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Macmillan Visit

So, yesterday I took the train down to the Big Smoke to see my agent and visit the offices of Macmillan. It was one of those really, really cool moments. I met up with John for a coffee before hand, and had the usual chat about the world with him. Then, we meandered to the offices of Macmillan in North London, not too far from King’s Cross Station. Very plush reception, with fancy LCD screens of book covers, and for the more traditional folk, actual books themselves in smart, sleek display cases.

Then Peter Lavery popped open the door full of handshakes and smiles, and I instantly liked him. Well, I did before really, but you know what I mean. This was the guy who published China Miéville, Peter F. Hamilton, Hal Duncan. Stunningly talented writers. So I was rather in editorial awe of the man. He took us on a brief tour of the building. We passed a chorus of spectacularly charming publishing ladies on their way out to lunch—where did they come from and where did they go? (This made even more bitter-sweet, by the fact I must face Christian and George at Solaris on my return to work.)

Then I met the rights people, the digital chap, the cover design chap—all people who I’d be involved with in one way or another, because it’s a big, big operation there—Rebecca and Steph who flank Peter’s main office and handle their own list of authors, and who used to work with him on the Tor list, and of course, the hub of Tor itself, Peter’s office. Plenty of books on them shelves. Unsurprisingly, a couple went home with me. Alan Campbell’s Scar Night, and a signed Vellum, by Hal Duncan. A moment later, one of the ladies announced she had porn on her desk; an eyebrow raised, I glanced over to investigate, only to find one of those new trendy-sex-romp-style fiction books, and I’m still not sure what I was expecting to see there.

I’m not sure I could ever bore of being referred to as “our new author”. Nope. Felt like a star of sorts.

I signed the contracts, and John, being a super-agent, brought along the invoice! That’s efficiency for you. Then, off for a very long lunch, the way they used to do ’em, with plenty of red wine. John and Peter go way back, so there was much gossip and banter of publishing through the ages, all of which kept me very entertained. Peter has a great sense of humour, and a frightening ability to put back the wine without seeming to change mood at all.

Well, I’m delighted to be part of their list. Certainly a day I’ll remember fondly. I’d better get to writing the next one now…

By Mark Newton

Born in 1981, live in the UK. I write about strange things.

5 replies on “Macmillan Visit”

Nope – what happens is Peter Lavery will go through the manuscript fully, and he’ll be sending out that typescript – sometimes even a proof – to various publishers across the World. They have a whole rights department who handle the details and queries (of which there had been a couple, apparently).

No, I wasn’t either – and I’m still not! I do think they publish each other’s titles to some extent. The Scalzi’s for example have recently come across to the UK, as has a David Weber. But I’m not sure Peter has had World rights on a couple of recent acquisitions such as Alan Campbell’s Scar Night.

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