Long-time followers of the blog may have heard us refer to our annual 'Hitlist' meeting, which determines which titles we have highlighted as having the potential to be turned into final commissioned books. These meetings see the Osprey brain trust get together to debate, discuss and agree upon on an idealized schedule of books so that our editors can go out and approach authors or get the book commissioned. Representatives from the Sales, Marketing and Rights teams from the UK and the US gather together with senior editors, and commissioning editors. As well as being a great opportunity to sit down and spend some real quality time mulling over our list it also gives the sales and marketing teams some invaluable face time with aviation commissioning editor Tony Holmes and Osprey legend Martin Windrow (who has worked for Osprey for decades and is responsible for commissioning Men-at-Arms and Elite).
Every year, before these meetings I gather together as much of the feedback from you as possible, looking through numerous forum posts and book suggestions submitted through the dropbox on the homepage. More importantly I look through the results of all the book votes to bring together as much additional information for our editors as possible. This year I also had the incredibly valuable feedback submitted during the 'Filling the Gaps' blog posts, which provided even more information than we usually have at our disposal.
Sometimes the proposed book projects have already come into us as a suggestion from an established Osprey author or with a potential new author attached to the project. Sometimes the editor needs to go out and find an editor for the project. And sometimes whilst we are having these discussions an idea suddenly springs (seemingly from nowhere) which sends us scrambling around desperately trying to see if we can bring the idea to fruition.
Over the last couple of weeks we have had four Hitlist meetings discussing potential 2015 titles. Now 2015 might seem a long, long way away, but in actual publishing terms it isn't. After all, our authors need the time to do the research and provide the artists with references, as well as writing the book - and of course the artists need the time to complete the illustrations. All told, we will need to be actually commissioning 2015 titles within the next few months to ensure that we actually have some books coming out in the early months of 2015!
Now I should get this out of the way now - we can't reveal that much about what we decided on in these meetings, so this may seem like a bit of an annoying teaser post. There are a load of reasons why I can't delve into all of the details in their glorious detail... the primary one being the fact that we haven't officially contracted any of these books yet, so revealing any actual concrete details would be a little premature, and out of respect for the potential authors involved, they should get the good news that we are interested in their project direct from their commissioning editor - and not from this blog.
But, what I did want to share with you is the exciting extent to which we have been able to put all of your feedback to use in this meeting... and to reveal how many books are on the cards based on the responses we received... particularly through the Filling the Gaps blog posts. So without further ado, here follows a series-by-series summary of where you, our fabulous customers, have had a role in influencing our future publishing plans.
Half of the planned list of MAA titles in 2015 originate from customer suggestions, including two titles which out-performed all of our expectations in recent book votes as well as another title which has been asked for repeatedly over the years. None of which are World War II titles - showing that the book vote is not always dominated by WW2. Of course there are a couple of World War II titles in the MAA list - one of which emerged as a strong performer in a recent book poll. In fact, if all goes to plan, MAA will be split out across an impressive range of time periods, making for one of the most diverse lists in recent times.
Although, not sticking as closely to the public vote responses as Men-at-Arms, the Elite plans are very much inspired by customer suggestions, particularly with regard to modern titles outside of our usual US / UK subject matter. Another title (of a naval persuasion) is also on the cards, thanks to repeated requests on our forums, as well as a strong showing in the Elite Filling the Gaps vote. There are also a couple of potentially cracking Tactics books that could emerge as 2015 titles.
Warrior looks set to enjoy a great year in 2015, with another diverse list. Ancient World, World War II and Vietnam titles rubbing shoulders with each other - with half of the list inspired by suggestions on our forum and the Filling the Gaps votes.
It is coming back. Need I say more? After a well-deserved break and a concerted campaign of support for the series, we are planning to commission a couple of Fortress titles in 2015. Great to see one of my personal favourite series come back - and I am sure that loads of you will be very pleased that new life has been breathed into the series.
