Monday, 1 June 2009
There was a fantastic interview in The Observer yesterday with Martina Cole, who is Britain's best selling adult fiction author. There is terrible snobbery in the publishing world and Martina told a great story about meeting a very famous lady of letters who commented.' With the type of books you write, you won't win too many literary awards.' To wit Ms Cole replied. 'The Booker wouldn't even keep me in cigarettes.' Which I thought was a blinding response. You see there are lots of Lit Eds who think there are only certain types of books that are worthy of review and it would seem they are the worthy, literary tomes that are dull, full of very long words, bits of French and touches of Russian, have little story, and try to give us an insight to the human condition. And guess what? The books don't sell, get acres of review coverage and everyone moans that the literary world is going to hell in a hand cart. There is nothing wrong in great stories. Martina Cole writes stories that sell. You might not like them but don't pretend she's an inferior writer. It reminded me of an incident when I was selling books in London. I was at an event at an agents house. You know the drill. Champers, canapes and other stuff too small to feed a grown man. I was standing holding a flute of bubbly when this women appeared, all silks and bangles. She looked like Madame Blavatsky about to lead a seance. 'And what do you do?' The agent said. 'I'm the London rep.' I replied. She looked slightly perturbed, raised her nose and said. 'You mean you're not creative.' Laugh, I nearly rammed her turban down her throat.