My Part In His Victory

Added on 05 November 2008

Good day for the British government to bury all that bad news it  has to release but wants people not to notice.

Just caught Barack Obama’s first interview with NBC's Tom Brokaw after winning the Presidential election. Here’s an extract:

Brokaw: Barack, tell us, if you will, about some of the major influences on your politics and on your life in general.
Obama: Gee, Tom, I’m glad you asked me that question. Obviously there’s Grandma, and Mom and Pop. Then there’s Martin Luther King and, for sure, Pat Buchanan, Barry Goldwater and Richard Nixon.
Brokaw: What about Douglas Lindsay?
Obama: Hell, that guy makes one helluva doughnut. I particularly like his pumpkin with vanilla icing.
Brokaw: I meant, his darkly comic Scottish crime novels.
Obama: Douglas Lindsay writes crime novels? I thought he was the guy who made the doughnuts.
Brokaw: You must be mixing him up with someone else. We’re talking about Douglas Lindsay, the Scottish novelist.
Obama: Well I’ve never heard of that guy. I’m feeling a bit peckish now that you started talking about doughnuts.

I envy people their optimism. I remember being optimistic when Blair got elected, and look what happened. The Blair government was the Argentina ‘78 of politics; never again will there be cause for optimism. (Obviously, that’s Argentina ‘78 from a Scottish football fan’s perspective, rather than an Argentinian’s, because they probably quite enjoyed it.)


Solid start to work on The Final Cut. It will be the final third of the book which requires most rewriting in terms of plot, but I was worried that swathes of the first two thirds would also need rewritten. However, when I first started reading it I thought, well I don’t hate this - and wouldn’t that be a great quote for the front of the book - “I don’t hate it” The Author - but have since progressed to thinking it’s actually pretty good. Not that I can put that on the cover either.

The German version, like the rest of the Barney series in Germany, is now out of print. It had a good run there, and without it Barney’s brain would still be in a jar, but it’s had its day, I guess. Nevertheless, every six months the German publisher feels the need to send me a statement for the previous half-year, informing me of how many books I haven’t sold.

Another one came in yesterday. I must remember to write and thank them.

The Final Cut, published in Germany as the fifth book in the series under the title Der Herr Der Klinge, has sold 9,626 copies. This was until the last six months, when it sold minus 7 copies, thus bringing the number down to 9,619.

Wholesalers returning unsold books is one thing, but how do you un-sell a book? Whatever the explanation, I’m glad they feel the need to tell me about it.