I’ve got a story to tell you this morning, about a novel that was treated so badly I gave up hope for it and now low and behold it has been rescued by my lovely new publishers Endeavour Press. Are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin.
This story began at the turn of our new century, when my fortunes were at a low ebb and I felt that my only hope was that I would be published by one of the library publishers and that the book would find it’s way into the libraries and be taken up and hopefully enjoyed by all my library readers. There were lots of libraries in those days and I had a large fan base there.
The publisher, who had his eye to the main chance, asked if he could divide the book into two volumes to which I agreed because it really didn’t matter to me if it was one volume or two, as long as my readers could find it.
So two volumes it was and these were the covers. So far so good. Not spectacular in the way my earlier publications had been but available for my library fans who got back to me fairly quickly to say they’d enjoyed it. I sent a note to my new agent who was a lovely helpful man and thanked him for the work he’d done to place it.
Then, very much out of the blue, the novel’s fortunes took a sudden turn for the worse. My publisher wrote to tell me that he had got a wonderful paperback deal for me. Apparently a gentleman called Mr Fisher wanted to print sixty thousand copies and sell them in his various outlets. It sounded too good to be true. And of course, it was.
It didn’t take me very long or much effort to discover the real truth of what was going on. Yes Mr Fisher did want to publish sixty thousand copies but he was going to sell them in very cheap, downmarket outlets – certainly none of the big booksellers were going to take him nor the supermarkets – and what was even worse was that he proposed to sell them for about four or five pounds each, to pay my publisher 40 pence per copy and, out of the kindness of his heart, to give me tuppence a copy. I wrote to my publisher at once to say that this was an appalling deal, I that I didn’t agree with it and didn’t want it to proceed. To my horror he wrote back to say that he and Mr Fisher had signed a contract and the deed and the deal were done.
To cut a long and miserable story short it took months of arguments, letters and telephone calls from me and my agent who was very very supportive before the publisher finally told us that the deal was off and these pirated copies were not going to be published. I breathed a sigh of relief. But it was very silly of me. Several years later I found a second hand copy of the pirate version in a second hand bookshop. It had been published, I hadn’t been told and surprise, surprise, I hadn’t received even a penny piece from the deal leave alone tuppence.
But now, hooray, hooray, hooray! Endeavour are planning to bring it out with a lovely new cover as a proper ebook where my non library fans can find it. When it’s up I will put up another blog to tell you more about it. At the moment I’m just waving a cheerful flag.