End Of The Road (For Some, Anyway)

This Friday, June 30, sees the publication rights to three of my titles revert to me. The Handshaker, The Deep Secret, and Voices will cease to appear on Crooked Cat Books’ lists.

I want to make it clear from the outset that this is not a reflection on Crooked Cat. I have an excellent working relationship with them, and they continue to hold the rights to most of my catalogue, including all 14 Sanford 3rd Age Club Mysteries, the two Spookies titles, and Life With Arfur. Should you be thinking that I’m only biding my time before taking those back, sorry, but you’re wrong. There are new Sanford 3rd Age Club Mysteries in the pipeline, and they will be published by Crooked Cat (subject to meeting the company’s usual quality standards).

So why, you may ask, are these three titles coming back to me? On the other hand, you may be thinking it’s time you were clipping your toenails.

A mistake was made with them, and it was mine, not the publisher’s.

These three books represent a departure from my usual light-hearted work. They’re hard-boiled tales, crime bordering on horror, with graphic scenes of sex and violence, and language which reflects the modern world. They are not for the faint-hearted.

Notwithstanding this, I asked for them to be published under my real name, David Robinson.

Big mistake #1.

I didn’t reckon on the success of the Sanford 3rd Age Club Mysteries, which made my name synonymous with semi-humorous work. The two genres don’t make comfortable bedfellows. Those who like cosy crime tend not to enjoy grittier work and vice versa. Naturally, there is some overlap, but it was never enough to give me any traction on the marketing of the three thrillers.

In my opinion, and that of the few people who’ve reviewed it, Voices remains one of the best pieces I’ve ever written, but since its publication in 2012, notwithstanding my best efforts and those of Crooked Cat to let people know it’s there, it’s sold less than 100 copies.

The other two thrillers, while doing a little better have still performed abysmally. The combined total sales of all three volumes is less than 500 copies.

For me, it all points at one thing: they should have been written under a pseudonym.

It’s not like this just occurred to me. It’s something I’ve known about for quite some time. So why didn’t I do anything about it? I couldn’t be bothered.

To be honest, that answer is inaccurate and unfair to myself. The real truth is, the complexities of running two author names on, say, Amazon, is a logistical nightmare, and one that I was reluctant to take on.

Big mistake #2.

Changing the author name on any book is problematic. They’re all identified by their individual ISBNs and to change the author’s name is an administrative nightmare. Thanks to my initial short-sightedness, I now have no option but to confront that nightmare, and I haven’t a clue how long it will take. I can’t simply re-publish them under a pseudonym. I could find myself in the ridiculous position of breaching my own copyright. The books have to be withdrawn from sale and I then need advice on how to proceed with re-publication under the chosen pen name, Robert Devine.

The upshot of all this is, The Handshaker, The Deep Secret, and Voices will be removed from sale as soon as is practicable on or after July 1st and I haven’t the foggiest idea when they will reappear.

So if you want a copy of any of them, you’d better get a move on.

All three are exclusive to Amazon and you can find them at:

The Handshaker

The Deep Secret


(global links)


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