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'Authors work alone'

9 April 2012

'Oddly enough, despite the explosion of new formats and new media, the fundamental things apply. Vanity Fair confirms that the grammar of writing and publishing is unchanged. Authors work alone in their private space. Eventually, their work is ready to be seen by readers.

Despite Amazon and Google and the collapse of the big book chains, there remains in the book world a highly dedicated cadre of enthusiasts (book editors) who, in a difficult and possibly hostile climate, will do their damnedest to put good new prose in front of the public. This process, like horse racing, involves a mixture of luck and judgement and involves a high degree of risk, sustained by the publisher acting as the patron and banker. A lot of books fail. When one works, some people make a lot of money, and everyone is happy.'

Robert McCrum in the Observer