the state of things


The Death Throes of Long Midnight Publishing

by Douglas Lindsay - 11:47 on 09 September 2012

Elvis Shackleton and I started Long Midnight Publishing back in 2002 in order to publish the Barney Thomson series. It was in reaction to Piatkus Books dropping Barney, but actually we started publishing even before they’d officially let me know that they wouldn’t be continuing with him. I guess I knew what was coming.

The first title was the novella BARNEY THOMSON & THE FACE OF DEATH. Printed one edition of 2,000 copies, and it’s been out of print for a while now. Reading it recently I, naturally, thought it was shit. At least it was where I came up with the character of Igor who was to become a favourite of the later novels. (And when I say favourite, I mean that I liked him and didn’t really care whether anyone else did.)

Then, when I got the rights to the first three Barney novels back from Piatkus, we reprinted those and released the fourth novel, THE KING WAS IN HIS COUNTING HOUSE. Following that, there were three more books in the series plus the stand alone-thriller LOST IN JUAREZ.

Throughout it all we ran the publishing company like we were in the Muppets. I shan’t compare us to the fools who sunk RBS and Glasgow Rangers, because at least we didn’t borrow stacks of money and then waste it. We were, however, utterly shit at running a publishing company.

Opinion may be divided on the matter, but I can, after a fashion, write a book. Once that part is over with however, I’m utterly hopeless. We plodded on, book after book, thinking that magically one of them might take off, and then the others might take off, and that Barney Thomson would become an independent publishing sensation.

So here I am, ten years later, making small advances with Blasted Heath on the digital front, but generally sliding into the fetid mire of print publishing hell.

Now it comes to the stage where the paperbacks do not even take in enough money to cover storing them every month. Time to move on.

So, over the next few months LMP will go to the wall. At least there’s no debt, so we shan’t be held up to the opprobrium of the courts or the masses. The remaining stock of print paperbacks will be remaindered or given away. For most of this year they’ve been available for £1.99 each, which is more or less giving them away anyway. Not many people have wanted them. So, in all likelihood, they will end up getting binned. And that will be that.

LMP is not yet dead, but the clusterbomb has been exploded beneath its feet, and there remains only the dimmest of lights in its eyes and the final nervous twitch of its severed hand.

Let us sit in circles and sing sad songs.

Or, you know, stuff.

Comment from Fiona McGregor at 12:04 on 09 October 2012.
So very sad to see the end of Barney Thomson. I loved every one of those books (especially the Millport ones). I wish you all the very best with whatever you are moving onto in life. But I will never give up hope for another Barney book!

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