Tony Lacey, publishing director of Penguin Books, said the forthcoming publication would find it difficult to approach the success of Penguin's 2 million bestseller The F-Plan.
"A diet book simply won't sell in the long term unless it actually works," he said. "People are now quite wise about diet books and which ones are going to work for them. So any book that is on the market for a long time is really quite credible."
And Liz Earle, the author of The Bikini Diet, warned: "What may be right for ageing male politicians may not be right for everyone."
Diet experts at Slimming Magazine were more encouraging, however. Although they insisted that a famous name alone will no longer sell a diet book, they think Lord Lawson, who lost four stones in a year, has one advantage. "He looks so much healthier than before, it is really encouraging for people to see," a spokeswoman said.
The response came after Lord Lawson's publication plans were revealed, amid polite criticism of the current market. Michael Sissons, Lord Lawson's literary agent, had said many of the diets "did not work" and were "unpleasant".
Lord Lawson is drafting the book while on holiday in Greece.
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