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Comment from the book world in August 2007

August 2007

'A lot of it is luck'

20 August 2007

'With success I think a lot of it is luck. I've met a lot of depressed, frustrated authors who are still lugging their manuscripts around publishing houses. I have to say that a certain amount of it is talent but much, much more if it is hard work and there's this luck factor as well...

I never questioned my ability to write. What I did was question my ability - and in fact my desire - to come up with an idea that publishers would find marketable enough to invest money in.'

Joanne Harris, author of Chocolat and The Lollipop Shoes, 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:

'A thousand passionately consumed book cults'

13 August 2007

'New media are transforming the relationship between writer and reader, fastest among the youngest, for whom click-of-mouse is a natural alternative to word-of-mouth. This new generation is so accustomed to being manipulated by entertainment executives that it already prefers the purity of a cult interest, shared with a small group of friends and untainted by hype. It's a deliciously ironic that just as the bean-counters in global entertainment groups were celebrating what they thought was global domination, the mass audience is turning into fairy dust and slipping through their fingers.

There has never been another band like the Beatles and there will probably never be another Harry Potter. Books will still become worldwide blockbuster hits but they won't need a publisher's blessing to find their first readers. While we're waiting for those hits to move up the chain of interest, we can enjoy a thousand passionately consumed book cults - unpredictable, unbankable, artist-led and the worst nightmare of the risk-phobic, sequel-crazy, celebrity-obsessed multinationals that dominate world publishing.'

Celia Brayfield in The Times

"Best selling"... as a warning

6 August 2007

'Today's famous writers are not the enigmatic Nabokov or the mysterious Kafka but Dan Brown and J K Rowling. Their pictures are on the jacket, their life histories known by all. Their function is to make money for their publishers. And this is bad for "serious" writers, who have something more complex to say, and also for those publishers who play safe and will publish only if a profit is assured. "Best selling" should not be an accolade so much as a warning.

Today the danger for writers who continue to aspire to "good" in the old sense is that they won't get published at all, or it will be with miserable print runs. The synopses they must have approved before they begin a commissioned book will please marketing rather than the editorial department.'

Fay Weldon in The Times