A Day In The Life Of… Molly Crawford by SJV
I’m SO excited to have one of the newest members of @TeamBATC, Molly Crawford, in the A Day in the Life of… hot seat today! Molly publishes, amongst others, Caroline Bishop, Holly Hepburn, Anstey Harris and Catherine Bennetto, so you’ll be hearing a LOT from her in the coming months and years, so sit back, relax, and get set for a whirlwind tour of the work/life of a Commissioning Editor!
What does a Commissioning Editor do?
A few things! But in a nutshell, I read submissions and work with agents to find new authors for the S&S list. I also manage each publication for my existing list of authors, editing manuscripts and working with them, their publishing teams, and agents to publish their excellent books.
Is there such a thing as a typical day, and if so what does it look like?
A typical day for me normally includes lots of little things, a few meetings, and one or two big projects. The time in between meetings might include answering author and agent queries, briefing covers, brainstorming taglines, or writing cover copy. And, if I have a bigger chunk of time, I’ll work on an edit. I also try to spend some of my time connecting with agents to discuss the projects they’ve got coming up. In the before time this might have taken the form of a coffee or a breakfast but now it’s normally on Zoom.
For the record, if I was a budding debut author, faced with the dreaded blank first page, what would be your top tip to bestseller success?
Always have a notebook with you. I’m not a writer but my job is by necessity reasonably creative. But my creative problems are very rarely answered at my desk. I always find my best ideas come to me in quiet moments. Normally when I’m washing up, or on the tube, talking with friends, reading a book or article or just out walking. You never know when your big idea will hit – but they rarely stick around so better to have some paper to write them down.
We’re obsessed with other peoples TBR piles, how high is yours? And do you have 2, one for work books and one for pleasure books?
MY TBR is so unwieldy! Like most people in publishing, there’s just not enough time in the day to read all the fantastic books I hear about. I’ve got three different lists… one for work (the books I should read and will probably enjoy), one for pure joy and escapism (mostly sci-fi and fantasy books that I’ve been recommended in the last few years). But I also have a shameful pile of books I would love to read but know I probably never will find the time for. Ah well, maybe in another life!
Have you got a best and worst part of the job?
The best part of my job is working directly with authors. The excitement of being one of the first pair of eyes on a story and the joy of seeing a book you’ve worked on in the wild are two fantastic feelings. Similarly, the worst part of my job has to be when a book you love just doesn’t find its audience. Particularly when you know an author and the team have put their heart and soul into a project and the book just hasn’t landed. So much of our job is trying to harness a form of alchemy and sometimes good books just don’t sell.
Is there an author you’d sell a limb to work with?
So many I’d be at risk of running out of appendages. I don’t want to jinx them though so I’ll be keeping those names to myself…
What book do you most recommend to others?
Oh, that’s easy! I’m ALWAYS recommending people read What Fresh Hell? by Lucy Vine – it’s a perfect snapshot of those years in your late twenties / early thirties where it feels like every other weekend is spent at a wedding. It’s so good I actually bought copies for my bridesmaids as gifts…
And lastly our quick fire trivia round…
Thing you’d never leave home without? A notebook, of course!
Favourite place to read? The train – ideally on a long journey
If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you live? Copenhagen
What’s the secret to success? Constantly trying to learn new things
What’s on your current reading pile? Love in Colour by Bolu Babalola – I’m late to the party but I can’t wait!
Staying in or Going out? Even after this year I have to say staying in
What’s your Signature dish? My lasagne takes a full day and is most definitely worth the wait
Beach break or city break? I think I have to say beach so I can finally get through my TBR
Favourite Literary Hero? Lizzy Bennett
Famous last words? I literally never stop talking