Written Off by Paul Carroll

Review published on May 2, 2016.

Doesn’t everyone have a book in them? But how many win the hard won battle of getting a book into print via a publisher? In this very clever and highly readable page turner, Paul Carroll helps us enter the world of the aspiring author, the established author, the agent, the publisher and the conference owner.

Hinging around The Write Stuff conference, we meet all the protagonists, who, as their worlds cross and collide at the conference, each have their own agenda, from wanting to be the next best thing, to finding the next best thing, to just making more money.

This is, in some ways, both very funny and serious all at the same time. Paul Carroll casts his cynical eye over the publishing world and shows us, through each of the characters’ stories why they’re coming to the conference and what their hopes and fears are. But what we really get through each character is what is happening right now in the book industry. And it isn’t a pretty picture.

I really liked this book a lot and thought it was very clever in the way it sets out to reveal a whole industry through each layer of the book writing food chain. I found it entertaining and very easy to read, but also quite thought-provoking and seeing how things work (or don’t) from all sides of publishing was fascinating. There are also some nuggets in there for the aspiring writer and I would go so far as to say that those who are about to embark on, or are in the process of writing a book, should read this first. It’s quite enlightening.

A very good read, with lots of great discussion points for book groups.

Vee Freir
Personal 5
Group 5

Written Off by Paul Carroll
Matador pbk Jan 2016

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