I’m going to be brief today (quieten your sighs of relief, Beloved Reader, for my feelings will be hurt!) on account of having a mound of cover copy that needs doing, and it needs to be fitted in amongst a number of vitally important meetings, like marketing budgets, for example: absolutely vitally important, no one would deny, but possibly not the most scintillating subject matter.
And the editorial meeting, where one by one we go through what we’re reading so that everyone else can explain why we should be turning it down instead of hoping to take to acquisition meeting. Obviously immensely important.
And the editorial progress meeting where – wait for it! – we go through the progress of each book up to February 2015. That’s the meeting I dread most, for that usually goes something like: ‘How are you getting on with X?’, to which my response is invariably, ‘It’s on the list.’ And today’s editorial progress meeting is extra important because the lovely George is handing over (temporarily, if she knows what’s good for her) to the sure-to-be-almost-as-lovely Sarah while she goes off and produces a small child. (George, not Sarah. Do pay attention at the back!)
And the meeting with a social media guru, who’s hoping to persuade me to invest in his all-singing, all-dancing software which will help my beloved Authors to use social media effectively (ie to sell books rather than just swap cute cat pictures) – at least that one’s going to be a bit different.
And the meeting with Andrew and Nicola to catch up with all the publicity that’s been happening in the past week while Nicola’s been on her deathbed (and no, not faking just so she can stay home and paint her new house, judging by the pulled muscle from where she’s been coughing so much). Because I am a caring and sympathetic boss I have given her the name of a miracle liniment that will soothe the pain so she can make and carry the tea in without coughing and spilling it …
And the meeting with the eBook team about getting one of my titles – Cemetery Girl, in case you were wondering – into the Kindle Half-Term promotion.
So you can see that much as I would love to spend time enlightening you further about the arcane world of publishing, right now I have other commitments.
But I will take a few minutes out of my insanely busy life to do a little victory dance around the desk, joined by Andrew, Nicola and a gratifyingly large number of Q colleagues, to welcome a new author to the JFB stable.
Yes! I know you have been waiting (im)patiently for weeks and weeks while I tantalise you with hints, but the time has come when I can reveal that all those months of intense negotiation have culminated in the acquisition of The City of Stairs, a sort-of spy novel set in a wonderfully dark and twisted world where the gods that once existed were all killed, and so obviously there can no longer be anything with godly powers …
The author himself said on his website, ‘I mentally sold myself the novel by pitching it as, “Gods as weapons of mass destruction in a realpolitik world.” I wondered what such a world would look like, and then one night I was watching The Third Man and the way Post-WWII Vienna was broken and regulated and divided was so surreal to me, and yet so perfectly true and obvious, that it pretty much had to be used in the book. But the farther I get into it, the more I realize that this is a book about history, and how it’s present with us, influencing what we do, and yet it’s also inaccessible and remote – not unlike a god, in a way.’
And even better news? There’s a sequel – The City of Blades – and I have that too!
So please, let’s have a drumroll and a big welcome to Jo Fletcher Books for Robert Jackson Bennett! I’ve been a big fan of his since Mr Shivers won him his first award and I am thrilled he’s joining the family. Even better: you won’t have to wait too long for The City of Stairs as we’ll be matching the US publication date.
Is that not worth a victory dance?