5am: Leap out of bed. An hour’s meditation and a matcha smoothie and I’m ready to fast-walk to the office… no. No, I can’t lie. It’s actually:
7am: Wake up, peel Kindle off face where I fell asleep reading a submission. Shower, get dressed (it used to be heels, now it’s ‘smart trainers’ – what would my mother say?)
8.30am: Train to work. Resume reading a submission on my Kindle. If it’s clearly not for me, flick to the next one – there are always plenty on the virtual reading pile.
9am: Arrive at office. Actual breakfast: definitely NOT a matcha smoothie, given that the HarperCollins canteen sells hash browns.
9.15am: Check emails. American or Australian authors/agents/publishers may have been in touch overnight.
9.30am: Weekly sales meeting. National sales figures are released on Tuesday, so first thing Wednesday we look at the sales pattern on key new titles and discuss how to maintain good levels, or revive any that seem to be dropping off.
10am: Weekly acquisitions meeting. All the editors bring along any new projects they are keen to acquire, and pitch them to a long table of 30 or 40 colleagues. It’s our first chance to communicate our enthusiasm for a book to the wider company in the hope that they’ll agree we ought to make an offer on it, and it’s my favourite meeting of the week as I’m incurably nosy about what everyone else is reading.
11.30am: Back at my desk, either circulating a book I just talked about at the meeting or pulling together prospective sales figures to prepare an offer on something.
12 noon: I might be writing a cover brief for a new title, or sending an author our proposed copy for the cover of their novel. There’s usually some to and fro on both covers and copy, as we want everyone involved to be happy but also need to present the book in the most accurate (and commercially appealing) way possible.
1pm: Lunch with a literary agent. It’s important for editors to make sure they are on the radar of the agents – and if they recently had a nice couple of hours with you talking about books, they are more likely to remember you when it comes to sending out that hot new author they just took on. Also, agents are the MOST fun and have the BEST gossip. Book gossip, I mean. Of course. Yes.
3pm: Individual catch-up meetings with members of the Borough team. There are four-and-a-half of us (it’s complicated), and we discuss general work matters and specific projects each of us is working on.
4.30pm: Our literary scout in New York calls for his weekly phone update. Scouts are invaluable in keeping us on the ball with new submissions in the US – if a book is getting buzz over there, he makes sure we know about it. A decent percentage of Borough’s list is American writing, and we’re always keen to see books from anywhere and anyone – several of us read in foreign languages, and we’d love to publish more in translation. (Oh, and what I said before about agents and industry gossip? Scouts are EVEN BETTER.)
5pm: Finally an hour to go through my notes on the novel I’m currently editing. We try to set a few full days aside for each edit, but it’s not always easily done, so we have to snatch time where we can.
6pm: Send any submissions that came in today to my Kindle, and start reading on the train home… or on the tube to an event…
7pm: There may be a launch party or another industry event, so dinner might be canapés and prosecco (I know, I hate me too). But if there isn’t, I believe convention dictates that I close this by claiming I go home and curl up on the sofa with pizza and Netflix until a 10pm bedtime. So let’s say I do that.