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"Best selling"... as a warning

6 August 2007

'Today's famous writers are not the enigmatic Nabokov or the mysterious Kafka but Dan Brown and J K Rowling. Their pictures are on the jacket, their life histories known by all. Their function is to make money for their publishers. And this is bad for "serious" writers, who have something more complex to say, and also for those publishers who play safe and will publish only if a profit is assured. "Best selling" should not be an accolade so much as a warning.

Today the danger for writers who continue to aspire to "good" in the old sense is that they won't get published at all, or it will be with miserable print runs. The synopses they must have approved before they begin a commissioned book will please marketing rather than the editorial department.'

Fay Weldon in The Times