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)


This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to End Of The Road (For Some, Anyway)

  1. Hi David

    Do they form a series or are they three stand-alone novels? Do you have a recommended reading order? Just realised that last one could be a redundant question as I’d have to buy all three this week anyway!

  2. David Robinson says:

    Hi Graham, and thanks for stopping by.

    The Handshaker and The Deep Secret are linked, with HK coming first. Voices is a standalone experiment which was difficult to categorise. As an irrelevant aside, I wrote Voices while off work with a broken ankle, and the entire 120,000 word took me just 33 days.

  3. Glynis Smy says:

    Good luck with that nightmare, David. Interesting to read your reason for pulling them away from your other works. Valid and understandable reasons.

  4. David Robinson says:

    Thanks for stopping by, Glynis

  5. Marcia Woolf says:

    Very interesting David. Thank you for being so frank. Now that you have the rights to the three titles, would you think it worthwhile trying to find another publisher for them under your pseudonym?

  6. David Robinson says:

    Hi, Marcia, and thanks for reading. I would not betray Crooked Cat like that. If (when) they reappear they will be self-published.

  7. Nik Morton says:

    I agree, David, it’s all to do with ‘branding’. I wrote my westerns under the penname Ross Morton. But since then I’ve written westerns under my Nik Morton name (which is technically a penname too!) I’ve republished my two psychic spy novels, noting in the copyright page that they were previously published under a different (named) title. You can use the same book title if you’re changing your author name, no problem. Of course I don’t think many publishers will touch previously published books (I’ve tried, and pleasant surprise, CC did do that for me – Spanish Eye and Sudden Vengeance being examples of CC’s generosity; they are the exception, though. Good luck with their re-issue.

  8. David Robinson says:

    Hi, Nik, and thanks for reading.

    For the time being, they’ll be self-published and used as reader magnets to promote the Robert Devine name. The plan is slowly coming together.

  9. Ailsa Abraham says:

    I loved those books when I read all 3 & understand your dilemma – I am writing gay romance under the same name as my pagan/witchcraft series. So far so good but I can see the day coming when something will have to go, a genre or a name. Best of luck

  10. David Robinson says:

    The brilliant Iain Banks got away with it, Ailsa (as Iain M Banks). Sadly, I’m not in his league.

    Thanks for reading.

  11. Ailsa Abraham says:

    Ooo thank you – I have a middle initial – could use that but MM usually sells better with a non-gender specific like A C Abraham. Food for thought xxx

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *