19 MAY 2001, Page 63

Q. I'm planning to publish my first book this October,

and a friend of mine has offered to give me a blurb for the dust-jacket. However, she's not well-known enough for this to be a worthwhile exercise. How can I tell her that I'm not interested without hurting her feelings?

Name and address withheld A. Sigh philosophically as you tell your friend that her offer inexplicably fell on stony ground at the publishing house, 'Unbelievable, isn't it?' you can shrug. 'But now that all of publishing is run by workexperience people rather than gentlemen, no one knows who anyone is any more.'