The proportion of Victorian novels in print today represents only a tiny fraction of what was published by this vast writing industry. Exact figures will never be known but we can estimate that around 50,000 works were produced by around 3,500 novelists during the Victorian era. But who wrote these novels and what inspired them to write? How were their novels published and how did they adapt their techniques to ensure the public's appetite for fiction was fed? Drawing on extensive research, John Sutherland builds up a fascinating picture of the cultural, social and commercial factors influencing the content and production of Victorian fiction. Collins, Dickens, Eliot, Thackeray and Trollope are discussed in tandem with writers also very popular with the reading public - Reade, Lytton and Mrs Humphry Ward - but whose fame has not endured. As John Sutherland demonstrates, author-publisher relations played a central role in determining the success of new novels, with some impressive achievements on both sides. Richly informative on the Victorian literary and cultural scene, this important study by one of our leading scholars is set to become essential reading for all those interested in the evolution of the Victorian novel.