Saturday, October 18, 2008

The Royalty Statement

Great excitement this morning - a card from the post office to tell me to come down to the post office since there is a letter requiring excess postage for customs. I get down there only to find it is a large stiffly lined envelope from my former, former literary agent to which he has afixed the wrong valued stamp (easily done, I guess).

As I look at the once-familiar writing in green ink I wonder what could be so important that it is packaged in such an elaborate way - the answer is a 'royalty' statement from one of my publishers - and it appears that I owe them even more money now than I did at the beginning of the year.

It's a strange business, this publishing of books. In the same week that I get this I also found myself commiserating with a university lecturer that they could not make my book a set text for one of their more popular courses because it is out of print, and I discovered that someone else had liked this same book enough to call it an 'undiscovered gem' on LibraryThing...and then gone on to express incredulity that so few people seemed to have encountered it.

Thank you Booksloth, whoever you are - you are very kind, and your comments have cheered me enormously.


Blogger Debra Hamel said...

How did you wind up owing your publisher money?

Sat Oct 18, 02:44:00 pm  
Blogger Clare Dudman said...

By not earning back the advance - it is very common in literary fiction, apparently - it irked me...and it felt so great when the Dutch version actually earned out the advance. I was so delighted.

Sat Oct 18, 06:28:00 pm  
Blogger Tania Hershman said...

Urgh, not a pleasant situation, and one we were warned against when I did my MA in Creative Writing - the dangers of large advances, or any advances at all. It shouldn't be like this - great that there are enough sane and appreciative readers out there to recognised your book as a gem. The publishing industry seems to be a strange animal, it really does.

Sat Oct 18, 08:11:00 pm  
Blogger Clare Dudman said...

I wish I'd done your MA, Tania, I was so green. I didn't know anyone at all to give me advice either.

Sat Oct 18, 08:36:00 pm  
Blogger Kay said...

A fantastic writer such as yourself should not have to contend with these petty red tape thingys - urrrgh! I am waiting for you to be discovered by a much wider reading audience (as you deserve to be.)

Sun Oct 19, 08:26:00 am  
Blogger Clare Dudman said...

You are VERY kind, Kay!

I guess I should just not look and ram them in the drawer with the rest, and forget them.

Sun Oct 19, 06:42:00 pm  
Blogger jem said...

Sorry to hear about your troubles Clare. The industry pitfalls do a good job of putting off new writers from trying to get published! What's out of print? I havent read your cold one yet and I want to! heads off to Amazon!

Mon Oct 20, 03:57:00 pm  

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