The short articles on it were originally written for those who make their living from their pen, and appeared in The Author, the quarterly magazine published by writers’ own professional body, the Society of Authors.
They cover subjects not normally mentioned at creative writing classes or in meetings with a literary agent – for example, on writing and marriage, literary snobbery, attending the right parties, or surviving rejection.
In other words, they are about the realities of being a writer, rather than the fantasy.
Writing these columns, I wanted to cheer up people like me – those who live through the highs and lows, the kicks, humiliations and occasional little victories of the writing life.
The tone is not entirely serious but, behind the jokes, is some hard-won practical and emotional advice based on my experience as a bookseller (briefly), a publisher (for a little longer) and an author (for ever).