Letter: Forget Jeffrey Archer, give publicity to writers who need it

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The Independent Culture
AS TO why 'Bookshops bemoan 'Mogadon' Booker' (2 October) look no further than Chris Mullin's article. The answer is junk publishing. Only a decade ago a publisher would take a risk on an exciting new writer and give a first book a chance in the hope that the third or fourth would show a return on the investment. This has been superseded by the corporate publisher commissioning celebrities to pen spurious memoirs (with a few honourable exceptions).

Alongside these publishers are corporate distributors and a new breed of agents intent on weeding out all manuscripts that do not fit a narrow band of genre writing. Should a manuscript make it past these obstacles, an editor smooths out all ideas that might disturb the formula passed down from above.

As with books, so with films, newspapers and magazines. Writers are mere small fish waiting to be swallowed up. Book buyers have one answer - support your local independent bookshop whose proprietor is invariably a book lover.

Mari Nicholson

Sandown, Isle of Wight