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Dude, Where’s My Royalties?

24 May 2019

Here’s a follow-up post to the post that is directly below this one in the online TPV parade of blog posts. You might understand this post better if you read the other one first.

From Dan Rhodes:

In other news, I’ve been busy severing ties with Canongate Books. For some years I’d found them to be evasive when faced with basic business queries, and when it came to certain financial and contractual issues it reached a point where I just couldn’t get answers out of them. I thought this was as fishy as Milky Pimms, so decided to conduct my own amateur audit (in the absence of any knowledge of financial procedures, this involved going in like Chris-R) and – boom goes the dynamite – discovered they had chronically underpaid me. Twice.

I did not take this well.

Everything goes to the dogs when the sums don’t add up. It’s a long and rotten story, and nobody enjoys hearing other people moaning about work (I’m finding it hard not to come across like Les McQueen), so I’ll keep most of it off the front page. I have, though, written an epic account of what has gone on so far. It’s a wretched read, and the last thing the Internet needs is another incandescent middle-aged man sounding off at length about things he doesn’t quite understand.

. . . .

Having to pull almost my entire life’s work out of print because of a publisher’s malpractice has been something of une saison en enfer. Anthropology? Gone! Gold? Kaput! This is Life? Splat! It goes on… Creatively, it has ground me to dust. With two non-showbiz day jobs, totalling around 70 hours of work in a normal week, time is hard to come by; the precious moments I could have spent loitering in green lanes have been obliterated by having to deal with this bollocks. It’s hard to muster the delicate balance of joie de vivre and hubris required to write a novel when your slumber is broken, your doublet is torn and a gaggle of exasperating Sloane Rangers are up in your grill.

. . . .

Apart from the soul-crushing Canongate Books shitshow, all is well. We’ve spent some of the recovered money on having a spare toilet installed – those of you who share living space with other humans will understand that this is a great leap forward.

. . . .

There’s no need for you to arrange a benefit concert or a sponsored walk. Were it not for my every moment being blighted by the unfolding horror of this excruciating debacle, everything would be fine.

. . . .

I am all at sea, and have no idea what to do with my back catalogue. Above all things I’m raising a family, and the bad vibes this has brought across our threshold are more than I’m willing or able to put up with. I’ve been stuck dealing with people like this for twenty years – they seem to be lurking around every corner, and I’ve had enough of them. Writing’s the only thing I’ve ever been any good at, and I love my books to distraction. I’m very sad at the prospect of them fading away, but if staying in the book trade means I’ll be inviting this kind of poison into our home then it’s just not worth it.

Link to the rest at Dan Rhodes

The Business of Writing

10 Comments to “Dude, Where’s My Royalties?”

  1. Only one of his books is available as an e-book. Canongate Books hasn’t been doing him any favors, but his publisher-focused tunnel vision hasn’t been helping.

    • Exactly. Unfortunately, there is no commenting on his website, so nobody can even try to give him a clue. One has to hope that he runs into someone on the street…

      The titles sound interesting. Where did you find the one that is available?

      • There’s no way to contact him at all, not directly. I checked because I got curious. His Contact page says:

        My literary agent is Sophie Lambert at Conville & Walsh.

        For dramatisation queries please contact Christine Glover at Casarotto.

        Please don’t contact me via Canongate Books.

        I’m was on the ghastly Twitter @DanRhodes101, though I never go there any more. I’m not on the dreaded Facebook, and never have been. I don’t look at the page that people seem to think is me.

        Whatever it is, I don’t want to do it.

        You’d think he might like to correct the typo: “I’m was…”

        But there is no way to let him know.

        • Well, he at least named his agent, and whoever “Casarotto” is. I’ve visited a lot of author pages that have no contact information whatsoever.

          “Your call is very important to us. It’s so important we can’t bother assigning an intern clean out the voicemail box every now and then, or outsource answering the phone to a call center in Bangladesh. Thank you for calling our Sales and Service division, have a nice day!”

  2. He needs to take his backlog – and learn to publish it himself; all of it, in ebook and print.

    And he doesn’t even think of the possibility.

    His tale of woe was an example of why some of us won’t even consider traditional publishing – we know this kind of thing happens, and there is little recourse.

  3. I don’t think he’s in the U.S. Depending on where he is, the ebook revolution may be several years behind where it is here. He may not even know anyone who self-pubs.

    • He’s in the United Kingdom. No use trying to educate him, as apparently the only way to contact him is through his agents, who he apparently believes will fix his problems for him. One can hope that neither of them are those that KKR hears about…

      • Felix J. Torres

        And the UK is a fully mature ebook market.
        On a par with the US for ebook penetration.
        Maybe a bit higher since their tradpubs didn’t raise prices as high under Agency. Even the BPHs.

        He would have to be a hermit not to know about self-publishing. Although, if he is full tradpub, he may only have seen the stories pushed by the establishment claiming it costs thousands of pounds to self-pub a book.

      • Can’t be much of an agent; his cut of “no money” would be the same as the author’s.

  4. This guy sounds like he’d rather squat in a chair and curse the darkness rather than take action and light a candle.

    I have no sympathy or empathy for him. If he’s got a problem, and it certainly looks like he does, then HE needs to fix it. Because nobody else will.

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