Feedback open call for authors from under-represented backgrounds


Bookouture is excited to partner with The Word in January 2021 to offer editorial feedback to writers from under-represented backgrounds!

We are hopeful that, by helping to shape the pitch and those all-important first chapters, we will help writers develop their talent, support their journey to publication, and discover some exciting new voices in commercial fiction and non-fiction.

From January 20th to February 20th 2021, writers from under-represented backgrounds are invited to submit a synopsis and up to 10,000 words of their book to Bookouture via the following link. Within six weeks of submitting, writers will then receive detailed feedback from a member of our editorial team on elements such as genre, structure, characterisation and style.


Our submissions guidelines are outlined below. We look forward to reading your work!


Bookouture is a leading digital publisher of brilliant commercial fiction and non-fiction. In just eight years, we have sold over 40 million books and published numerous bestsellers in genres such as crime and thriller, women’s fiction, historical fiction, and memoir. We strive to be the publisher of choice for all authors regardless of their age, faith, disability, race, gender, sexuality and socio-economic background.


Who can submit?

Writers from under-represented backgrounds may submit to this initiative. By ‘under-represented’, we mean people whose racial, cultural, or ethnic identities; religious identity; gender identity; sexual orientation; physical or cognitive ability; and/or socioeconomic status are not well represented in literature and/or the publishing industry at present.

What are we looking for?

Work that is commercial fiction or non-fiction. ‘Commercial fiction’ describes books with broad appeal and accessible storytelling with a focus on character and plot. Where ‘literary fiction’ could be described as the art-house cinema of books, ‘commercial fiction’ is the Hollywood blockbuster.

So, we will welcome submissions in any of the following genres:

  • Crime and thriller
  • Historical fiction
  • Women’s fiction
  • Romance
  • Book club
  • Science fiction and fantasy
  • Business
  • Health and diet
  • Memoir
  • Parenting
  • Personal development
  • True crime

If the genre of your work is not outlined above but you feel it is absolutely still commercial, genre fiction or non-fiction, please do submit to us anyway.

What should I submit?

A synopsis of your book and up to 10,000 words of writing. The submissions form will also ask you to provide a short personal biography and book pitch.

How should I format my submission?

Please send us a clean manuscript in clear font with double spacing. If you have used tracked changes to edit your book, make sure you accept all comments/edits and switch it off before sending to us.

When do submissions open?

Our submissions inbox will open at 12.00am MST on Wednesday 20 January 2021(7.00am GMT) and the deadline for submissions is 11.59pm MST on Saturday 20 February 2021(6.59am GMT on Sunday 21 February 2021).*

*If you are not able to submit to us at this time, we would still love to read your work via the usual submissions platform on our website. However, please note that while we respond to all submissions and give feedback where we can, beyond February, we will not be able to give the same detailed editorial feedback.

What can I expect in the feedback I receive?

Each submission will be read by a member of the Bookouture editorial team, who will provide feedback within six weeks from the date of submission. The feedback will cover the hook and the pitch, as well as the writing style and impact of the opening chapters. The editor may also choose to comment on genre, plot, structure, pace and/or characterisation.

We do hope you might join us on Facebook and Twitter to spread the fabulous news. 

Bookouture re-signs historical author Catherine Hokin

We’re so excited to share the news that we have signed a new deal with historical author Catherine Hokin. Commissioning Editor Emily Gowers has acquired world all language rights in a new four-book series of dual-timeline novels set around WW2 Berlin, via Tina Betts at Andrew Mann Literary Agency.

Emily says,

‘I love everything about Catherine’s beautiful, heartbreaking novels – except perhaps how blotchy my face gets from crying – and I’m beyond thrilled about this exciting new series! It’s a real joy to me to work with Catherine and share her passion for her stories and such an honour to publish these incredible historical novels!’

Catherine says,

‘I am thrilled to have re-signed with Bookouture and to be collaborating again with Emily – it is her insights that turn my stories into the books I am so proud of. I am also very excited to have the opportunity to write a series and I can’t think of better, more nurturing, hands to develop that with than Bookouture’s.’

Please join us on Facebook and Twitter to celebrate the wonderful news.

Bookouture sign new contracts with Wilkinson, Phifer and Herron

Exciting news to share today!

We’re over the moon to announce that Commissioning Editor Ellen Gleeson has acquired World rights, plus audio and Film and TV, to three more books from longstanding Bookouture author Kerry Wilkinson. The first, My Friend, The Murderer, will publish in February 2021, with two more to follow later that year.

Ellen said,

‘I read the first draft of My Friend, the Murderer in one sitting, and as usual with Kerry’s books, it blew me away. This addictive read tells the story of three teenage best friends who discover something terrible. Decades later, when one of them is arrested for murder, old secrets from their school days come to light, and change everything. Kerry’s technique of ensuring he has an amazing hook and concept for his novels before writing them – always in record time! – works perfectly with our commercial, digital publishing model. I can’t wait to publish these three books which contain all of Kerry’s trademarks: intricate, clever and twisty plotting; dark humour; oppressive, evocative small-town settings; and immediately relatable and recognisable characters through which the darkest sides of us all are explored.’

Kerry said,

Bookouture is a publisher that has sold 40m books in eight years. What kind of lunatic would say no to working with them on some more? Not me. (Note to publishers: If you’ve sold 41m books in eight years, I’m your man.)’

We’re also delighted to announce that we have signed a new deal with crime author Helen Phifer. Commissioning Editor Emily Gowers has acquired world all language rights in three books continuing the Detective Morgan Brookes series.

