Sunday, 29 July 2012

Pitching to Simon & Schuster

Well, it's certainly been an interesting week.

I went to London, and not just any old part of London, but the offices of the publisher Simon & Schuster.

My publisher, Watkins Publishing, invited me up to present my book to the Simon & Schuster sales team.

The book, Pigs in Clover, is now written, accepted, edited, proofed and ready to go - though publication date is not until June 2012.

I have been to the offices of Watkins publishing before, but that was way back when they very first took me on, and they didn't really know me, so i was ushered from the street through the front door and shoved into the first empty office they could find, which happened to be the first door in. I didn't get to see any of the real fun stuff.

With Simon & Schuster is was completely different.

I left home at 5 in the morning - well i didn't want to be late! Got a train to Paddington, a tube to Kings Cross and was there, drumming my fingers at 10. The meeting was 11.45. I had a suit on and carried a laptop case that looked the part but actually only contained a packed lunch. With a long time to kill, I strolled around and bit by bit edged up towards the offices on Gray's Inn Road.

The building is modern and very smart. I'd walked slowly, but was still early and kind of hung about outside, and tried hard to shove the nerves that were building away. Then i went in.

Okay, so I'm guessing my mental image of a publishing house isn't that dissimilar to everyone else’s; open plan offices with people hunched over desks piled so high with paperwork that the person could hardly be seen, and piles, lots and lots of piles of what looked like manuscripts (slush piles?), teetering columns of books and stacks of cardboard boxes so you couldn't walk more than two paces in a straight line in any direction. 

That's what i think a publishing house should look like - and that's exactly what it did look like.  It was brilliant!

I had to sit on my hands in the open reception area to stop myself from rummaging through all the incredible books everywhere!

After a while i was called in.

The conference room was made from frosted glass with a table inside large enough to fit 50 people around it. Mine was a cameo appearance in a larger sales meeting, so i was wheeled in to do my presentation and fifteen minutes later was back on the street outside, my head spinning.

So that's it. Book has been pitched to the sales team. I really, really hope they liked it.

Time, as they say, will tell.

EDIT: Oops, that should have read 'publication date not until June 2013'.


  1. Amazing that still goes on where salespeople have the status of their territories, London is king.
    The reason that publishers have piles of paper is nobody knows what to do with any of it.In William Collins the unsolicited manuscript reader was the lady at the reception desk.
    Lady Collins used the deep litter principle if I chased something up that I needed an answer to she would say How long ago did you send it dear? Then she would know how many inches down to excavate.

    1. I think i would have been deeply disappointed if the office hadn't been cluttered with paperwork; it kind of wouldn't have felt like a publishers.
      Oh dear, the deep litter principle doesn't sound good - there are probably m/s dating back decades still unread... I wonder what the greatest time scale is between a m/s being sent in and being accepted? I bet it's years and years.

  2. Best of wishes to you. It sounds promising!