Tuesday 1 July marked 5 years from Angry Robot’s first books – Lauren Beukes‘ Moxyland and Kaaron Warren‘s Slights – and throughout this week we have celebrated with daily staff blog posts and giveaways! Author guest posts and other cool giveaways have popped up on various sites – and continue to  – so do keep an eye out for our #AngryRobot5 on Twitter for new posts.

On the blog this week we’ve had Senior Editor Lee Harris with his Top 5 Reasons Angry Robot Rules; MD Marc Gascoigne with his 5 lessons learned; Publicity Manager Caroline Lambe with her 5 Favourite Angry Robot Characters; and Mike Underwood, US Sales & Marketing Manager, with his 5 Favourite Angry Robot Covers.

The final slot belongs to our very own Amanda Rutter who, on her last day at Angry Robot / Strange Chemistry, is giving away her 5 Favourite Angry Robot Books, and writing about her 5 Things Wot I Learned From Publishing.

It’s an emotional day for me: my last day working for Angry Robot and being the editor for Strange Chemistry. I wondered about what my blog post should be for a little while (you almost got Lee’s 5 Worst Puns – but I decided I just couldn’t inflict that level of pain on you all!) Finally, I decided to do a little farewell in the form of the 5 things that I have learnt while working in publishing.

1. Patience!

My God, you have to be patient! I came from an accounting background, where things were required yesterday, where the monthly accounts would be closed in five days, where emails were replied to instantly. Everything was snap, snap, snap. And then I walked into publishing… In my first month, everyone got sick of the refrain “When can we…?” When can we release this gorgeous cover art that we’ve received for a book, when can we announce an author, when can we put books up on Netgalley, when can we, when can we, when can we… It has taken me pretty much the whole of this two years and seven months with Strange Chemistry to settle down and realise that publishing moves at its own special pace. Authors, you think you can’t handle the wait times? Well, I haven’t been finding it easy either!

2. You just know.

People say that you always just know when you meet the person who you are going to marry. That women just know when they put on the wedding dress that is perfect for them. That you just know when you walk into the house that is going to become your home. The same is true for books you end up taking to acquisitions. Every single one of those books that went out through Strange Chemistry, I adored. I got shivers when I started reading the first few pages. I stayed up late to finish them. I could already see how I might advise the author to tighten this section, or maybe move that chapter. I was entirely invested in those books before they went to acquisitions. I just knew.

3. You can do everything right, but…

You can acquire the most brilliant book in the world, you can put a stunning cover on it, you can see positive reviews flooding it, but… it doesn’t sell. For whatever reason, it doesn’t appeal to readers. I have taken books to acquisition that I am so passionate about. I have watched the whole team get excited and think that this book, this could be the one that really sets the world alight. I have watched the reviews come in and been so joyful that people share my opinion of the book, and delighted that I have been able to put this story out into the world. But something just doesn’t click. Perhaps the timing of the release. Perhaps the marketplace. Perhaps there was a sporting event on and people weren’t reading as much that month. We’d all love to know how to bottle the success of certain books, but you just can’t anticipate how a novel will be received. Of course, it does make it all the more precious when a book fires the imagination of the reading public.

4. How many publishing people does it take to change a lightbulb?

 Probably just one, we’re quite capable in many ways! What I’m really talking about here is the sheer number of people involved in bringing a novel to a bookstore. I had this lovely naïve view of an editor reading a book and then putting a nice cover on it and ta da, it was done. Maybe not *that* naïve, but I had absolutely no idea of who is involved.

First you have the author, then the agent, then the acquisitions editor, then the publishing team who help agree the acquisitions, then the art director, then the cover artist, then the marketing person, then the publicity person, then the copy editor, then the proofreader, then the designer who lays out the book, then the production team who send the book to print, then the sales reps who get out there to sell in the book… There are so many different layers to publishing a novel that editors are, in fact, project managers. And I was doing this for, at one stage, two books a month, twenty two books a year (none in December, smartarse, before you start counting on your fingers!) It’s no wonder that your regular editor is often working til late in the office, then going home to read manuscripts in the evening, so that all of these tasks can be fulfilled!

