Tuesday, April 10, 2007

John Lanchester wrote an article about copyright and authors payments. I can understand the frustration of authors who cannot find a way of selling their work directly to readers, and if I was a writer I am sure I would feel the same way. In fact, there is a very easy way they could do this. Every contract of ours with an author has a clause in which they can buy their books at a substantial discount far larger than their royalty, and they could buy a quantity and sell them to readers through their own web site. It's not so hard - we sell through this web site using Pay Pal, and you do not need a Pay Pal account to pay - a credit card is fine, and we do not see the details of them, so it is safe. John (I have bought and read your book - it's fascinating, and rings true as my mother also covered up her past, and apparently wrote out her own passport to get into the USA when she was a teenager) - we'd even help you do this. We'd like the world to know that you can buy books online from authors and publishers and not just from mega giant companies.

But publishers do work minor miracles. That's why we stay doing this. It's quite amazing to find a work which you admire, enjoy and appreciate, decide to publish it, and then see it take off. Take one pretty obscure one - Touba and the Meaning of Night by Iranian exiled author, Shahrnush Parsipur. Couldn't really be more obscure. But at 400 odd pages, it's a fascinating insight into Iran through the eyes of a young girl, who goes through several marriages and fates.

Iran. 15 hostages. The Sun. Maybe not so obscure after all.

We are promoting the book by bringing Shahrnush to London. We know the two events we have planned will be packed because we found the Exiled Writers web site, and our invite has gone out to their 1000 members 1000 exiled writers are in London - the mind boggles. And Pen have awarded the book a Writers in Translation prize, which pays for her travel and hotel.

Without our cover, review copies, marketing plans, bizarre way of finding an audience, would 800 copies have already been sold, 3 interviews planned, 2 full events? Authors do need publishers, and we need to be paid for printing books and making bizarre plans like this one work. We'd like to be able to continue making small miracles like this one happen.