Editor

There’s a huge variety of things to do at The Winchester Writer’s Festival (20th-22nd June) and one of them is to have a one-on-one with an Accent Press Editor. Bob Cushion is a full-time editor at Accent Press and included in his portfolio are Lesley Cookman, Jodi Taylor, Marie Browne and Simon Hall. CLICK HERE for the full programme that can be downloaded and includes a booking form.