An Open Letter To The Publisher


Dear Harper Collins,

I see that you are to pay Amanda Knox £4 million for her memoirs. Apparently she hired a top lawyer used by Barack Obama and George W. Bush to negotiate a book deal about being jailed in Italy for her part in the murder of Meredith Kercher, a British student.

I see that she will reveal ‘never before told details surrounding her case, and describe how she used her inner strength and strong family ties to cope with the most challenging time of her young life.’

I am a jobbing writer who gets paid an often staggeringly low sum for each of my books. If I am found innocent of murdering someone, will you give me a book deal?

Okay, so the prosecution says Miss Kercher was killed in a brutal sex game which went wrong, and Italy’s highest court is appealing over the acquittal. Luckily, Ms Knox won’t be extradited back to Italy from the US so it’s a win-win for you. And as Ms Knox has professed a desire to become a writer, perhaps you can nurture her career with future horrific scandals.

I can offer you other incentives to hire me. For a start, I’m an actual writer so the book won’t need to be dictated and rewritten. Also, I will make sure the details are really gruesome and involve far weirder sex-and-drugs stuff than Amanda’s tale. And I’ll commit the murder in a place where the police are famously corrupt, like Los Angeles.

Furthermore I can cry on cue, thank Jesus and find strength in my family at a moment’s notice. I know there are downsides. I can’t guarantee anyone will call me ‘Foxy’, and I realise that the OJ Simpson book ‘If I Did It’ published by Gibson Square, wasn’t very well received by grumps who felt it was in some way ‘immoral’ to make money from an acquitted but still suspect murderer.

I hope Ms Knox’s book will cover the delightful moment when she did a cartwheel in the police station just after the murder, and the bit where she was caught on television kissing her fellow suspect passionately. I hear he’s also preparing to sell a book about the crime in Italy. Perhaps you could sell them both as a BOGOF.

Anyway, hats off to you for working with Ms Knox’s powerful representatives to create such a unique sales product. I’m looking forward to a book that tells a gripping partial story from a murder case’s key suspect. After all, it’s not as if 21 year-old Meredith Kercher can write one back, is it, having been stabbed so many times and had her throat slit?

Your domestic sales should be good, as I hear Ms Knox is viewed in her own country an innocent victim of a messy Italian judicial system. Unfortunately, over here it is generally assumed that she got away with murder, so you may have to do radio spots as well as posters.

Meanwhile my offer still stands. If we agree the details up-front I can start making immediate arrangements to be involved in a tragic but oddly gripping crime. I’ll visit Ann Summers and B&Q for everything I’ll need today if you like.

The main thing is not to doubt yourselves. Don’t think for a minute that this will make you appear to the rest of the world as a prime example of the moral disease gripping corporate culture.

I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Yours sincerely,
Christopher Fowler

30 comments on “An Open Letter To The Publisher”

  1. Cid says:

    And when Whitney Houston sank, Sony doubled the price of her greatest hits album. Mmmmmmmmmm, capitalism.

  2. FabienneT says:

    How weird, you’ve summed up exactly what I thought this morning when I read the news.
    Harper Collins should be ashamed of themselves. It’s absolutely sickening, but not surprising, unfortunately. Now, careful, you might get sued if her lawyers are so powerful!

  3. It’s almost as if HC is owned by a monolithic beast of dubious character, with a track record of doing anything it takes – no matter how ethically questionable or, indeed, illegal – to make a quick buck. Oh wait . . .

  4. Kompani101 says:

    I watched the retrial and read all the various reports. Whilst her families $$$’s bought her the best defence lawyers etc., there is still much to disclose regarding the cold blooded murder of Meredith Kercher. This book is to serve three purposes (a) pay the legal fees off (b) improve Ms Knox reputation (c) enable her to have a life of leisure. As for ‘the truth’ I’m sure that will be noticeable by its absence. Harper Collins be ashamed.

  5. Robert Canile says:

    Wonderful. That money could nurture a hundred real writers.

  6. David A McIntee says:

    If you want a co-writer, I’ll make the B&Q trip…

    At least in the case of OJ’s book, the victims’ families brought a case giving them any profits from it – which is why Rupert Murdoch then dropped it and it came out years late from a smaller publisher nobody had heard of… It strikes me that the Kerchers should aim for that here.

  7. Gillian says:

    Well said. I really can’t add any more frankly…..

  8. Gillian says:

    Well said. I really can’t add any more frankly…..

  9. Jay Russell says:

    Brilliant, Chris! Hard to believe HC is a Murdoch operation, huh?

  10. George says:

    I wish I could say what I want, but being a free speech country, I can’t. Succinctly put Mr. Fowler but it wont make any differecne to those making a fortune out of this, it’s called greed, not capitalism.

  11. Ryan says:

    Who knows, maybe enough people will see this to make a change…

  12. Dan Terrell says:

    Not all Americans believe she’s the innocent victim, although I’d buy in to the possibility that the Italian judicial system has many messy stretches. Our judicial system certainly does. I have read the publisher was a bit undecided about publishing her book, but went for it anyway. (This may simply be a legal/PR strategy: be upfront initially to cover thy hind most.) Readers do love sordid crimes, always seem to have. Anyone remember Penguin’s excellent Famous British Trials series?

