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

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The Independent Culture
CHRIS MULLIN'S 'The low road to pulped fiction' (2 October) struck a depressingly familiar note. I have been writing historical novels (not contenders for the Booker Prize, but not on the level of Barbara Cartland either) for over 10 years, and have acquired a respectable following. However, I have just been informed by my paperback publisher that the company will not reprint my books - even though my local bookseller is getting two or three requests a week for my most popular quartet of novels. He is very annoyed at the publisher's decision, but not half as annoyed as I am]

Like Chris Mullin, I feel strongly that my books would sell extremely well if only they could be marketed more enthusiastically. But alas, the Jeffrey Archers and Joanna Trollopes, who emphatically don't need it, get the lion's share of the publicity budgets, and the rest of us have to sink or swim on the publisher's whim. My public lending rights receipts are so good that I know there is a market out there - if only the books were on the shelves.

The collapse of the Net Book Agreement will not only endanger small local bookshops but will also mean that publishing in this country will become even more polarised, with the snob literati at one end and junk fiction at the other. Vast numbers of men and women enjoy good 'middlebrow' books: thrillers, historical novels, detective stories, sci-fi, 'aga-sagas' and all the other genre categories that publishers and distributors tend to ignore and which reviewers treat with contemptuous disdain because they are (what a sin]) 'readable'.

Chippenham, Wiltshire

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