Monday, 17 November 2008

Living with Caligula

Caligula made another breakthrough this week when I got word that a Barcelona publishing company called Ediciones B have bought the world Spanish rights. They seem really forward thinking and it's possible that there could be a Spanish edition in the US, plus editions in Spain and South America. It brings the Caligula United Nations to seven, and came completely out of the blue.
One thing I haven't touched on that might be interesting to would-be writers is the money side of things. I got a great advance for Caligula and Claudius, but that doesn't mean the cheque arrived in the post the next day. I got 25 per cent on signing and the rest has come in bits and pieces (on delivery of the manuscript, hardback publication, paperback publication etc). However, I won't get any royalties until the total advance is paid back. That means any money from rights sales goes to Transworld, plus anything I earn from British/overseas English language sales and from the Polish edition, which has been out since the summer. Rights sales aren't like the advance and the sums involved (at least for me) aren't huge, so it takes quite a few to make a difference. I'll get the first statement around Christmas/New Year time which will let me know forthe first time exactly where I stand. I also experienced the first really major downside - my first tax bill - which made my eyes water. Even though I'd known it was coming and had put money aside it was still a shock to see it in black and white, and a bigger shock to disover that they want half of next year's bill up from at the same time last year's is paid! Ouch!
Still, it's all part of the learning experience, and if I'm ever going to write full time it's something I'll have to get used to.

PS Just had a quick look on the internet and discovered that the Italian edition will be published on November 27 by Newton and Compton and is entitled Morte all'imperatore!, which I think means Death to the Emperor.

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