So says David Goodwin in Outlook Bibliofile, on the topic of authors following editors who hop from one publishing house to another. The Outlook piece also suggests that HarperCollins' coup will be quite damaging to Penguin India.
At last a Face—in fact two—for famously faceless HarperCollins India. So what if both are borrowed from their rival's stable—they're capable of carrying away dozens of top writers from Penguin's envied list of writers. Penguin's well-known fiction editor, head of Puffins and of trading rights, V.K. Karthika, will join as chief editor at HC. Before Penguin could recover from the shock, HC managed to steal away yet another top editor it had unsuccessfully tried to woo: its non-fiction editor, Krishen Chopra, who counts several PMs and Presidents among his illustrious list of authors.
How easy is it for an author to move out with his editor? In the West, according to lit agent David Godwin, author-editor loyalty invariably wins over contractual obligations. He should know: remember how he wriggled Arundhati Roy out from her contract with HarperCollins India when Pankaj Mishra quit? "If they want to keep their authors, they must keep the editors who got them the authors in the first place," is his take on the issue. Insiders claim the half-dozen titles that HarperCollins lost when Ashok Chopra quit is a mere nosebleed compared to what will ensue now.
Will Penguin's authors follow Karthika and Krishen Chopra to HarperCollins? Time will tell.