  13. Sam says:

    Publishers have always profited from real life murder, but it’s the peoples’ choice to buy and devour. It’s also Stephen Fry, Jonathan Franzen, the Ballard Estate and Bill Oddie’s choice to continue to get paid by the same publisher. People may be cattle, but if the cash cows left the Harper Collins stable then it would be a different story.

  14. David says:

    Headline: “Murder Most Fowler”. That would definitely sell.

  15. Steve says:

    True, not all Americans think she’s an innocent victim. I, for one, am convinced – as is the rest of the civilized world – that she’s guilty and indeed, much like OJ, got away with murder. The minute the news broke that her conviction had been overturned, I said to my wife “She’s set for life. The book deal followed by the movie will see to that”.
    LOVE the “Murder most Fowler”!

  16. John says:

    I live in Ms. Knox’ country and I’ve never for a minute thought she was “an innocent victim of a messy Italian judicial system.” She’s a bleeding murderess and yet another example of the f***d up sociopaths that are part of the “texting generation.”

  17. Dan Terrell says:

    I think you have the title of a new collection, Admin. Go for it, even if you must write a couple of whodunits or, perhaps, whatdunits. Murder most Fowler!, go for it, soon.

  18. James Peterson says:

    The difference is that Harper Collins believe there is a market for this tawdry crap. If they’re paying her £4m then there obviously is. The audience for your tawdry crap is significantly less I imagine…

  19. Helen Martin says:

    Indeed, Dan & David, how could one resist a title like that. I have just noted a recommended title “The Murder of the Century: the Gilded Age Crime that Scandalized a City and Sparked the Tabloid Wars” by Paul Collins. That murder was in 1897 in New York so wanting to read it now can be put down to interest in history or journalism or the rather interesting use of newspaper files but it’s still interest in a gruesome case. I do intend to read it, though.

  20. Gretta says:

    I’m putting another vote in for ‘Murder Most Fowler’. Brilliant.

  21. Kathers says:

    What a great way to put this. Can’t really put into words how disgusted I was to read about the Harper Collins deal – I think I now view them as catering to the lowest common denominator in our society. Really very poor judgement.

  22. Taking this to the next logical level, I suggest that unpublished writers out there appeal directly to Harper Collins, asking politely that their “work” be published and making it clear that if HC declines they will kill someone, so that HC will then be begging to negotiate a lucrative deal. The would-be writer must also make it clear that he or she knows what’s going on out there in the real world, by indicating that nothing less than 4 million dollars will do, 50% payable up front and the balance upon delivery.

    Brilliant letter, Christopher Fowler. I hope it actually gets delivered to the folks at Harper Collins and hope you don’t mind that I shared it on my blog, with a link to your blog.

    Echoing the sentiments expressed by other Americans leaving comments here, I would like it to be clear that some of us here in the USA have not swallowed the PR-concocted koolaid. Indeed, many of us here in Seattle have resisted the pressure to join the hometown cheerleading squad for Brandamanda.

  23. philip j. mause says:

    You have to spend 4 years in an Italian prison for a crime you did not commit in order to be eligible. Why don’t you go over there, check yourself in, and write another letter 4 years from now.

  24. Joe Bloggs says:

    Hi. I’ve just heard that an anti-Knox hate-site has gleefully forwarded your open letter directly to Harper Collins.

    It seems they’ve overlooked the fact that Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito have been exonerated and were found innocent by a court of law, pending an automatic review of case procedure by the supreme court.

    As such, in using phrases such “for her part in the murder of Meredith Kercher,” you’re committing a serious libel.

    As you know, UK courts just love libel, and take on cases from all parts of the world, including Seattle.

    As for Harper Collins reaction, what can I say but…have fun with their lawyers?

  25. Do you truly believe that a person who is wrongfully convicted of a crime should pay all legal expenses on their own and also remain silent in order to respect the initial victim of the crime? If this is your position, then it lacks all common sense. Knox was not found “not guilty,” she was declared “innocent” by an Italian court. She lost 1427 days of her life and is now left with a great deal of debt due to her legal expenses. Who should pay those bills? Why do you wish to silence a victim? Knox’s book will not be written about Meredith Kercher, it will be written to detail her own ordeal. Knox is a victim. Many say that if it wasn’t for Meredith’s murder, then Knox would not have a book to write. Well, no kidding! If Meredith were still alive, Knox would also have not become a victim herself, and would not be overwhelmed with debt due to her wrongful conviction. The argument is ridiculous. Stating that Knox is cashing in is false. The book deal will hopefully leave her breaking even after taxes, agent fees, and legal expenses.

  26. Tiziano says:

    What a disgusting dirty deal!

    I hope that the book is a complete damp squib, and that Harper Collins are punished with dismal sales!
    If Knox writes this book she’ll need more than a ghost writer, as she has the literacy skills of a retarded 6 year-old.

  27. Saint Expedite says:

    “I am a jobbing writer who gets paid an often staggeringly low sum for each of my books.”

    There’s a reason for that, Christopher. You need to get over your Knox Derangement Syndrome.

  28. Pat Bateman says:

    Not sure where you get the idea that you have the right to publish libel about innocent people Christopher.

    Do you have aby idea who Knox’s lawyers are?

    Here’s one of them:

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