JEFFREY SIMMONS has been involved with books for an astonishing 68 years as publisher, (W H Allen/Random House) literary agent and author. When he first got into publishing, books were by and large the work of professional writers and publishing was mostly concerned with Literature. He has watched as it has become part of the entertainment industry, thanks largely to the advent of television.
It had not been regarded as wholly respectable for well-known people to write for money. Jeffrey can point to the time when it became acceptable for them to do so, the time, in fact, when publishing became less about Literature and more about Commerce. Indeed, Jeffrey was one of the first to spot the potential of celebrity books. A list of his famous authors from Maurice Chevalier and Dame Vera Lynn to Margot Fonteyn and Morecambe and Wise is hugely impressive.
Jeffrey represented ‘The Life and Times of Cleopatra’, a book written by C M Franzero. They sold the movie rights and in 1960, 20th Century Fox created a blockbuster movie starring Liz Taylor and Richard Burton, two major Hollywood icons. As a result, Jeffrey was honoured by the Italian government for his services to Italian literature. As a publisher of fiction, he discovered Novelists as diverse as the world-renowned Author Alan Sillitoe (Saturday Night, Sunday Morning) and New York Times Bestselling Author, Jackie Collins.
The publishing scene has changed almost beyond recognition since Jeffrey first knew it. One thing he insists on, however: good writing is ageless.
In association with New London Writers, Jeffrey will be at a venue near the wonderful All Saints of Fitzrovia on the 14th of June. He will be available to meet writers who are keen on getting their work agented and published. See our Meetup page for details. Or contact us below
See our meetup page for details.