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Comment from the book world in March 2005

March 2005

"Load your cart"

28 March 2005

'It used to be that patrons (never "customers") went into a bookshop, browsed for hours on end and bought one book or perhaps no book at all. Now booksellers want you to "load your cart" with three for two, or an armful of "50% off" items. It's the Tescoisation of the British book business. Nowadays you would no more think of going into a bookstore and old-fashionedly browsing than taking a tin-opener into the local supermarket and sampling the baked beans.

John Sutherland in the Guardian

'Barriers to publication'

21 March 2005

'Assessing a book's financial potential is crucial. Yet, if we are not careful, publishing will become completely over-run by sales and marketing departments, and we may as well start sending our projects direct to them...

Our job as agent is to safeguard the author's interests in the middle of these clashing Titans and ensure that talented writers are not crushed by internal power plays.

The barriers to publication for an author have never been higher. The complexities which are supposed to ensure that acquisitions are driven by enthusiasm are now conspiring to stop projects getting out there at all. The overheads at most conglomerates are so crippling that sales projections have to be extremely high for a book to be deemed worthy of an offer. Eats, Shoots and Leaves would not, I imagine, have had a particularly healthy costing at a conglomerate, but the same figures at Profile made it happen.

As the publishing world continues to eat itself, the crucial diversity of publishers' lists will suffer, and the next generation of editors will lose interest and wander off to better paid jobs elsewhere.'

Simon Trewin of the London literary agency PFDRepresents authors of fiction and non-fiction, children's writers, screenwriters, playwrights, documentary makers, technicians, presenters and public speakers throughout the world. Has 85 years of international experience in all media. PDF now have a POD section. Some good advice for those seeking a representative., in the Bookseller

Becoming a writer

14 March 2005

'It was making me laugh and cry and stay up all night. I was writing for no other reason but for the fact I was enjoying it so much. It was such an intense experience I knew I had to take it somewhere. My motivation was my mother who was reading the book chapter by chapter and laughing and crying in all the right places. I realised there was a possibility that people other than me, my mother and sister could enjoy my work.'

'It's coming up from inside me not class notes. Writing is such a natural thing for me that I find it hard to associate it with something that can be taught but in saying that, it's obviously been a help to others so I would never discourage anyone from classes.'

Cecelia Ahern, author of PS I Love You and Where Rainbows End in Writers' ForumBritish writers' magazine which is highly recommended for all writers. It features wide range of news and articles which help writers to improve their work and get published: magazine


7 March 2005

'Do-it-yourself publishing has become the new route to success for struggling authors. Several have recently won lucrative contracts from the biggest publishers after proving the worth of their books by first printing them themselves and selling them in local bookshops.

The falling cost of self-publishing means that authors whose work has been turned down by literary agents or publishers are now able to prove that their books will sell.'

Danuta Kean in the Sunday Telegraph