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Wednesday, 18 July 2012

I felt an outburst coming on - so if you weary of the wrath of put-upon authors, do skip to paragraph 5 or 6.

The new Mike Pannett book comes out, officially, tomorrow - and that's always a tense moment. How will it do? Pre-orders are good. We see that we are well up the amazon ratings in Police, True Crime, etc etc. and have been high up the Hot New Release chart. We hear too that we are the fourth or fifth fastest-selling new release in the Hachette empire just now. I use the word 'empire' lightly, but Hachette do own Hodder and.... well, read on:

Headline Publishing Group, Hodder & Stoughton, John Murray, Orion Publishing Group, Octopus Publishing Group, Little, Brown Book Group and Hodder Education Group... plus of course all the French and other iternational firms under their broad umbrella.

So, we ain't doing badly. And... Mike and I had a decent publishing deal for these last two books, by which I mean that I have been able to live on the incomes for a couple of years. Nevertheless I feel aggrieved. I still ponder the cover-price of a book - any book - and the fact that the author gets 10% (more often 7.5%) of it; that he or she pays an agent 15% of that sum, and then a further 20% VAT on that. In my case, as ghost- or co-writer, reduce all of the above by 50% - and then imagine how you'd feel to receive, the day before publication, an email informing you that there are certain 'legal costs' to be met, because the publisher hired a bunch of vicious, amoral, flesh-eating gastropods - whoops, my hand slipped: I meant lawyers - to check that we hadn't defamed anybody.

I can't wait to hear how much said parasites are claiming.

On a brighter note, I can reveal that The Red House On The Niobrara will very soon be available via Apple on the iPad. The delays here have been far greater than we expected, largely - no, entirely - because Apple will not do business with anybody other than through a U.S. bank account. So why did I close my account in Chadron, Nebraska, upon returning to the UK last October? Simply because, having kept a Florida account open after spending five months there in 2004, I somehow let it get overdrawn by some 50 CENTS. It cost me 50 DOLLARS to get Bank of America to shut it down, stop the threatening letters, and get out of my face.

So... back in April I tried to open a new account in Nebraska. It has finally kicked in this last week after a series of letters, emails, and phone calls, - and the loss of at least one debit card in the mail. The other should be with me in 'ten to fourteen working days'. Maybe then I can draw on the $100 that I had to deposit to open said account (at a cost to me, thanks to bank charges on both sides of the Atlantic, of  £81.03.)

I clear my throat, shift in my seat, and offer... a further brighter note. (This is starting to sound like the weather forecasts we have had the last few days announcing that the jet stream has developed a kink and will re-settle in its more usual July position shortly - thus giving us some more normal July weather)... yes, another ray of hope: Toad's Road-Kill Cafe should also be out there very soon. I hope to have news of that by some time next week.

The sun is out, and the air feels warm. The temperature - don't laugh now - is a balmy 20 C (68 F). Old ladies are already mopping their brows and heading for the shade of their back kitchens to brew a refreshing cup of tea.

Toodle-pip!