My novel Gene Genie has another life, a life that is hidden from me. That’s the strange thing about writing a novel, after the initial flurry of excitement at publication off it goes. It’s rather like your child going to school, except that the novel never comes home again. No. It wings its way out into the ether and you have no idea what has become of it, unless of course it becomes a best seller. In which case you are feted and fawned over, appear on daytime telly and get a jar of jam for appearing at a literary festival. None of this has happened to me, yet.
But each year in February I get a pleasant surprise, my royalty statement arrives. It is pleasant, because I am in the habit of forgetting all about royalties. It is a joy to receive even a modest sum of money into my bank account in what is the grimmest month of the year, both in terms of the gloomy darkness and the horrible bills coming in.
ALCS is the Authors’ Licencing and Collecting Society and it does the important job of collecting and distributing royalties to authors. In the past this has been a short statement with little detail, but this year it has a breakdown. I now know that Gene Genie is used somewhere in the NHS (quite a good book for discussing the ethics of sperm and egg donation). Parts have been photocopied in a language school, general school, the government and higher and further education and somewhere in the Nordic countries and the EU is appears to be used frequently. So now, rather like a micro-chipped pet with a tracking device, I know where Gene Genie has been for the past twelve months, gadding about the UK and Europe.
ALCS is a great organisation, it champions copyright for authors and wants everyone to wise up to copyright www.alcs.co.uk/wiseup It states that ‘a typical income of a professional writer is around £11,000 per annum and 77% of journalists recently surveyed said that their income was insufficient to support themselves…’ I am very grateful to ALCS for working on the behalf of hard-pressed writers. Thanks goes to those organisations that recognise that the simple act of photocopying sections of a novel requires paying the author. Click on the link above to wise up to copyright.
My word of mouth read this month.
We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler.
I had the pleasure of attending the Words & Women Two (published by Unthank Books) anthology book launch, which contains my story The Siren. Another beautifully produced anthology enriched by many intriguing stories. Short fiction gives writers a chance to experiment and readers an opportunity to dive in to mysterious worlds. I love the form and recommend you buy and read as much short fiction as possible. Laura Stimson’s Cornflake Girl a brilliant story and a worthy first prize winner.
WELCOME TO LITTLE EDEN:
THE BEST OF ALL POSSIBLE WORLDS AT THE GARAGE THIS APRIL
After their successful production, 4.48 Psychosis by Sarah Kane, Chalk Circle Theatre Company returns to The Garage in April (14th – 18th) with an absurd and funny musical that takes a satirical look at nationalism.
An alarmingly normal man is kicked out of the house by his wife. After hours of walking, tired and lost in the middle of nowhere, Adam needs a lift and a sofa for the night. An old school friend with a dark past arrives and they spend the night in the open, dreaming up Little Eden, the best of all possible worlds where everything is for the best. Or is it?
14th-18th April, 7.30 pm. The Garage, Norwich,
Tickets: Theatre Royal Box Office, 01603 630 000
Please get in touch for any more information. 0780 5515159.