Category Archives: bestseller

Mel Sherratt No.1 bestseller in the UK and US!

Watching Over You by Mel SherrattCongratulations to Mel Sherratt on her No.1 position for psychological thrillers this week on both the UK and US Amazon charts.

WATCHING OVER YOU (Thomas & Mercer) has been out for just over a week and it is already a bestseller on both sides of the Atlantic.

‘Watching Over You is a tense, erotic thriller with one of the most terrifying antagonists I’ve ever read. The worst terrors are always those that hide closest to home and Charley’s experiences–negotiating her path alone–will be familiar to many.  She is as vulnerable as any of us, stronger than she realises, and yet still in mortal danger. Charley is my new best friend, and Ella a terrifying villain–outwardly ordinary and utterly unhinged.

Watching Over You is the book you’ll wish you could read from behind a cushion’   – Elizabeth Haynes, author of Into the Darkest Corner


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19 days ’til Christmas: The Literary Agency Advent Calendar

In the run up to Christmas, the Madeleine Milburn Literary Agency will be posting an entry from one of our authors each day, offering anything from writing tips and their inspiration, to Christmas memories and their wishes for the year to come.


Victoria Fox

Santa, are you there…?

When I was eight, I had to prove everything. That my upturned-cardboard-box table sale would make more than 50p; that my Jordan Knight dance routine was better than my sister’s (it was); and that my cat really didn’t mind getting dragged round the front garden in a John Lewis plastic bag. Sorry, Tom.

So when I heard a cruel whisper at school that Santa Claus might not be real, I set out to put the record straight! Why the big secret anyway? Why did Santa have to hide out all the time? The way I saw it, if he was real, he ought to just say so.

Admittedly Santa would probably bolt right back up his chimney if confronted by the outpourings of my imagination today (I’ve always thought the Maldives a more fitting backdrop to Wicked Ambition than the North Pole), but back then he didn’t seem to mind. So, I wrote a note to Father Christmas. Not just any old note, mind you – a contract. I put it to him straight: simply, it was time to man up. How was I meant to keep supporting him, defending his name against the non-believers etc. etc. if he didn’t give me at least a little in return? Just sign on the dotted line, I wrote bossily, with full name printed below, and we’ll all be happy. See? Proof.

It turns out Santa is a reasonable man – and he carries his own pen. I had left out felt tips for the purpose but whatever the big man used to sign had to be a magic wand. What else could it be? It was GOLD! And glittery. Right there in the morning, just as I had left it save for the addition of a beautiful old-fashioned autograph, was my wish come true. Just the faintest outline, a whisper of magic passing in the night, but most definitely and categorically there – in elaborate, beautiful, delicate script, two words:

Santa Claus.

To this day, nobody has admitted the fraud. The handwriting was and remains unlike any I’ve seen. Was the real Father Christmas in my room that night? It’s reassuring that a man in his position takes logic seriously – after all, it must get annoying when everyone thinks you’re made up all the time. Sometimes, you need just a sprinkle of proof. And mine made that year the best Christmas ever.

Victoria Fox‘s debut HOLLYWOOD SINNERS is launched in the US today by Bookouture. Her latest book, WICKED AMBITION, is out in the UK now. 

See Victoria’s dazzling new website

Hollywood Sinners by Victoria Fox   Wicked Ambition by Victoria Fox

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Do you judge a book by its cover? UK literary agent talks about new cover looks for 2014

IF YOU'RE NOT THE ONE by Jemma Forte  NIGHT SCHOOL - RESISTANCE by C.J. Daugherty The Dark Inside by Rupert Wallis - hardback cover

Brand new covers for the Madeleine Milburn Agency’s 2014 publications are being revealed this month.

Above from left to right: IF YOU’RE NOT THE ONE by Jemma Forte will be published by Mira Books in February 2014.  This gorgeous cover is a suitable fit for the current women’s fiction market (think Jojo Moye’s Me Before You and Anouska Knight’s Since You’ve been Gone) but also establishes a unique look and a strong author brand.

NIGHT SCHOOL: RESISTANCE by C.J. Daugherty marks the fourth book in the international bestselling series NIGHT SCHOOL, a world of mystery, danger, romance and thrills.  The last installment hit the No.6 spot on the German bestseller charts and No.1 on the Polish charts.  The new cover features the strong, feisty protagonist Ally Sheridan against the backdrop of the mysterious Cimmeria Academy, and resonates with the series look.

THE DARK INSIDE by Rupert Wallis will be published by Simon & Schuster as a hardback edition in January 2014.  Pre-publication reviews include Bookbag’s description as ‘a contemporary fairy tale that touches on problems and emotions that affect human beings throughout their lives. It is sometimes frightening, sometimes touching, sometimes exciting and always thought-provoking.’  The cover is simple and eye-catching and also non-age specific, so should appeal to adults and teenagers.

Mother of the Year by Karen Ross The Manifesto on How to be Interesting by Holly Bourne A Boy Called Hope by Lara Williamson

MOTHER OF THE YEAR by Karen Ross, shortlisted for the prestigious Lucy Cavendish Fiction Prize, will be published by Penguin Random House/Ebury Press in February 2014.  A fun and retro cover featuring CAKE with strong gift appeal for Mother’s Day.

THE MANIFESTO ON HOW TO BE INTERESTING by Holly Bourne will be published by Usborne in August 2014.  A bright and daring cover listing six rules that make a person interesting, giving us an instant insight into this dark-humoured contemporary Young Adult novel.

