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So, that was 2014

2014 was a mixed year, for me. The year started well, work-wise, but after a short while, background issues at one of Angry Robot’s sister companies caused the investment company who owned the Group to re-evaluate its presence in publishing, and although Angry Robot was a profitable imprint, the owners decided to act like complete arseholes and thus a period of several months of anguish began. It’s worth noting that Osprey (the most senior of AR’s sister companies) behaved professionally, throughout, with the exception of one senior member of staff, who had been thrust into a situation beyond his ability to manage (the Peter Principle in full effect, here), and so he – along with the investors he reported to – made a number of very bizarre calls. That was a very bleak few months, as we were largely kept in the dark as to the overall plans for the group, and what little we were told, we were prevented from relaying to our authors and their agents. I’ve moved away from Angry Robot, but I still keep an eye on them, and I’m delighted by the fact that they were bought out by someone who actually has a love of publishing, and not a quorum of bankers looking for a quick buck, with no regard for the actual people involved. Long may Angry Robot sail the publishing oceans!

In May, Tor.com announced a new novella programme, and announced they were looking for a team to run it, including a Senior Editor. The job looked like it had been plucked directly from my subconscious, and so, despite the fact that they wanted someone based in New York, I decided to apply for it. Weeks of interviews commenced, and in early July I was offered the role. At one heartbreaking meeting with my friend and mentor, Marc Gascoigne, I handed in my notice at Angry Robot (the only company in my working life I have ever been sad to leave). It was a very difficult decision, but I couldn’t pass up what may well be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to found a new imprint with the best major genre publisher in the world! Naturally, the timing was unfortunate (Angry Robot was working through its issues at the time), and naturally, a bunch of people added 2 and 2 and reached 7.6, but the move was the right one for me, at this stage in my career.

I joined Tor.com in August, the day before the World Science Fiction Convention descended on London. It was a good WorldCon (see my report, here). What made it extra-special for me this year (apart from the exciting new gig) was my Hugo nomination. In 2014 I became the first ever British editor to be nominated for a Hugo. Which was kinda cool. From the instant I heard about the other nominees, I pegged Ginja Buchanan as the winner, and win she did. That I was convinced she would win took all of the stress away from the event, and I was able to enjoy the ceremony without any of those frustrating “what if I were to win?” concerns. I do hope that another Brit is nominated next year – there are so many that are way more deserving than I (though I won’t decline if I’m nominated, again). Odd to think that I’m still eligible for Best Editor (Long Form) this year and next, due to books I’ve already worked on, and next year I’ll move into the eligibility for the Short Form category, where the competition is just as scarily tough!

In September I Chaired my first convention – FantasyCon in York. There were a number of behind-the-scenes problems that were stressful, but dealt with (largely by the brilliant front-of-house Redcloak team). A significant number of people told me it was their favourite convention to date (or favourite FantasyCon), so that helped.

The only other major event of 2014 happened in December, when my Dad died. I won’t write of it, here, as I blogged about it, already.

So, what about 2015?

Well, I want to lose some weight (2 stone would be good – that’s about 12 kilos), and get fitter (I ran a lot in the second half of 2014, but it dropped off a bit). I’m also going to be at my first Guest of Honour gig at CONvergence in July (the single best convention I have ever attended, and easily my favourite).

And, of course, the first novellas I have acquired (with my brilliant assistant, Carl Engle-Laird) will come out (this coming summer).

It’s going to be an exciting 2015, folks!

 

 

A New Direction

Those who know me know how passionate I am about my work at Angry Robot. For the last five and a half years it has been not only my job, but the most important – and satisfying – part of my life, after family. In a little over five years I have helped grow the company (under the extraordinary leadership of Marc Gascoigne) from a virgin imprint with dreams of greatness to a recognised and established global brand with a reputation for quality, originality and innovation. I’ve met – and worked with – some astonishingly talented authors in that time.

A month ago, Tor.com announced it was setting up a new digital imprint, publishing novellas and serials, and was looking for a Senior Editor to guide the editorial direction of the new imprint. Now, I love novellas – they’re my preferred format for my own leisure reading. And Tor? Tor is the best Big 5 SF imprint in the world! So, you know – I applied. And had a chat with the powers-that-be, and then flew to New York for another chat and a meet and greet. And after a great deal of discussion, Tor.com offered me the role, and I accepted; handing in my notice to Angry Robot was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. It was a genuinely emotional meeting – Angry Robot is more than just my job, it’s my baby, and it always will be. But I’m also thrilled to be joining the team at Tor.com.

The timing is unfortunate, though. Last week Angry Robot had to close down its YA and crime imprints, and it’s natural for people to put 2 and 2 together and get 73 (and they will – oh, dear god, they will), but the new role is an amazing opportunity for me, and if it had been advertised six months ago, or six months from now, I would still have applied. In a note to my authors I said that in many ways it’s the role that Angry Robot had been preparing me for over the last five years.

So in August I’ll be moving to Tor.com and Marc will need to find a replacement for me at Angry Robot. And you know what? Whoever gets that gig is going to have the time of their life – Angry Robot is still the single best independent SF imprint on the face of the planet! And long may that continue…