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'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