Kate Lyall Grant and Babs Horton - the author / editor relationship
How many lunches are there in a year? Kate Lyall Grant, a senior editor at Simon and Schuster (seen here on the left), came down to Plymouth the other day for the launch of Babs Horton's new book Recipes for Cherubs. She graciously came along to talk to our MA students the next day, alongside Babs, giving us the inside take on an author-editor relationship. Kate works with 80 agents, and suggests that a requirement of a successful agent is that they are based in London - for an agent must build up relationships with editors over coffee and lunch.
The buzz is good for Babs' new book. Apparently for an editor to take on a new commercial fiction title she must be pretty confident of 32,000 sales. Babs (the Royal Literary Fund Fellow at Plymouth University) is well on target, her book picked up by the supermarket chain Asda, and a healthy 120 copies bought and signed on the launch night.
It's interesting to learn once again about the supreme power of single bookbuyers in the large chains. Six months of work on a cover, with a product that delights an editor, has to be thrown away if the book buyer doesn't approve. Happily Bab's new book has the look of a winner: a touch of class, a touch of the exotic, a touch of mystery. Now Beryl Cook has passed on (a lovely obituary in the Guardian gives a fine taste of that artist's penchant for Plymouth) Babs is set to be the city's new grande dame of the arts.