Sunday, 11 January 2009

Salutary Thoughts

I knew, from the beginning, that I was on to a good thing with Macmillan New Writing. Not, you understand, because I have a vast and varied experience of publishers and how they do what they do but because, sometimes, you can just feel that people are rooting for you, rather than just in it for the money; that they are people of integrity.

And then, earlier in the week I read this by literary agent Simon Trewin of United Agents. Read it and weep. It’s not a pretty picture. And it made me even more convinced that I’m in safe hands at MNW.

6 comments:

Juxtabook said...

An interesting link if a grim tale. Selling secondhand books obviously I have rather a long view of the book trade, but I often think how brave modern authors are compared with the past. There is so much 'noise' out there: other media, few independent bookshops, the powerful few critics, Richard and Judys, 3 for 2 tables etc.

It does make you wonder if the Brontes ever would have been published now, especially Charlotte after trying The Professor as her first effort.

Suzanne said...

Oh, my. What a horror story.

Tim Stretton said...

Sobering stuff.

On the positive side, at least it keeps us writing for the right reasons. Anyone without an established reputation who writes a novel for money is not so much mercenary as stupid...

The way the industry is structured makes it very difficult for someone who wants to write as a profession rather than a hobby.

Alis said...

Hi Juxtabook - Yes, I think things are getting more difficult for writers all the time. Ten years ago when I approached an agent about an early version of Testament he told me that, ten years previously, a book like that would be 'flying off the shelves' but that now there was no market for it. I don't suppose he'd even see me now...
Hi Suzanne - thanks for dropping in. It is a horror story, isn't it. And all the worse for being the absolute truth.

Hi Tim - 'not so much mercenary as stupid' - quite!

David Isaak said...

"Anyone without an established reputation who writes a novel for money is not so much mercenary as stupid..."

Expect to see me quote that line some day, Tim. Maybe several some days. (I'll try to remember to attribute it.)

Neil said...

Maybe I'm callous, but that last paragraph made me smile.