Saturday, January 05, 2008

The donkey on a treadmill ...

God will I be glad when next week is finally over and I can go back to some semblance of normality and actually having a life. I honestly don't know how people who are forced to work full time manage - for the last few weeks I have felt like the proverbial donkey on a treadmill going nowhere - except round and round in circles that is. There just seems to have been no respite whatsoever - I mean, I know things are calming down somewhat now that most people (those who do not work in retail or customer services that is) have stopped sitting on their big fat ar....mchairs and gone back to work like the rest of us, but it just seems never ending.

The fact that I am physically having to go to work every day is preventing me from doing other things that I really do need to start doing again to get my book out there and maximise my chances of success. Having come so far I cannot just give up. Certain people (and I include myself in this) have made great personal sacrifices so that I can be in this position, and I do not intend to let them down - not having come this far.

Mind you, I must admit that the money is handy - or at least it would be were the tax man not taking 22 percent of it. This is I suspect because I did not have a P45 to give to work when I started with them almost 2 months ago, and so not knowing how much tax I have paid or what I have already earned this year (precisely zero) they are taxing me at the so called emergency rate. This is a pain in the armchair, but until they get off their armchairs and sort it out, I just have to put up with it. I guess at some point before April 5th I will get it all back again in my payslip - but that is not the point, I could do with the money now! Ah well, these things were as they say, sent to try us, and I suppose at least I have some money coming in even if it a pittance. It might be minimum wage, but that is considerably more than I get from book sales ... Not that I am the only one to be feeling the pinch. 60 percent of UK based writers are earning less than the minimum wage when you take into consideration the time that we spend writing our product before it is sold, assuming that it can be sold and that we don't have to pay for the privilege of paying for it to be published ourselves. With the rise in self publishing I wouldn't be at all surprised if at some point in the next couple of years we see one of the major publishing houses go to the wall. The same has already happened with several independents.

Despite a dismal Christmas though for retailers in general, book sellers are celebrating record sales. According to Nielson Bookscan, book sales smashed all previous records to reach £280.2m in the four weeks to 29th December. This is 5 percent up on the same period last year. As Christmas Day falling on a Tuesday this meant there was a last minute three day blitz of sales on the high street (I was there) and in supermarkets as shoppers sought last minute gifts. presents. Internet sales were also strong, with trading up to 21st December.

Let's hope then that when I do start ringing again next week, I find that some of that success has rubbed off on me and I have some healthy sales to report.

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