5. Publishing people are the best!

I have had the best two years and seven months, and that is without a doubt down to the people I have met through this job. My fabulous colleagues (who I am going to miss beyond words); my incredible authors (who I wish all the very best in the future); the agents (who have been professional, caring and somehow managed to balance author and editor with aplomb); the freelancers (who have done such a sterling job behind the scenes to make the books as tight as they can possibly be); and the book bloggers/reviewers (who have shown such passion for all the Strange Chemistry books). I salute you all. You have made my job easy. You have made my job fun. You have made me enjoy every single day that I walked into this office and sat down at my desk and realised that I was bringing stories to the world. Thank you!

photo (29)Amanda’s Giveaway

And now, before I go away and weep a little – it IS an emotional day, after all – I bring you my prize pack for this blog post. I am offering one person my five favourite Angry Robot books. These would be: Zoo City by Lauren Beukes, Sixty-One Nails by Mike Shevdon, The Mad Scientist’s Daughter by Cassandra Rose Clarke, The Corpse-Rat King by Lee Battersby and The Alchemist of Souls by Anne Lyle.

Entry Details

To win, just let me know, in the comments, your five favourite books of all time. The winner will be picked at random and entries close on Monday 7 July at 12.01pm BST.


  1. My favorite books are: (ugh this is hard)

    1. Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom
    2. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
    3. Champion by Marie Lu
    4. Thicker than Water by Maggie Shayne
    5. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collines

    Best of luck to you! And thank you for the giveaway! =)))

  2. 1. The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley
    2. Mairelon the Magician by Patricia C. Wrede
    3. Vicious by V.E. Schwab
    4. The Lord of the Rings Trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien
    5. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

    Good luck, Amanda!

  3. 1. Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
    2. Night Film by Marisha Pessl
    3. Divergent by Veronica Roth
    4. The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie
    5. A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin

    Good luck for the future Amanda!

  4. Five favorite of all time, in no order.

    1. American Gods by Neil Gaiman
    2. Small Gods by Terry Pratchett
    3. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
    4. The Adventures of Huck Finn by Mark Twain
    5. And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie

    Tomorrow that list will probably be completely different.

  5. Best of luck, Amanda! So sorry to see you go.

    1. Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino
    2. Labyrinths by Jorge Luis Borges
    3. A Storm of Swords by George R. R. Martin
    4. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
    5. Broken Harbour by Tana French

  6. Hmm, must do it as the ones for today…

    1. King of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner
    2. A Civil Campaign by Lois M. Bujold
    3. Finder by Emma Bull
    4. Sabriel by Garth Nix
    5. And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie

    Will miss you, Amanda. Looking forward to whatever you do next; I have faith in you and your choices. Wish I’d gotten to work on another SC book with you!



  7. Best of luck with your next adventure!

    Five favorite books of all time at this moment in time (in no particular order)

    1. The Lord of the Rings by Tolkien
    2. Barrayar and the Vorkosigan series by Lois Bujold
    3. Harry Potter series by Rowling
    4. Slaughter House Five by Vonnegut
    5. The Magician Series by Feist

  8. Eric Quertermous

    1) “On The Road” – Jack Kerouac
    2) “The Maltese Falcon” – Dashiell Hammett
    3) “The Lord Of The Rings” – J.R.R. Tolkien
    4) “I Have No Mouth And I Must Scream!” – Harlan Ellison
    5) “The Sword Edged Blonde” – Alex Bledsoe

  9. Sorry to hear you’re leaving….

    1. 101 Dalmations by Dodie Smith
    2. On Basilisk Station by David Weber
    3. Sign of the Four by Arthur Conan Doyle
    4. It by Stephen King
    5. Between Two Thorns by Emma Newman

  10. My five all time favorite books are:

    Harry Potter books by J.K. Rowling.
    Dracula by Bram Stoker.
    Twelfth Night by William Shakespear.
    Bloodlines by Richelle Mead.
    Black Beauty by Anna Sewell.

  11. This is tough:
    Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier
    Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien
    The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
    Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson
    Prince of Thorns by Mark Lawrence.
    Lynn 😀

  12. I loved books published by Strange Chemistry. It was the only ya imprint willing to push the boundaries. So sad it’s over. Best of luck in the future for you Amanda, you were always super-kind.

