Thursday, July 16, 2020

Grubby Commerce Division - by Catriona

Business: Lately, some authors on social media are saying that it’s time authors shared details about their book contracts and income to break open the financial secrecy inherent in this business. Do you agree or disagree with this idea?

Nope. I'm guessing this idea originated in the US - or at least not in the UK. Maybe it's less exposing and threatening for American people. For me, it feels like streaking.

In contrast, actual bodily nakedness . . . I'm much more easy about it than my new country-mates in general. Although there is that guy in San Francisco who wears nothing but a little piece of tin foil to keep the sun off his tenderest area. 

Is there more secrecy in publishing than in other businesses? I wouldn't know, because this is the only business I've ever been a part of. In a public library and a university your salary is agreed by the union and your place on the pay scale is public knowledge. 

When I worked in a bank (technically a business, I suppose) it was even more public: your colleagues didn't just know what you earned, they knew you'd spent twenty quid in Top Shop on Saturday and written a cheque for Bowie tickets. (It was the 80s.) 

Right now, as it happens, I am not earning much at all in terms of money from the first two Last Ditch mysteries, about Lexy Campbell, a fish-out-of-water Scot in California and her rag-tag of Motel-dwelling pals.

Why not? Because they are $1.99 (1.58 UKP) at the Kindle store and at Barnes and Noble.

BUT! In another sense, I'm getting something great out of this. Book 3 is coming out on the 3rd of August in the US and UK, and this is the chance to get British readers up to speed and - I hope - get more US readers on board! 

Thank God for advances. Severn House dialling the price up and down on all three books, according to the chicken entrails metadata and algorithms, might push back the moment when the books earn out, but it's not hitting me in the pocket right now. The publisher will pay me the full whack on the 3rd of August no matter what they, Amazon and BnN are receiving from buyers when the promotional price kicks in. 

I do hope these three comedies strike a chord with readers. They're not head-in-the-sand, life's-a-bowl-of-cherries cozies, but they're not slash-your-wrists grit either. The strapline for the first one, written in 2015, was "the lighter side of the dark underbelly of the California dream". Only . . . the dark underbelly has got a lot darker since then and the dream is a bit of a nightmare at the moment. My current one-liner to describe them is "Lexy Campbell: fighting crime and kale". That probably just about captures it. 

But if that seems too breezy for right now, there's still no escape. Can I recommend this collection of stories essays and interviews from the creative resistance, published by Nasty Woman Press? I just did. Who's going to stop me?

And here's where to find them:

Scot Free: Amazon US, Amazon UK,  B&N

Scot and Soda: Amazon US, Amazon UK, B&N

Scot on the Rocks (pre-order) Amazon US, Amazon UK, B&N

Shattering Glass: all formats here



James W. Ziskin said...

My parents taught us not to discuss money. Good thing, too, since I sell TENS of books!

Congrats, Catriona. You ALMOST answered the question.


Catriona McPherson said...

Ha. Maybe it's not a US thing then. And thank you. I definitely skirted close to it this week.

Susan C Shea said...

Cathy's post and my experience in the non-profit world both lead to the conclusion that it'll never be apples to apples for authors trying to read those chicken entrails anyway. By the way, tin foil man has a similar stroller who wears sandals, carries a messenger bag that hides nothing, and decorates himself with a penis ring, so there's that.

Finta said...

I preorder everything, usually paying the full ride the day before everything goes to a buck ninety. But I’m not complaining.

Oddly enough I got a notice about a new Ann Cleeves, went to order it and the price was $0.00. What’s the deal with that?

Thank you — Jim too — for contouring to entertain me. Xox. Ann