McDermid: 'could not build writing career today'

McDermid: 'could not build writing career today'

Crime novelist Val McDermid has said she would not be able to build a career as a writer today, because publishers would not support her after low-selling early books.

Speaking at an event to mark the opening of the new Foyles flagship store yesterday (29th June), McDermid said publishers would not take a risk in the same way as they did when she was starting out. Quoted in the Telegraph, she said: "If I published my first three novels now, I wouldn't have a career because no-one would publish my fourth novel based on the sales of my first three."

The author of Dr Tony Hill crimes series, which was turned into BBC drama "Wire in the Blood", said when she was first published in 1987 "the world was a more forgiving place".

"Back in the day when I started you were still allowed to make mistakes," she said. "You got to make your mistakes in public, in a way. I think the world was a more forgiving place when I started my career, in the sense that we got time and space to develop as a writer.

"That is definitely something that wouldn't happen now. No-one will say, 'Write half a dozen novels and find yourself'."

She added: "If you don't make the best-seller list, if you don't get shortlisted for any prizes, it's goodbye."

McDermid recently wrote a reimagined version of Jane Austen's Northanger Abbey (The Borough Press) as part of its Austen Project series.