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Only a bestseller or a flop

5 June 2006

'Publishing a book in England felt generally more relaxed than America, in the way that Hay is more relaxed than Austin, and Vauxhall than Manhattan. People in England chatter more, and have more outlets in which to do so - Start the Week, newspaper columns, book programmes. Americans simply don't consider books (or culture generally) to be that newsworthy or debatable. And when they do, it is invariably because Oprah Winfrey is somehow involved. Therefore, America seems like a place where you can only write a bestseller or a flop - you're either on Oprah, or you're not. In England, however, it looks easier to be acceptably successful on the back of a review in the Observer simply because so many people read the same paper, and subsequently everyone chats about the same things. In America, there is only one national paper, USA Today, which has roughly the cultural capital of the Daily Mail.'

American author Wesley Stace in Publishing News