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Newsletter

What authors say

Philip Pullman (from the speech on Adriano Salani Editore publishing house)

‘Consider what publishers have to do. First of all they have to know how to tell a good book from a bad one. I spent three years studying literature at Oxford University and at the end of it I still couldn’t tell a good book from a bad one, but publishers have to do it every day.

Then, when they find a good book, they have to tempt the author to let them publish it. Most authors, in my experience, are quite easily tempted. Some will sell their soul for a good lunch. I have sold my soul several times. But it’s not an easy business, having lunch with an author, because the only thing authors want to talk about is themselves, and yet the publisher has to continue to look interested all the way through to coffee. (…)

The next thing publishers have to do is offer advice about improving the books they are going to publish. Now there is no author in the world who thinks that any improvement in their work is possible. They know that each book they write brings the art of literature to such a peak that other writers will gnash their teeth in despair, and the Nobel Prize Committee will decide that there’s no need to discuss anyone else. Publishers have to agree with all this, of course, but cleverly they manage to suggest that if a few tiny alterations were made in the text, the gods themselves would gasp in wonder. The author is persuaded by this argument, the alterations are made, the book is published – but still the world goes on unchanged. There are no reviews except a very short notice in a provincial newspaper which spells the author’s name wrongly. The Nobel Prize again goes to some nonentity. From the gods there is nothing but silence.

And the truth is that the publisher is as dismayed by this response as the author. That is proof that, despite what some bitter and miserable authors say, publishers do have souls. They are capable of sympathy, capable of suffering with their authors. We are on the same side.

Digital publishing and the internet are going to change everything – perhaps. (…)This revolution is so radical in all its implications that I daresay it’ll take us another five hundred years to understand what’s happened to us.

And yet at the bottom of it all is a simple relationship between three entities. There is the book, there is the reader, and there is the publisher. What the publisher does is to introduce one to the other.

Maybe once a year authors ought to raise a glass to publishers and thank them for the task they carry out, a humane task, a great and valuable task, a task that keeps us all civilised.

And maybe once every hundred and fifty years a publisher who has been working for that long, who has brought so many books to so many readers, who has survived the twentieth century with all its dangers and difficulties, deserves a great celebration.’

Quotes

PENGUIN

Jamie Oliver, Cook with Jamie
‘There’s a whole team of people at Penguin who work incredibly hard year in, year out, to make my books amazing, and they’ve done it again this time.’

Jonathan Coe
´"Basically, they [the publishers] publish the book! This idea that authors can self-publish seems kind of a non- sense to me (…). Authors who upload their work on platforms like Amazon or Google or whatever, I understands the appeal of that (…) but that’s not publishing, that’s just uploading, anybody can do that. "

*****

LITTLE, BROWN

Polly Williams, The Rise and Fall of a Yummy Mummy
‘A huge heartfelt thank you to everyone who helped get this book from my head to the shelves, especially . . . my editor Jo Dickinson and the great team at Time Warner’

Tom Holland, Persian Fire
‘I have been wanting to write a book on the Persian Wars since I was very young, and I owe an immense debt of gratitude to all those who have given me the opportunity to devote three years of my life to its study. To Patrick Walsh, best of friends and agents. To my editors, Richard Beswick and Steve Guise.’

*****

MACMILLAN

Bryan Greetham, Philosophy
‘I must thank my editor and friend, Suzannah Burywood, who patiently let me get on with my work, although there were many months of silence from my end. Her gentle handling and patient treatment of me is a testimony to her skills and professionalism.’

John McCormick, The European Superpower
‘My publisher Steven Kennedy brought his usual professionalism to the project and continued to show why he has become such a legend in the transatlantic publishing business. I appreciate his support for the project, and the conversations that we had at several lunches and dinners while the book was under development.’

Paul M Heywood, Erik Jones, Martin Rhodes, Ulrich Sedelmeier, Developments in European Politics
‘All four editors owe an enormous debt of gratitude to Steven Kennedy, at Palgrave Macmillan, who has been closely involved and constructively critical through every stage of the project.’

Colin Hay, Michael Lister, David Marsh, The State: Theories and Issues
No project such as this is possible without the dedicated support of one’s publisher… we have been exceptionally fortunate… We would like to thank Steven Kennedy, our exemplary, dedicated and seemingly tireless publisher. At times he has served almost as a fourth editor and there is no chapter that has not benefited from his considerable analytical insight and his editorial acumen.”

Ray Kiely, The New Political Economy of Development: Globalization, Imperialism, Hegemony
“Thanks at Palgrave Macmillan to Steven Kennedy, first for periodically asking me to undertake a project for which I was initially less than enthusiastic, but that I actually enjoyed doing more than any of my previous books, and secondly, for his useful comments throughout.”

*****

HODDER HEADLINE LIMITED

John Humphrys, Beyond words
‘Luigi Bonomi has done what all literary agents must do : offered praise when it’s not justified. Rowena Webb, my editor, can indicate disapproval with the merest pause or drawn-out ‘yee…ss’. Also essential. And Hazel Orme has saved me from myself more often than I care to remember’

Midge Gillies, Waiting for Hitler
‘Rowena Webb, my editor at Hodder& Stoughton, was everything an author could ask for: a steady source of inspiration and a steady hand from start to finish’

Joanne Lees, No turning back
‘I made the right choice. Thank you for believing in my book and me. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to make this all possible. And for making me feel very welcome.’

Cynthia Lennon, John
‘To everyone at Hodder& Stoughton, especially Rowena Webb, Briar Silich and Kerry Hood, for guiding me so smoothly, with humour and generosity through what could have been a rocky passage.’

Monty Don, Growing out of trouble
‘Rupert Lancaster at Hodder has been the most flexible and supportive editor imaginable. This book has broken every publishing rule and its physical existence is a tribute to him’

Jasvinder Sanghera, Shame
‘Many thanks for all your support at Hodder. I’m overwhelmed at the response I have received.’

Jodi Picoult, My sister’s keeper
‘Hodder is the gold standard in book publishing. Their commitment to their authors, their business acumen, and their ability to get a good book out to the masses and start word buzzing sets them so far above the pack that they are the example I continually hold up to my other publishers worldwilde: why can’t YOU be more like that? Quite simply: why would anyone want to publish anywhere else?’

Andrew Flintoff
‘ I was astonished to be writing a book, but it was made easy by my co-author and everyone at Hodder. They turned round my book superfast and were great to work with.’

David Mitchell, Cloud Atlas
‘ To date, Hodder have published all four of my novels with flair, imagination and attention to detail. Some staff have come and gone, as staff do, but levels of friendliness and professionalism have stayed constant. It is chance that brings you to your first publisher, but not chance that persuades you to stay.’

Jasper Fforder, The big over easy
‘From the management, trust. From the editor, faith. From PR, imagination. From marketing, ideas. From sales, enthusiasm. I get all this from Hodder and more besides. Total support.’

Andrew Miller, Oxygen
‘My editor, Carole Welch, who made this a better book than it could possibly have been without her.’

Peter Ho Davies, the Welsh girl
‘My editors, Janet Silver at Houghton Mifflin and Carole Welch at Sceptre, have been great champions of this work, and their colleagues at the respective companies have made those publishing houses real homes for the book.’

ACTES SUD

Jérôme Ferrari
"The point is simple. Whatever is the number of books that you sell, you can be published. The trust, for me, is knowing I don’t have to worry about the commercial power of what I am doing."

*****

POL

Marie Darrieusecq

"I need my publisher- he is the one who chooses me."