Big in Denmark
There is a wonderful organisation called The Authors Licensing and Collecting Society which collects photocopying rights on behalf of authors. Every year they send me some money – not a great deal – but as with Public Lending Rights, it does mean that I am getting a little extra payment, maybe £100 or £200 for all those copies that end up in libraries or which, for some reason, are photocopied. Some months ago I was surprised to find that a sum several times larger than usual had appeared in my bank account. When the statement came from ALCS it showed that the entire amount came from photocopies made in Denmark, simply listed as ‘Crime in Fiction.’ Mystifying. I bunged the statement into my intray, meaning to follow it up, but only today got round to ringing ALCS. In my heart of hearts I wondered if it might be a mistake and the money might be owed to someone else. But no, it was mine alright for photocopies of a short story, ‘The Lammergeier Vulture,’ that appeared in a CWA anthology CRIME ON THE MOVE in 2005, the first one I ever had published, and also for copies from my first novel, DEAD LETTERS. It is a strange thought that somewhere in Denmark – probably in some university – someone has made all those copies of my work, presumably for teaching purposes. It’s one of those unexpected and quirky events that gladden the heart of the writer and that makes me wonder where the other copies of my books have ended up. Messages in bottles, most of them. Now and then someone gets in touch to say that they’ve read something of mine and liked it, but mostly the books and stories just disappear off into the blue and all I can do is hope they find friendly readers.