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My Job in 5: Wayne Brookes

Wayne Brookes tells us about his role as Associate publisher―Fiction at Pan Macmillan.
Written on 07/05/2018 - 10:23

Describe your role.
I’m the associate publisher in the fiction department which means I manage my own list of authors but also help oversee the fiction list as a whole. The other editors in fiction now report into me which means my role is a mix of editorial and management.

What do you like best about your role?
The diversity. As associate publisher I can be editing, signing off print runs, writing copy and then getting ready to do someone’s appraisal all in the same day. Then, on the way home, I could be reading a great new manuscript. Every day is different and it seldom follows a schedule I may have made myself.

Which new projects or titles are you working on at the moment?
At the moment, I’m getting ready to publish the mass market edition of The Wife Between Us. This is one of the most exciting thrillers I’ve ever acquired. I’m also publishing Peter James’ biggest standalone thriller to date, Absolute Proof,
this autumn. I’ve been working with Peter on this project for over a year, and it’s such a thrill to see it all coming together.

What skills do you need for your role?
Not necessarily in this order, but you need diplomacy, a sense of humour, a keen eye for detail and commercial acumen. As my role is now split between editorial and management it’s not always easy to strike the right balance. I came into publishing as an acquiring
editor, and that is still a huge part of my job. I love finding new authors and still get the biggest kick seeing Pan Macmillan’s books on the shelves and even better in the top ten.

What advice would you give to those looking to work in the industry?
I would say one of the best places to start is in a bookshop. That’s exactly what I did. You learn so much on the shop floor, and to this day I can still remember how certain books performed saleswise. I ended up running the fiction department before leaving to go to university. If you are coming into this business, you need to know the market, so read all you can, when you can.