Q&A with fiction editor Daisy Watt

Daisy Watt headshot
Commissioning editor, fiction, Daisy Watt

Our commissioning editor, fiction, is Daisy Watt, who joined the team recently to acquire fiction. She lives in Sheffield and has previously worked at Jonathan Cape.

Read on to find out more about Daisy, and if you’re a budding author, don’t forget that we are open to submissions, just see our website.


Hi Daisy! Tell us about your career to date?

Starting out, I worked on everything from translated crime novels to SEND kids’ books and art magazines, and most recently I spent three years at Jonathan Cape, where I became properly addicted to fiction by writers including Jeanette Winterson, Ottessa Moshfegh, Julian Barnes, Billy O’Callaghan, Roddy Doyle and Irvine Welsh. I feel extremely lucky now to have joined the dynamic bunch at HarperNorth, and to be championing Northern stories full-time.

What do you like most about the north?

Tough question! I suppose my favourite thing is how friendly people are up here. But close runners up include: hilly walks in national parks, Henderson’s Relish, Arctic Monkeys, Wallace and Gromit, the price of a pint and when people say ‘be reyt’.

What kinds of books are you looking for?

I’m looking for gripping, original fiction across reading group, historical, crime and thriller and humour. I love any novel that takes a surprising premise and makes it utterly convincing. I also look for compelling voices and characters, pacey and memorable plots, and atmospheric, unpretentious, socially inclusive writing with a healthy sense of humour.

How do I get noticed as an author?

First things first: always read submissions guidelines at least twice before submitting. This will save you time and ensure you’re submitting to the publishers/agents who are the right fit for you (usually, this means people who already work within your genre). Next, picture your future reader – they’re a stranger browsing in a bookshop, in a supermarket or on the Kindle Store – and keep that person in mind as you write your pitch. What other books have they enjoyed? What’s the one special reason why your book will be their favourite?

Do I need an agent?

Nope! At HarperNorth we have an open submissions policy, which means you don’t need an agent for us to read your submission. But you’re equally welcome to submit to us via an agent if you want to. What is your top tip for getting published? Don’t second-guess what the publishing industry wants you to write – just write the stories you’re excited about, and the stories you want to read. And crucially, keep the faith in yourself! It’s worth remembering that every bestselling author has received rejection letters, and that one publisher’s pass-up is another’s passion.

Follow Daisy Watt on Twitter: twitter.com/DaisyAWatt <https://signup.harpercollins.co.uk/click/60ef0999eb21a71e7b713656/aHR0cHM6Ly90d2l0dGVyLmNvbS9EYWlzeUFXYXR0wqA/5f745c7f737d4378f81d3c06Bedb17ddd>