Caroline Hogg has worked in publishing for almost ten years, at Little, Brown Book Group and more recently at Avon, HarperCollins. She's currently at Pan Macmillan as Senior Commissioning Editor for Commercial Women's Fiction. She knows her stuff!
Today's question comes from a Novelicious reader who asks:
What are the common myths about being an
I would like to blame Jude Law in The Holiday for perpetuating the myth that editors
lie around in bed with a stack of A4 pages, drinking wine and chewing on the
end of their wire-framed glasses in moments of deep reflection. (Which is not
to say this never ever happens.) There is reading involved, of course, but not just reading. In fact, so much of an
editor’s working day is taken up with meetings, running costings, negotiating
deals, working with the sales, marketing, publicity, design and production
teams, writing copy, talking to authors, checking covers, checking out
competitors and more besides, that it’s quite rare you have enough time or
peace and quiet to read submissions at your desk.
I think another myth is that we read a
novel, discover we love it and call the author the very next day to offer a
contract. The reality is that, yes, editors fall in love with books and want to
publish them but they need the support of pretty much everyone else in the
company to do so. It’s never one person’s decision to sign up an author. So there
are meetings and discussions, and costings to calculate, so it can be a good
few weeks before the editor gets the OK to offer.
A myth I wish were
true is that all publishing business is conducted during boozy lunches. Save
for a very special occasion now and again, most of the publishing lunches I
have are rather tame! Sparkling water and no pudding. And people have a 2.30pm
meeting to get back to, half the time. But great ideas and working
relationships start at these lunches, so as well as being a very nice perk they
are definitely useful.