    As for my favorite books… Just five? That’s tough to pick, but let’s say:
    1) Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson
    2) The Talisman by Stephen King
    3) Veronika Decides to Die by Paulo Coelho
    4) I Am Legend by Richard Matheson
    5) Dragonflight by Anne McCaffrey

  13. Best of luck for the future, Amanda.

    My “current” top five:

    Dune, Frank Herbert
    Glasshouse, Charles Stross
    The World Inside, Robert Silverberg
    Memory, Lois McMaster Bujold
    Best Served Cold, Joe Abercrombie

  14. The Hobbit BY J.R.R. Tolkien
    Angels & Demons BY Dan Brown
    About a boy By Nick Hornby
    Second Foundation BY Isaac Asimov
    One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest BY Ken Kesey.

  15. Another hard hard choice game, in no particular order –
    ‘The Silmarillion’ by J.R.R. Tolkien
    ‘Elric: The Stealer of Souls’ by Michael Moorcock
    ‘Prince of Thorns’ by Mark Lawrence
    ‘Gardens of the Moon’ by Steven Erikson
    Any of the Harry Potter Novels (sue me I loved them)

  16. I learnt so much about the publishing industry today. Thank you Amanda and I hope you all the success in your next avenue.

    Magic Bleeds by Ilona Andrews
    The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
    The Hound of the Baskervilles by sir Arthur Canon Doyle
    The Silver Spoon by Maggie Osbourne
    Half Bad by Sally Green.


  17. Night of the Hunter
    ‘Salem’s Lot
    Something Wicked this Way Comes

  18. Really good article. I’ve learnt myself the hard way about exactly what’s involved in publishing. Right, here goes, 5 favourite books of all time;
    The Books of Blood Clive Barker
    Christine Stephen King
    Guilty Pleasures Laurell K Hamilton
    Zoo City Lauren Beukes
    Hard Spell Justin Gustainis

    That’s not me sucking up, those are really, after consideration, my faves of all time.

  19. So upset to lose Strange Chemistry and all their future greatness that will never come.

    Gameboard of The Gods, by Richelle Mead
    The Demon’s Lexicon, by Sarah Rees Brennan
    The Assassin’s Curse, by Cassandra Rose Clarke
    The Scorpio Races, by Maggie Stiefvater
    Avalon, by Mindee Arnett

  20. I’ll stick with Genre
    Foundation series
    I, Robot

  21. I think I would have to go with favorite series, tbh. Because choosing ONLY five books?

    “That’s impossible!” ~Luke Skywalker

    Anywho… lessee… in no particular order, hows about:

    1. Stephen King’s Dark Tower series (Oy! *sobs*)
    2. Tolkien’s Hobbit/LotR (childhood fave!)
    3. J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series (I know, I know… but I lurves them!)
    4. Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files (srsly, so much effing fun!)
    5. Robert Jordan’s (and Brandon Sanderson’s!) Wheel of Time series.

    Of course, I didn’t get to include any of SK’s or Brandon’s other books, or Eddings’ Belgardiad, or Kim Harrison’s Hollows series, which I also love, love, love, but you did say five.




  22. Good luck in all you do Amanda! Trying to narrow down to just 5 favorites is hard!! Here’s my attempt:

    1. A Discovery of Witches – Deborah Harkness
    2. Entire Harry Potter series
    3. Splintered – A.G. Howard
    4. Anything written by Anne Rice
    5. The Hollows series – Kim Harrison

  23. Embassytown by China Miéville
    Foreigner by C.J. Cherryh
    The Vorkosigan Saga series by Lois McMaster Bujold
    Dune by Frank Herbert
    Empire by Michael R. Hicks

  24. All the best to you, Amanda! Here’s my “today” top 5.
    Grimms Fairy Tales(old version tales, quite gruesome)
    100 Nightmares by K.Z. Moreno
    It by Stephen King
    The Great and Secret Show by Clive Barker
    Steppenwolf by Herman Hesse

  25. No way I can pick my 5 favorites, but here are 5 OF my favorites:
    The Deep Blue Good-by (or any other Travis McGee novel)
    The Hobbit
    On Basilisk Station (or pretty much any other Honor Harrington novel)
    Downbelow Station (or pretty much anything by C.J. Cherryh)
    Kalpa Imperial

