I have been startled to see an unwarranted attack on the Society of Authors on the Bookseller website by Gregor Dallas, an historian who is standing for election to the Society's Management Committee.
I have also had my name put forward for the Committee, but I would have felt defensive of the Society even if that were not the case, since I have always found them to be unwaveringly supportive of their members.
Mr. Dallas's complaint is that the Society does not stand up to the big publishers and try to influence the books that they choose to publish. The thought of an organisation with such a vested interest actually having the power to influence the books that people get to read is positively Orwellian.
Authors as a breed do tend to live a little outside the bustle of mainstream life and we are not always the best judges of what sort of stories the vast majority of people want to read, hear or watch. It is always good to listen to the paying customers. When Shakespeare sensed that the groundlings were growing restless he was always very quick to adapt whatever work he was presenting to them. The big publishers spend their lives trying to divine the tastes of today's groundlings.
There are an infinite number of ways of bringing books before interested and relevant readers that do not involve the "Big Six" publishers or supermarkets or even W.H. Smith.
Long may the Society of Authors continue its good work in helping its members to survive in the jungle of modern publishing.