British Fiction Focus

Voyager Goes Virtual

Way back when, in October 2012, Voyager—HarperCollins’ home for fantasy and science fiction, and the publisher across the pond of people like George R.R. Martin, Mark Lawrence, Peter V. Brett, and Robin Hobb—opened its doors to unagented submissions for a brief period. In just two weeks, something like five thousand manuscripts were submitted, fifteen of which have seen the light of day of late.

Spanning genres “from urban fantasy to military sci-fi, with YA, romance and mystery in the mix,” Voyager’s venture into digital-first publishing has been such a exceptional success that the imprint is set to celebrate said with a week it’s calling #VirtualVoyager. From this coming Monday through Friday (August 3-7), the fifteen authors comprising the digital list have cleared their calendar to participate in a schedule of exciting events and social media sessions you won’t want to miss.

Never one to take a press release as the whole of the story, however, I asked Voyager’s most approachable assistant editor, one Rachel Winterbottom, if she could delve into a little additional detail about the week.

She told me,

We have plenty of Q&As and blog posts scheduled that will appear on some absolutely fantastic blogs and SFF review sites. […] We’ll also be doing giveaways of our wonderful digital-first titles throughout the week, as well as the trusty canvas bag of Voyager treats, which we’ll announce the winner of on Friday 7th August.

There’ll be plenty of interactive sessions, too. Our #AskanEditor and #AskanAuthor sessions will take place on Thursday 6th August and we’d love for anyone who wants to ask the Voyager editorial team or our digital-first authors questions to get in touch via the hashtags. In addition to all this, there will be a session where we can all celebrate the designers behind the wonderful covers, as well as one showcasing some of the amazing book trailers our authors have had made for their titles.

Long story short, #VirtualVoyager isn’t all about the authors—thanks to the participation of a selection of editors, designers, and decision-makers, it’s also an opportunity to learn a little more about the process of publishing, and the more of these the better, yes?

At the forefront of all this, though: the fifteen unknown storytellers whose dreams Voyager roundly realised by buying their books last August:

Voyager has this seedbed of incredible talent and it’s so important to us to ensure that we celebrate it with as many people as possible. If we can spread the love of these wonderful authors, and encourage others to love them too, then we’ll consider the week a resounding success!

Consider celebrating #VirtualVoyager by reading just one and I’ll declare my work here done.

Last but not least, a little look to the future. When asked if, given the flood of fiction that flowed through the last open door, Voyager’s doors might be opened once more, the publisher made no promises, except to say, “We’re always open to trying new ways of bringing on exceptional new talent. Watch this space!”

Which—interpretation time—is as close to a yes as you’re going to get.

Are you ready, would-be genre authors? Then get set. And… go! Finish those stories, finally!

Niall Alexander is an extra-curricular English teacher who reads and writes about all things weird and wonderful for The Speculative ScotsmanStrange Horizons, and Tor.com. He’s been known to tweet, twoo.

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