One of the most popular series in the Osprey list, there is just so much ground still to cover in the series that we never struggle to come up with a strong list of titles. 2015 is no exception. Take a dash of Punic War, throw in some American Civil War, some 18th century and a dash of WW2 among others and we emerge with a bubbling stew of Campaign excellence. Most excitingly, over the last couple of years there have been numerous requests for us to go back and revisit some of our major Campaign titles with a multi-book treatment on the subject. So in 2015 we are planning to release a three-book treatment on a major encounter that celebrates a significant anniversary in 2015. Can you guess what that is?
New Vanguard always seems to generate the closest, most bitterly fought book votes, with usually only a handful of votes separating the top titles. 2015 will see another great haul for naval enthusiasts with a planned 6 books on naval topics. Armour is a tougher proposition as we have already covered so much of what is out there, but we have an early WW2 type, a cold war colossus and a breakdown of an entire nations modern armour rumbling onto book shelves in 2015. Plus, the NVG editor Phil has supplied us with one real 'out of left field' title, which takes New Vanguard into previously unexplored territory. A bit like the War Elephants book we did a while ago. Though it is not about elephants. Or any other animal for that matter.
All of your feedback from our AVG survey and the filling the gaps blog post helped us immensely, though to be honest there are more gaps than filled slots in this young, fresh-faced series! A bomber, one of my personal favourite non-combat aircraft, some Luftwaffe titles and a jet fighter will all appear on your radar during 2015. Well to be honest, one of those might not pop up on your radar particularly if you are not paying very, very close attention... have you spotted it yet?
Another new series with a world of potential titles, which is very exciting. Let me clear this up now though. There will be an ancient world title arriving soon. Before 2015 in actual fact. Plus some rather obvious additions. Napoleonic included. Perhaps some WW1 too.
The book that won the recent book vote will be (we hope) coming out in 2015. Sound good? We thought so!
There is one, non gunpowdery (technical terms from me... after all I am writing this on a Friday afternoon) weapon that seems to crop up on request lists over and over and over again. Your wish is granted, it is on the way. As is a book on a rather fearsome slashing instrument. Or swinging. Or stabbing. The known world is your oyster when you are armed with one of these. Both of these weapons did pretty well in the recent filling the gaps book vote, though one of them only finished third, which goes to show that it is not only the top title that stands a chance of making it through to publication. Along with these will be an array of pistols, rifles and a machine gun - so plenty of firearms in the list too - including the book that came second in the aforementioned book vote.
If we can find the right author (and that is still up-in-the-air) the Essential History title that won the poll in December 2012 will be appearing in 2015. Thanks for the suggestion - a great title on a conflict that we have not touched on yet. And it isn't WW2. What do you think it is?
Duel (Land and Sea)
Another book vote winner features in our to-do list for 2015. An ancient world naval title no less!
See above... almost. It didn't win the book vote, but performed highly. So we are covering it - and it is an absolute classic. Plus there is one of those curveball Duels in the pipeline. Think along the lines of the Atlantic Convoy book. But in the Pacific.
A great selection here. Cold War. Vietnam. Korea. Afghanistan. And a couple of World War II titles, both of which could be considered a little unusual for the series (one of which was called for widely by customers). One of them looks like something out of a pulpy alt-history science fiction tale. The other saw action for both the Axis and the Allies. Any guesses?
Aircraft of the Aces
You know that book vote currently running on the site? Two of them. In 2015. Which do you think they are?
Phew. That is it then. All the key series (i don't think I have forgotten any have I?) teased. Easily the most exciting meetings of any year, but this year in particular was great fun, and the lists we have lined up look so fantastic. We can't wait!
All that remains is for me to offer a huge thank you to everyone who has provided us with ideas, suggestions and book votes. Everyone here at Osprey values that feedback - keep it all coming!
ps. Wargaming, Osprey Adventures and our one-offs (also known as General books) will all return in 2015 as well - we just haven't quite finished deciding exactly what. Or when. When we do... we will let you know.