20 Highlights of 2020

It’s that time of the year when we look back over everything we’ve achieved in the last 12 months. This year has been very strange (to say the least!) and it’s had many ups and downs, but at Avon we’re always looking for the positives, so here are our 20 highlights for 2020.  

  • We won Imprint of the Year at the Nibbies and marked the occasion with both virtual and real-life celebration drinks! 

Team Photo 

  • We signed many authors in 2020 who will have books coming out next year and beyond
  • C.L.Taylor went to the printers for the first time to see her hardback of Strangers being made in February. 

Printer Visit

  • Our Marketing Manager, Ellie Pilcher won a Trailblazer Award at the London Book Fair Awards. 
  • C.L. Taylor’s Strangers, Scott Mariani’s The Demon Club and Phillipa Ashley’s A Surprise Christmas Wedding were Sunday Times bestsellers. 
  • Many Avon titles hit the Bookseller’s Heatseekers chart, including books by Phillipa Ashley, Nell Pattison, Alex Pine, Ellen Berry, Bella Osborne, Molly Green, Sarah Alderson, Mandy Robotham, and Pamela Crane. 
  • We have some new Avon Mascots – welcome to the team, Ralph, Plankton, Sooty and Smudge.

Avon Pets

  • We’ve had a year of #1s! The Vow (Debbie Howells) and The Demon Club (Scott Mariani) were both #1 on Apple, A Perfect Cornish Summer (Phillipa Ashley) and Strangers (C.L. Taylor) were both #1 on Audible, The Christmas Killer (Alex Pine) was #1 on Kobo, The Mum Who Got Her Life Back (Fiona Gibson) was #1 in the Kindle Top 100 in the UK and My Sister’s Lies (S.D. Robertson) was #1 in the Kindle Top 100 in Canada. 
  • Strangers sold over 100,000 copies across all formats.

Strangers

  • Lorna Cook won the Katie Fforde Debut Romantic Novel Award for The Forgotten Village and Sue Moorcroft won the Goldsboro Books Contemporary Romantic Novel Award for A Summer to Remember at the RNA Awards in February 2020. 
  • We hit 5,000 followers on Instagram and 25,000 followers on Twitter.
  • We launched #AvonBookFest and The Avon Lockdown Show on social media during the first lockdown.
  • We won a Book Marketing Society Award for our marketing campaign for The Heatwave by Katerina Diamond.
  • Three new team members joined Avon in 2020: Charlotte Brown, Georgina Ugen and Hannah Avery. 
  • Mandy Robotham hit the milestone of 500,000 copies of her books sold, and her second novel The Secret Messenger was a #2 Globe and Mail bestseller in Canada.
  • In response to lockdown we held a virtual event for new Avon authors to meet each other over Zoom. 

Team Meeting

  • Our team had a lot of fun taking part in stunts over 2020, including building a beach in the office (pre-lockdown), re-writing the ‘Twelve Days of Christmas’ carol, holding rainbows, reenacting the blurbs of our books, jumping on TikTok trends and more.

The Heatwave

  • We launched an internal book club to read more diverse commercial fiction to educate ourselves, share learnings and to keep talking about diversity in Avon’s publishing.
  • We discovered several gems in our open submissions in 2020, including Little Bones and The Secrets of Saffron Hall. Plus we announced our new prize in partnership with Mushens Entertainment for unagented writers of colour, launching in January 2021! 
  • And, finally, our team and authors pulled together to make it through an unprecedented year of Microsoft Teams meetings, online meet-and-greets and countless virtual after-work drinks. But we made it – and 2020 was a year of spectacular highs that we won’t forget. We’re looking forward to an exciting 2021! 

Other Articles

Going to the Flicks in 1941

Pam Lecky, author of Her Secret War, discusses film in 1941. Like most young people in the forties, my heroine, Sarah Gillespie, in Her Secret War, is obsessed with cinema and spends all of her hard-earned, but meagre wages, on film tickets and cinema… Read More

Writing tips from a debut author

Being called a debut author is a funny old thing. It’s delightful, thrilling, and just a wee bit daunting. In 2019, I won the Big Issue x Avon Books Crime Writing Competition, for which the prize was a two-book publishing deal. To say I was excited would be a gross… Read More

Hannah Sunderland’s Bookshelf Tour

  Hannah Sunderland’s Bookshelf Tour My bookshelves have always been a sacred space and I’m pretty sure that I spend more time reorganising them to look pretty than I do actually reading the books on there. I do struggle to read when I’m writing, as my own stories tend to… Read More