The Best Novels set in the Publishing Industry

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The publishing industry is one of the most mystifying of all and there is scant information about the inner workings and tricks of the trade. While there are many books on how to write a best seller or on the art of writing, the realities of how books make it to market are much more opaque and often demoralisingly down to who you know. These mostly overlooked novels and memoirs, provide delicious glimpses into the neverland of the publishing world over the years.

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    Bestseller
    by Alessandro Gallenzi

    Jim Talbot, a writer with a dozen unpublished novels under his belt, has been roundly rejected by virtually every agent and publisher in the land, and is willing to go to extreme lengths to make his dream of literary stardom come true. Charles Randall, the eccentric founder and managing director of Tetragon Press, a small independent publisher that has managed to survive for thirty years in a fierce publishing environment dominated by corporate juggernauts, is about to be brutally sacked by a newly appointed business consultant. In the cut-throat world of modern publishing, Charles and Jim's paths towards literary salvation are fraught with the most unpredictable dangers. 'Gallenzi... slips in sound insider's judgements on how this business works. Read it for the lowdown on the low trade' --Boyd Tonkin, The Independent

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    The Censor
    by John Gardner

    It is the late 1960s and David Askelon, an American writer, has written a best-seller - a book that is popular for its graphic and violent sexual scenes. And now an English publisher has paid a great deal to publish in the UK. But they have decided they want to heavily censor the book. Looking of the list of changes, Askelon puts his foot down. The whole point of his novel was to portray the world realistically, in all its gritty, sordid and disturbing glory. So he decides to head to London to put his point across in person. He manages to persuade the publishers that the book needs to stay as it is, but how will the ‘powers that be’ react? Could he - or his publishers - face a fine, or even prosecution? As the publication date looms ever nearer he finds himself caught up in a whirlwind of publicity - not all of it good…How will the English public react to the novel? Will it receive critical acclaim - or should he have listened to The Censor?

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    Bentinck's Agent (Kindle Single)
    by John Lawton

    Jack Turner is a draft-dodger. Anxious not to be sent to fight in Viet Nam, he has ended up in London instead. By the mid 1980s he is single, approaching middle age, with only failed careers and failed relationships behind him. Then, much to his surprise, he is headhunted by a literary agency. His first client is Roger Bentinck – a man purporting to be a retired MI6 agent, who wants to write a memoir … a memoir Her Majesty's Government would much rather he didn't write. Bentinck is an odd combination, part slob, part aesthete, part rebel, part patriot … a combination that makes him both attractive and repellent. But Jack is a literary agent and he has no clients. He has one task ... agent to agent, he has to get the book out of Bentinck, whatever the cost…

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    The Publisher
    by Alexander Fullerton

    When James Lisle takes a job with the publishers who drove his father to suicide, he vows to avenge his parent's death at whatever cost. James's father, Stuart Lisle was a gentlemanly bibliophile out of his depth in his dealings with Everard and Cabot, the highbinders who finally drove him to the wall. Well, young James isn't the pushover dad was. At executive‐suite‐type slugging, he's a heavyweight—plus he's got an excellent nose for a good book. Notwithstanding its gee‐whiz dialogue, there's a lively story in “The Publisher.”

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    Unfinished Business
    by Conrad Williams

    Mike is a literary agent with high standards and a passion for great writing. He is equally discriminating in matters of the heart and ready to fall in love. But when his best client sacks him and his hopes of marriage are dashed, Mike begins to fall apart. Emotionally reeling, he seeks respite in the beautiful wilderness of the Black Mountains, only to discover that his old flame, Madelin, and her husband now live there too. Drawn into the midst of their marital crisis, his humiliation is perfected as the superfluous middle man. But when a top agent suggests a plot to restore his fortunes, Mike begins to come alive again. It looks like love and achievement might be his at last – if he is prepared to do the wrong thing, and do it ruthlessly.

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