O. Henry, The Ransom of Red Chief
"And get me the sales figures off your royalty statements."
My agent needed the stats on my publishing history. Denise Marcil and I have been together since she established her agency in a fifth floor Manhattan walkup and I'd traded my five floor climb in Boston's Back Bay for a drafty South Shore antique cape.
Over the past 20+ years she's relocated up & down the island. I've bounced between the head of the Ohio River, the Delaware & Massachusetts Bay. During one of her moves her agency sent me what they had of my royalty statements. During one of mine I packed and forgot about all but the most recent. (Who can make sense of them anyway? Perhaps here is the appropriate place to mention that the closest I ever came to divorce was my annual shoebox-0f-receipts-to-my-accountant/husband at tax time.)
Last week when 27 years of semi-annual reports proved too much for my office floor & lower back, I moved my project to the sunroom table. There I broke pencil points, tapped my calculator, recorded foreign sales, and thumbed through honest-to-goodness bound ledgers and green "eye-ease" three column accounting paper. I found 2 titles I forgot I'd written. Apparently I was huge in Hungary and Bulgaria in the mid-90s. 545,000 copies of DEREK in 6 months.
The day before I left for Thanksgiving, I gave thanks and sent Denise the totals. It seems I've sold an estimated 2, 745, 525 books in c.9 languages.
It looked like a good thing: but wait till I tell you~~the editor at Barnes & Noble's Nook First thinks so, too.
THE CHICK PALACE
THREE DILEMMAS, TWO FRIENDS, ONE DESERTED TREE HOUSE
The best of times, the worst of times, a pinch of wisdom, a pint of foolishness...
during a simmering summer on Lake Allamuchy