Emily said of the deal,

‘I’m over the moon about this deal. Readers (and I include myself) have fallen hard for tough, tenacious Morgan and the rest of the team, and I am so excited to continue working with Helen on this incredible series!’

Helen said,

‘I’m thrilled to have signed with Bookouture for another three books, they are such an amazing publisher and I’m also very grateful that I get to work with such an amazing editor. I love working with Emily Gowers, she is brilliant. I can’t wait to write more Morgan Brookes stories for my wonderful readers.’

We are also thrilled to announce that Associate Publisher Christina Demosthenous has acquired three more novels in the Detective Ellie Reeves series by Rita Herron. The first is titled Frozen Souls, and is scheduled for release in October 2021. World English Language rights were bought from Jenny Bent at The Bent Agency.

Rita says:

‘Writing a lead female detective has always been a dream of mine, so I’m especially thrilled to be writing more books in the Detective Ellie Reeves series! Much thanks to the fabulous team at Bookouture, and my insightful editor, for their support and enthusiasm!’

Christina says:

‘I couldn’t be more delighted to be publishing more novels in Rita’s Detective Ellie Reeves series. The first two books in the unmissable series, The Silent Dolls and Wildflower Graves, have been adored by readers for their breathless pace, shocking twits and totally gripping novels, and there is so much more to come!’

We do hope you might join us on Facebook and Twitter to celebrate the fabulous news. 


Deacon makes first acquisitions for Bookouture

We are delighted to share the news that Publishing Director Laura Deacon has made her first acquisitions since joining Bookouture from Amazon Publishing in August this year signing bestsellers Mel Sherratt and Leah Mercer, the latter through the Madeleine Milburn Literary, TV and Film Agency.

Mel Sherratt, author of the bestselling DS Grace Allendale series is moving from Avon to Bookouture with the first of two psychological thrillers, The Liar’s Revenge, publishing in June 2021. Leah Mercer is moving from Amazon Publishing and will publish the first of two emotional women’s fiction titles, The Other Mother, in June 2021 with the deal struck by Madeleine Milburn.

Laura Deacon said,

I’m thrilled to be bringing Mel and Leah and their exceptional storytelling to my list at Bookouture. When I read the opening pages of The Liar’s Revenge I just knew I had to publish it. It has everything that I love about Mel’s writing – complex characters, dark and long-buried secrets and a gut punch of a twist that you won’t see coming. The Other Mother is a moving and deeply human novel that will grab your heart and not let go – I read it in one sitting absolutely transfixed by the power of Leah’s writing.’

Mel Sherratt said,

I’m delighted to have signed two more books with Bookouture, and I’m really looking forward to a change in genre. I love mixing psychological suspense with domestic noir and coming up with gritty but emotional ‘it might happen to me’ stories. I’ve also admired Laura from afar and am thrilled to be able to work with her now. Bookouture have gone from strength to strength and I’m glad to be back.’

Leah Mercer said,

I’m thrilled to have signed with Bookouture and to be working with such an experienced and knowledgeable editor as Laura. I’ve been watching Bookouture’s success since the very beginning and have long admired their digital savviness and explosive growth. I’m very excited to get started on a new journey with a talented and enthusiastic team!’

We do hope you might join us on Facebook and Twitter to celebrate the fabulous news. 

Bookouture sign debut author Melissa Wiesner

We are delighted to announce that Publishing Executive Caolinn Douglas has acquired World All Language, Audio, Film and TV rights from Julie Dinneen at D4EO Literary Agency for two women’s fiction titles by debut author Melissa Wiesner.

Caolinn said,

‘From the moment I started reading Melissa’s submission, I knew I had to acquire it. Winner of the RWA’s Golden Heart Award 2019, Melissa knows how to craft a compelling romance. She is an effortless storyteller, balancing the beauty and heart of her romantic plotlines with the dark backstories of her protagonists. In Melissa’s work, the road to love is twisty, complex and oftentimes uncertain. We laugh and cry alongside our protagonists in equal measure, rooting for them devotedly and hoping that they find the healing and happiness they are in search of. I devoured both of Melissa’s books in one weekend, and I have no doubt that our readers will be just as captivated by her words as I was.’ 

Melissa said,

‘I am thrilled to be working with Caolinn and the Bookouture team to send my novels out into the world. From our first conversation, it was clear Caolinn loved my characters as much as I do and that I’d found the perfect home for them with Bookouture. I can’t wait to share these stories with readers.’

Please do join us on Facebook and Twitter to celebrate the fabulous news. 


Bookouture sign debut author Catherine Walsh

We are thrilled to announce that Associate Publisher Lucy Dauman has acquired World rights for two romantic comedies by debut author Catherine Walsh. The first book, No Strings Attached, is the side-splittingly funny story of Sarah and Declan, whose no-strings one-night stand is about to get a bit more complicated. Publishing July 2021.

Lucy says,

‘I couldn’t be more excited to welcome Catherine to Bookouture. Her is writing is smart, addictive and genuinely hilarious – from the first page you’ll be hooked, by the last your face will hurt from laughing. I’m so proud to be publishing her books and can’t wait for readers to discover this outstanding new voice in romantic comedy.’

Catherine says,

‘I’m over the moon to be joining the innovative and talented team at Bookouture. From our very first conversation, Lucy’s enthusiasm and encouragement shone through and as a debut author, I’m thrilled to be starting my publishing journey with them.’

Please do join us on Facebook and Twitter to celebrate the fabulous news.