Tales From the South Pier is already a limited edition, on account of not enough people buying it. It may soon be a collector’s item, on account of the publisher, Athena Press, placing itself in voluntary liquidation. That’s going bust, in the popular vernacular.
I knew something was up a few weeks ago when I realized that almost a year had elapsed since my last royalty payment. When my wife telephoned to ask about it, she was greeted by a recording that Athena’s number had been changed. The new number put her through to FastPrint Publishing, a publisher in Peterborough, where a factotum revealed that the firm had taken over Athena. Not to worry, though, he reassured her, FastPrint Publishing would be happy to continue publishing Athena’s titles. An author’s contract would be on its way to me within a day or so, he promised. A month later I still haven’t seen it.
She then called the liquidator on the off-chance, more a hope than an expectation, that there might be some cash left for distribution to creditors. There was little money left, the nice man from the liquidator told her, and certainly none for authors. He hinted that there had been financial irregularities, manifested by the disappearance of certain corporate documents.
Where that leaves Tales, I can’t be sure; up the proverbial creek without the proverbial paddle seems the likeliest venue.
Amazon still has second-hand copies, I’m told, and my advice to would-be collectors is to buy them all up as soon as possible.
I have the book on disc, and if FastPrint Publishing doesn’t come through, I’ll peddle it elsewhere. If that doesn’t work, I can only apologise to those prospective readers who have missed out on a riveting read.
What a dangerous place the world of small business enterprises is right now. I blame the coalition government.
June 10, 2011