Friday, January 12, 2024

Comic Cuts — 12 January 2024

Because of an error on the last pair of proofs I had printed, I'm still waiting on a copy of Beyond the Void that I'm happy with. Hence no news of when the book will be available. (But it will be soon, I promise.)

I'm told that the corrected version will be with me in a couple of days, after which I will print off two more copies, just to make sure that the book is printing correctly, so there is still a couple of weeks to go. I should add that the problem with recent proofs wasn't the colour or anything like that. The printer had a problem with the trimming of the book, which meant that they cut about a milimeter off the top of the header (the text that often runs along the top of the book); I made the header smaller, but the trim was still very close, so I have since dispensed with it entirely. It's partly my own fault for trying to make the most of every page and not losing space to wide margins — the only way to keep the pagination down on what is quite a big (and expensive to print) full-colour book.

Not that I'm unhappy with the end product, and it has now been seen by one more person (I think outside of Mel and me, only two people have seen copies)... and they now have a printed copy to take home and read. That lucky (?) person is my book collecting pal Steve Chibnall, who was visiting the University of Essex to do some research. We spent an enjoyable evening at a local pub chatting about books old and new, catching up on our latest projects and enjoying what turned out to be some nice pub grub.

It was actually our second choice of pub, but the first (The Greyhound) was packed, with no tables available for eating. So we headed down to the Rose & Crown on the river front, and it was almost empty. By the time food arrived it was filling up quite dramatically and we realised why others had avoided it... there was a poker tournament planned for the evening which took over most of the tables. Mystery solved.

While I won't mention the project that brought Steve to the University (that's up to him to reveal), I can say that he is working on another book about books, and, more specifically, a book about book jackets. I suspect this is going to take some time to complete, but I'm already thinking of how I can guarentee getting the first copy off the presses. Maybe start bribing the author and praising him outrageously. So that's a book coming out from Steve "Mr Cool" Chibnall.

About five columns back I mentioned that I'd had to change a number of passwords that might have been compromised thanks to the ransomeware hack of the British Libraries databases. Well, part two of that fallout is that I might not see any PLR for a while, as the BL is in charge of paying out Public Lending Rights.

Now, I have to admit that this is not a big deal for me as very few of my books make it into the lending library system. The last books that did in any meaningful way were the large War, Battle and Air Ace reprints I did for Prion 15-20 years ago. I did reasonably well out of them in the period 2009-18, although not the thousands that JK Rowling or Richard Osman would expect to receive.

My best year earned me £81.26. Most years I don't get anything because I don't achieve the minimum of £1, although I had a surprise in 2021 when I was paid £4.78 — and all thanks to one book being taken out just before the Covid lockdown. With libraries closed, all books already on loan were automatically renewed, and that one copy of Aces High clocked up 100 loans! Thanks, whoever borrowed the book... it was a very pleasant surprise and would be just enough for a pint in 2024! (Seriously, the Office of National Statistics has worked out that the average price of a pint of lager is £4.58, up from £1 in 1987.)

It was bitterly cold on our trip out to the pub, but at least it wasn't snowing. We had snow earlier in the week, and, content provider that I am, I filmed it. Twenty seconds it took before I came to my senses and realised that most people have seen snow and didn't really need to see that latest snowfall in my back garden. But I'm putting it up anyway.

What is surprising is that a couple of trees are in bloom and I can only think that it is down to the mild weather we have been having. That's the mild weather we were having just before the snow. Things have gotten a lot chillier over the past week, and I'm going to end this seemingly ceaseless chatter because it's damned cold in my office and bed is warm and welcoming.


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