Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Deborah Lawrenson sells again carries a press release from Arrow (a paperback imprint of UK Random House) to the effect that they have bought another novel by Deborah Lawrenson, who is described as a 'self-published success'.

Well, yes. She is. But as usual the press release is a little economical with the truth.

The truth was revealed here (not exclusively, I hasten to add) on 29 November 2004. The fact is that Deborah had a perfectly orthodox career, to begin with. She had three books published by Heinemann in the 1990s, but, when it came to the fourth, the publisher decided that 'the book would be difficult to market'. So they dumped her.

Whereupon Deborah published the book herself. (Deborah used, incidentally, the services of Matador; this, as I have remarked before, looks to me like one of the better such UK firms.)

The book's title was The Art of Falling, and it got some good reviews. So good, in fact, that it attracted the attention of Bloomsbury as well as Arrow, and she got offered a contract. Arrow then proceeded to sell 40,000 copies.

So this story is not quite the 'unknown hits big time' that is so beloved of those papers which ever publish anything about books. It's more a case of braindead publisher drops perfectly capable and competent author, who is forced to go her own way for a while until someone else wakes up to the fact that she has talent.

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