A Diary of The Lady: My First Year As Editor

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Penguin Books Limited, Sep 30, 2010 - Literary Collections - 480 pages
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'All I knew about The Lady was what all middle-class mothers of a certain age and income bracket knew about The Lady. It was where you got a nanny from. End of.' When Rachel Johnson was appointed the new editor of the oldest women's weekly magazine in the world, she was facing the challenge of a lifetime. For a start, how do you become an editor when you've never, really, edited? How do you turn around a venerable title, full of gloomy articles on watery eyes and ads for walk-in baths, into a totally cookin' property ... during the worst recession EVER? And forget about doubling the circulation in a year at The Lady – what on earth do you WEAR to work when you've spent the last fifteen years sitting at home in sweatpants? As she puts on her best Bree Van der Kamp silk blouse and penetrates the time-capsule six-storey cream and pink HQ in Covent Garden – with its Fred West basement, Ladies' Smoking Room, Anne Frank Annexe and wall safe filled with custard creams – she soon realizes: if The Lady was ever to become more hip than hip replacement, it would need emergency surgery. And fast. This is Rachel's riotous and alarmingly frank account of her first year as her Ladyship, as she tackles redesigning the magazine, drags the title from the nineteenth to the twenty-first century, persuades big names to write for peanuts, attempts to sell advertising space to the bewildered executives of Astroglide (don’t ask), tackles her dreaded intray, but above all tries to persuade her existing readers to keep going and new ones to hop on board. Will Rachel save The Lady – or sink it?

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About the author (2010)

Rachel Johnson is married to Ivo Dawnay, has three children, and lives in London and Somerset. Her previous books include The Mummy Diaries, the international bestseller Notting Hell and Shire Hell.

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