What are some upcoming trends for the next year?
Trends are difficult to predict in an industry where timing can be everything and when taking a book to market is a relatively slow process. We publish a wide variety of fiction each year with the hope that something on the list will be hot at the right time. It is unfortunate that so many great books are overlooked as everyone rushes to follow a trend.
I like to acquire books that will appeal to a broad audience, no matter what happens to be the “big thing” at any given time. Having said that, after the huge success of so many dark psychological suspense novels, I do believe that readers are now looking for a sense of hope and joy. In these troubled times, experiencing characters who soar in their quest for personal growth is incredibly appealing. Smart, funny, heartwarming books like Nina George’s The Little French Bistro or Fredrik Backman’s Britt-Marie Was Here meet that need.
I am always looking for novels that give a fresh take on the human condition and offer a satisfying escape for a few blissful hours. It is nice to know that the books we publish can bring some joy to a reader’s life.
What book/genre/topic would you like to see cross your transom?
I’d love to receive more family drama—funny or serious. The complicated relationships that exist in every family make for the type of story anyone can relate to. I am also a sucker for a good tear-jerker, but they are hard to come by. The emotion can very easily be over-the-top. Me Before You by Jojo Moyes had me locked in my office with the blinds closed as I cried through the last part of the book.
Overall, I am excited by good storytelling. I want to provide entertainment to our readers regardless of the genre.
Have you worked with self-published authors?
I have worked with self-published authors, and it is always an interesting experience. Self-published authors tend to be very prolific, and that can be a challenge in the print world. They can be very impatient with the pace of traditional publishing, but many are happy to work with the skilled editors, marketers, and art directors that come with traditional publishing. The key is to listen to and learn from each other. What is most important in any kind of publishing is finding and growing the audience for the books. I like to remind self-published authors that we all have the same goal—to sell more books.
What’s unique about your corner of the publishing industry?
MIRA has been publishing bestselling fiction for over 20 years, and we are growing at a time when many other imprints are scaling back. We are actively acquiring a wide range of fiction with the goal of offering something for everyone. It’s exciting to be expanding our reach!
Nicole Brebner, editorial director of MIRA Books, joined Harlequin in 2003 and worked on everything from men’s action adventure to mystery before becoming senior editorial manager for the Overseas division. Joining MIRA in 2013, she now works with bestselling authors in the women’s fiction, suspense, and thriller genres. Nicole is guiding the MIRA program to publish exhilarating editorial from established stars and exciting debuts from fresh new voices.