Common sense from Susan Hill


Susan Hill has efficiently dispatched a person who wrote a letter to the Times complaining about publishers’ advances. Susan’s post is, as usual with this author, well worth a read for its characteristic mix of common-sense, experience and upfront phraseology.

An additional point to Susan’s is that publishers who pay huge advances to celebrities recoup them before any copies of the book are sold, via serialisation rights to the large newspaper corporations.

5 thoughts on “Common sense from Susan Hill

  1. I disagree with your comments, Maxine, for reasons I have posted on Susan Hill’s blog and more.
    The facts of publishing remain.
    But I have seen nothing to date to lead me to believe that the author of the original letter the Times was trying to criticise from the position of knowledge and pomposity.
    Ignorance perhaps. But doesn’t that make it worthy of a few comments of education and enlightenment?
    He/she had a good point, but a misguided one, perhaps expressed in all innocence.

  2. Point taken, Crimeficreader, I was agreeing with Susan’s analysis of the facts of commercial publishing as currently practiced. It is true that the Times letter writer may have been writing out of ignorance rather than knowledge, and may or may not be pompous in either case. Why the Times would publish an ignorant letter, hence giving it spurious authority among readers themselves unaware (and who may not read any subsequent corrections), is another question.

  3. Maxine,
    I agree with you, Susan’s analysis was comprehensive and spot on.
    I’ve discovered a lot about the publishing industry this year thanks in part to blog posts and comments thereon, including yours and now you’ve higlighted something, again, that I’d never thought of before: that a newspaper might have a policy on what letters it publishes. I’d assumed in my ignorance that they picked the “best” of the crop!
    And publishing that letter with no context does exactly what you suggest. Always best to corroborate the evidence…

  4. You may well find that newspapers at this time of year don’t receive enough letters to uphold their policy. I know the publication I work on will print any old s**t at this time of year because we need to fill the space!

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