A BOY CALLED HOPE by Lara Williamson will be Usborne’s lead title for 9-12 year old’s in March 2014.  A Fun and vibrant cover with a magical quality.  Think all things children love….scrapbooks and scratch and sniff stickers!

Don't Stand So Close by Luana Lewis Where Memories are Made by Lynda Page THE TRAVELLING TEA SHOP by Belinda Jones

DON’T STAND SO CLOSE by Luana Lewis is Transworld’s new psychological suspense for March 2014, featuring a haunting image of a girl who turns up on the protagonist Stella’s  doorstep one night and attempts to unravel this woman’s carefully controlled life.  A striking cover that promises something darker…

WHERE MEMORIES ARE MADE by Lynda Page will be published by Headline  in January 2014 in hardback.   Following on from the success of THE TIME OF OUR LIVES, Headline’s cover for Lynda’s 29th saga depicts the nostalgic and heartwarming atmosphere of Jolly’s holiday camp in the 1960s.

THE TRAVELLING TEASHOP is the 12th book by bestselling author, Belinda Jones, and will be published by Hodder in May 2014.  This is a deliciously funny and moving novel that takes us on a tour of cake shops around America, with a cover that is perfect for anyone with an appetite for baked goods and sweet romance.

One Day by David Nicholls Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn Before I go to Sleep by S.J. Watson

Books that have sold over a million copies with strong covers, from left to right:

ONE DAY by David Nicholls (Hodder), essentially a love story with a bright orange unisex cover and a shouty jacket quote appealing to both men and women.

GONE GIRL by Gillian Flynn (Random House), psychological suspense with one of the most eye-catching covers of the 21st Century.  Bright orange neon lettering on a bold black cover with a few nothing more than a few wisps of hair.

BEFORE I GO TO SLEEP by S.J. Watson (Transworld), a psychological suspense with a close up of an eye to immediately challenge the reader. Research has found that closeups of faces have a very positive affect on sales.

Follow the Madeleine Milburn Agency blog for more posts about covers. Next up will be the difference between UK and US cover looks. 

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Bring on the summer

The Pleasures of Summer by Evie Hunter

Congratulations to our two Irish masterminds, who write as Evie Hunter, on the publication of THE PLEASURES OF SUMMER.  Penguin publish today following the previous Evie Hunter erotica hit, THE PLEASURES OF WINTER, which sold over 50,000 copies last year.

Eileen Gormley and Caroline McCall successfully brainstorm, plan and write together.  For an insight into how fun it can be writing as a duo, have a read of the interview with the ladies themselves.

Both THE PLEASURES OF WINTER and THE PLEASURES OF SUMMER are available to buy now.  THE PLEASURES OF AUTUMN will be out later this year.


The Pleasures of Winter by Evie Hunter     The Pleasures of Summer by Evie Hunter      The Pleasures of Autumn by Evie Hunter

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The self-publishing debate

Confused pug

Confused about self-publishing?

The Insider Guide to the Media, Writers & Artists,  interviews bestselling self-published author Mel Sherratt with her agent Madeleine Milburn about the pros and cons of self-publishing in a digital age.

When would you recommend self-publishing?

What lessons can we learn from Mel’s self-publishing experience?

What has Mel’s experience with Amazon been like?

Will it put an agent off?

For all these answers, and more, have a read of the insightful Writers’ & Artists’ interview with Mel and Madeleine.

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The best bonkbuster of the year

Victoria Fox poster

From the author of the best bonkbuster of 2012 comes the darkest, startling, most sexy story yet, WICKED AMBITION.

Full of intrigue, sex, and scandal, Victoria Fox’s latest novel will have you storming through the pages, unable to sleep, desperate for more…

Harlequin/MIRA publish next month with a massive poster campaign from 6th June. If you spot the poster above, do tweet it!  We’d love to see all the locations Victoria Fox reaches… (@agentmilburn, @VFoxWrites)

Copies of WICKED AMBITION are available on Amazon now

Wicked Ambition by Victoria FoxHollywood Sinners by Victoria FoxThe Best Bonkbuster Ever 2012

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Official US trailer for NIGHT SCHOOL

The US edition of NIGHT SCHOOL is out today.  The official US trailer below was made by BAFTA-nominated filmmaker Jack Jewers of Trailermade Films, in close collaboration with C.J. Daugherty herself:   

NIGHT SCHOOL has been translated into 21 different languages, and we’ve already had the following fabulous review from America’s Booklist:

Night School.

Daugherty, C. J. (Author)

Jun 2013. 432 p. HarperCollins/Katherine Tegen, hardcover, $17.99. (9780062193858).

Only gutsy first-time novelists would tackle the well-worn “sinister boarding school” trope, complete with a troubled new girl navigating the social scene and various shadowy dangers. After all, where to go with such familiar ingredients? Yet Daugherty knows exactly where she wants to take us, and soon enough, readers will be hooked. The lean prose certainly helps, as does how the plot is punctuated by several unforgettable scenes of suspense, including a skinny-dipping escapade complicated by a panic attack and a rooftop encounter with a bottle of vodka that ends in . . . well, that would be telling. Connecting such episodes is protagonist Allie Sheridan’s efforts to learn why she was admitted to such an elite institution, and about “Night School,” a shadowy training program within it. If initially some students seem stereotypical, keep reading: Daugherty is expert at revealing character through action. Similarly, Allie can appear too reactive, letting others rescue her—but then she notes this tendency, thereby incorporating it into her character arc. Ultimately, both the story and the writing itself are full of surprises.

— Peter Gutierrez


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