A MEETING IN A MEETING ROOM
Editor: OK, I can’t sit on this any longer – we’ve got a new Harper Lee novel!
Sales/Marketing person 1: Harper..?
Editor: Harper Lee! To Kill A Mockingbird!
Sales/Marketing person 2: OK…
S/M1: Is there not already a book called that?
Editor: Er, yes, Harper Lee wrote it and this is her new one! I know, right? This is the most exciting piece of publishing news since Sylvia Beach put out Ulysses!
S/M1: Oh, yes, erm, Ulysses is definitely my favourite Sylvia Beach novel.
S/M2: OK, tell us more.
Editor: Well, apparently it’s kind of a sequel to Mockingbird although she wrote it first, and it’s called… [does drumroll on table] …Go Set A Watchman.
S/M1: Ghost At A..?
Editor: No, Go Set A Watchman. No ghosts, ha ha.
S/M2: Shame, ghosts would be good. They’re going to be big this year.
S/M1: To be honest I’m not crazy about that title.
Editor: What?
S/M2: It’s a bit of a mouthful. And what does it actually say? Is that going to leap out at you from the shelf?
Editor: Seriously? This is a new Harper Lee novel! Harper Lee!
S/M2: Yes, I know, but the first book came out ages ago. He’s been out of the loop for a long time and now unlikely to be across current marketing trends.
Editor: She.
S/M2: Harper Lee is a woman?
Editor: Yes, Harper Lee is a woman.
S/M2: It’s still a terrible title.
S/M1: Definitely needs a serious rethink. Given how well her previous book has done can we get the mockingbird in there?
S/M2: Birth Of A Mockingbird? Nice echoing parenthesis with the previous book. The circle of life. But in reverse.
S/M1: Would Return Of The Mockingbird be good?
S/M2: I like it. Says everything we need to get across.
Editor: But…
S/M1: We should start thinking about the publicity campaign. Lee Harper will be up for it, right?
Editor: It… it’s Harper Lee. She’s nearly ninety, in poor health but most of all she’s the most famous literary recluse since J.D. Salinger.
S/M2: Well if this is as important a title as you say then she’s just going to have to step on to the treadmill, Jade Salinger or no Jade Salinger.
S/M1: I’m thinking reviewing the papers on Sky News?
S/M2: Woman’s Hour talking about being a woman in a man’s world?
S/M1: Bit highbrow maybe – Graham Norton? He reads.
[Editor quietly pushes chair back and slowly stands up]
S/M1: Is she a foodie? If we can set publication to coincide with the new series of Saturday Kitchen..?
[Editor edges towards door]
S/M2: Let’s aim high and go for The One Show – maybe an item taking her to an aviary where she has to identify a mockingbird from a line of different birds?
S/M1: Are they endangered? She could maybe present an item, seeing mockingbirds in the wild. ‘Save the Mockingbird’, that kind of thing.
S/Mp2: I like that – get people back onside after the whole killing them thing.
[Editor leaves room and closes door]