  26. Good luck on your next venture, Amanda!

    My top five picks are:

    1. Dune by Frank Herbert
    2. Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert A. Heinlein
    3. Serpent’s Reach by C. J. Cherryh
    4. The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin
    5. The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury

  27. White and other tales of ruin – Tim Lebbon
    To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee
    I am Legend – Richard Matheson
    The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams
    The Stand – Stephen King

  28. My five faves of all-time?

    – Richard Matheson’s “Hell House”
    – Stephen King’s “The Gunslinger”
    – Neil Gaiman’s “Anansi Boys”
    – Clive Barker’s “The Great and Secret Show”
    – Elmore Leonard’s “Out of Sight”

  29. Frank Herbert: Dune
    Lois McMaster Bujold: The Curse of Chalion
    China Miéville: Embassytown
    Ursula K. Le Guin : The Left Hand Of Darkness
    Kurt Vonnegut: Slaughterhouse-Five

  30. I’ll miss Strange Chemistry. I was always excited to see a new book by a Strange Chemistry author. It was always a great read.

    Favorite books
    1. The Martian – Andy Weir
    2. Red Rising – Pierce Brown
    3. The Gentleman Bastard Series (The Lies of Locke Lamora) Scott Lynch
    4. Iron Seas series (The Iron Duke) Meljean Brook
    5. Daughter of the Forest – Juliet Marillier

    Thanks for the giveaway.

  31. So sad about Strange Chemistry!!! All the best.

    It’s almost impossible to choose my favourite books of all time, but here:

    1. Tam Lin by Pamela Dean
    2. Drawing Blood by Poppy Z. Brite
    3. Shadowland by Peter Straub
    4. The Harry Potter books
    5. The Newford Stories by Charles de Lint

  32. All the best for the future Amanda.

    Mockingbird by Walter Tevis
    The Complete Robot by Isaac Asimov
    Non-Stop by Brian Aldiss
    The Day of The Triffids by John Wyndham
    Greybeard by Brian Aldiss

  33. Strange Chemistry really will be missed! All the luck for the future, Amanda.
    My top five (today) are:
    1. Grandville by Bryan Talbot
    2. Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas
    3. Pantomime by Laura Lam
    4. Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare
    5. A Birthday for Frances by Russell Hoban

  34. Top five favourite books of alllll time? Eeeeek.

    1) Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman
    2) Thud! by Terry Pratchett
    3) The Secret History by Donna Tartt
    4) The Line of Beauty by Alan Hollinghurst
    5) Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

    Good luck with everything, Amanda! So sad about Strange Chemistry closing. ):

  35. 1. The Gunslinger by Stephen King
    2. Mucho Mojo by Joe Lansdale
    3. Code of the Woosters by P.G. Wodehouse
    4. The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler
    5. Everybody Dies by Lawrence Block

  36. Good luck, Amanda!

    As for five favorite books…I have trouble narrowing it down to five dozen, but here it goes (in no particular order):

    Dune — Frank Herbert
    Slaughterhouse-Five — Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.
    Valis — Philip K. Dick
    The Magus — John Fowles
    Don Quixote — Miguel de Cervantes

  37. Cool article! Good luck in the future, Amanda!

    top 5 books…

    Idoru by William Gibson
    Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Harumi Murakami
    Only Forward by Michael Marshall Smith
    The Screaming Staircase by Jonathan Stroud
    The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes

  38. So sorry to learn of the demise of Strange Chemistry and Exhibit A. I have many of their books. My favorite five of all time? Probably:

    1) Any Harry Potter book
    2) 11/22/63 by Stephen King (There are about ten SK books that could fit this slot)
    3) To Kill A Mockingbird
    4) The Hound Of The Baskervilles
    5) tie between Seabiscuit and Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand

    And I just thought of five more I want to add. Good luck, Amanda! I know you’ll land on your feet. You’re too brilliant not to.

  39. Five favourites? SO HARD TO PICK.

    These will have changed by tomorrow, but I’ll go for

    The Great Gatsby
    Three Men In A Boat
    The Sky Is Everywhere
    How Green Was My Valley
    We, The Drowned.

    Best of luck for the future, Amanda!

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