Philip Pullman calls for UK to adopt EU plans to protect authors’ royalties

Philip Pullman calls for UK to adopt EU plans to protect authors’ royalties

Reblogged from The Guardian

His Dark Materials author has appealed for EU directive to be introduced in Britain, to block ‘unfair practices that currently prevent authors making a living’

Philip Pullman.
‘Authors badly need the sort of natural justice that these clauses embody’… Philip Pullman. Photograph: Mark Makela/Corbis/Getty

Pullman was speaking as president of the Society of Authors, which is pressing the UK government to adopt clauses from the new EU draft directive on the digital single market in order to “avoid unfair practices that currently prevent authors making a living from writing”. The Society highlighted the case of Horrid Henry author Francesca Simon, who has not received any royalties from the television and film adaptations of her Horrid Henry books, despite the series being broadcast in 44 countries with more than 1.5m DVDs sold.

In an article last December, Simon revealed that she was missing out on the royalties because when she sold Orion her first Horrid Henry book in 1993, the book deal included film and television rights. A deal with Novel Entertainment for those rights was subsequently negotiated by Orion. “They did a poor deal. They did not use a lawyer,” wrote Simon in the Author magazine. “Not understanding their proper value led to the worst mistake of my career.”

The new draft directive, released last week, states that authors “often have a weak bargaining position in their contractual relationships, when licensing their rights”, and that “transparency on the revenues generated by the use of their works or performances often remains limited”, with this affecting their remuneration.

Francesca Simon. author of the classic childrens books series Horrid Henry.
Francesca Simon. author of the classic children’s books series Horrid Henry. Photograph: Murdo Macleod for the Guardian

It proposes two safeguards, which the Society of Authors says are particularly important for writers. The so-called “bestseller clause” would give authors the right to claim additional and appropriate remuneration if the returns in their contracts are disproportionately low compared to the subsequent profits from exploitation of the works. The transparency safeguard, meanwhile, would give writers a right to regular and adequate information on the exploitation of their works.

“I welcome this draft directive, especially for its emphasis on transparency and the bestseller clause. Authors badly need the sort of natural justice that these clauses embody, not least because our work contributes substantially to the wealth of the nation,” said Pullman. “I hope that our government will see the rightness of these proposals and embody them firmly in the law of our land to ensure that they continue when we leave the EU.”

Society of Authors chief executive Nicola Solomon urged the UK government “to implement these clauses without delay”, and for the provisions to be adopted in UK law, given that the directive is unlikely to have effect until after Britain has left the EU.

“Publishers too often fail to give their authors full information on sales and exploitation of their work. Many more gain an unfair windfall when a work is an unexpected success but do not share any of that gain with authors. This unfairness leads to many authors no longer being able to make a living from writing and, if unchecked, threatens the creative excellence of our publishing industries,” she said.

“Having provided evidence of such unfair contract terms to the Commission, we are delighted that the EU accepts there is a problem and is suggesting sensible and proportionate measures to improve the position for creators.”

The directive, part of an EU strategy to create a digital single market, also aims to help rights holders to negotiate and be remunerated for online exploitation of their content, and to provide a “clear legal framework” for when journalistic content is licensed for digital use.

“I want journalists, publishers and authors to be paid fairly for their work, whether it is made in studios or living rooms, whether it is disseminated offline or online, whether it is published via a copying machine or commercially hyperlinked on the web,” said EC president Jean-Claude Juncker in his state of the union address last week.

My story “Obelisk” is due out this month

logomars1I’ve heard from JayHenge Publishing’s hard working editior, Jessica Augustsson, that my short story Obelisk is due to be published very shortly in an anthology titled Phantasmical Contraptions & Other Errors.

This is a steampunk themed anthology and looks to have an exciting and diverse line-up (more on that soon).

The exact date for publication is yet to be confirmed but it should certainly be in October (and of course I will be posting as soon as I hear myself).

I won’t give any spoilers but my own story is set on colonial Mars during the Victorian era and… well… wait and find out…


Title: Obelisk – coming October 2016

Short Story, 7250 Words

Steampunk, Adventure, Lovecraftian, Victorian Sci-Fi, Horror

To Be featured in the anthology Phantasmical Contraptions & Other Errors, edited by Jessica Augustsson, published by JayHenge Publiushing.


Gotta Catch ‘Em All


Have you read my darkly comic 300-word micro-fiction story, “Gotta Catch ‘Em All”?

It won 2nd place in the ZeroFlash aniversary competiton in July 2016.

You can read it free online here :

Gotta Catch ‘Em All

Another story accepted – due out this Autumn/Fall


I’m once again delighted to have sold another story, this one is a seasonal tale, set at Halloween.


It deals with folklore, childhood fears, a bizzare array of assorted horrors and some dark, comic fantasy.


As with my other recent stories, more details coming soon….

Earnings soar for UK’s bestselling authors as wealth gap widens in books industry

Earnings soar for UK’s bestselling authors as wealth gap widens in books industry

Reblogged from The Guardian

New study reveals Julia Donaldson, David Walliams and JK Rowling lead the top 1% of authors, who account for nearly a third of all UK book sales.

The gap between publishing’s rich and poor continues to widen, as figures from Nielsen BookScan reveal that the top 50 authors account for more than 13% of UK sales.

Children’s authors dominate the top five print sellers, with Julia Donaldson leading the pack for the sixth year in succession with sales of £14m, followed by David Walliams with £11m and JK Rowling with £8m. Joel Morris and Jason Hazeley, the writing duo behind Penguin’s bestselling series of Ladybird parodies, are in fourth with £7.4m, with Jamie Oliver’s collection of healthier recipes, Everyday Super Food, powering him into fifth with £7.3m.

But while publishing’s top table may be groaning with riches, the helpings get much smaller as you move down the list. The Bookseller estimates that the UK print sales counted by Nielsen come from 55,000 authors, meaning that the 50 writers who accounted for 13% of the £1.49bn in sales represent less than 0.1%. The top 500 – or top 1% – of authors clocked up 32.8% of sales, while the top 10% amassed 57%. And the gap is getting wider: according to the Bookseller, the £199m netted by the top 50 authors represents a 21% increase on 2014, compared to a 6.6% rise for the UK print market as a whole.

The figures come as momentum builds around Philip Pullman’s protest over the Oxford literary festival’s failure to offer authors appearance fees, with writers including Linda Grant, Joanne Harris and Francesca Simon among a host of authors calling for a boycott of events which expect writers to appear for free.

According to Nicola Solomon, the Society of Authors chief executive, the figures tie in with last year’s Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society (ALCS) survey, which showed that many authors struggle to make a living from writing. “We are not putting in any special pleading here,” Solomon said, “but falling author incomes, and the narrowing of what money there is towards top ‘brand name’ authors, is not healthy for the publishing industry, nor for society as a whole.”

The problem goes wider than the books industry, she continued, citing contemporary celebrity culture and the need for publishers, as businesses, to “produce what the public wants. Bookshops are suffering, and online retailers tend to focus attention on bestselling titles through recommendations, so people aren’t able to see the wide range of titles that are available.”

But “increasingly profit-driven” publishers should shoulder some of the blame as well, Solomon added. “Publishers need to take more risks with diverse titles and authors, and give more support to midlist and backlist titles.” She called for emerging writers to be supported by “decent advances” and for the industry as a whole to fulfil its responsibility to put new and diverse names in front of the public.

“Bookshops, reviewers and festivals need to ensure they make space for books outside the bestseller lists,” Solomon said. “For example, festival organisers should make a commitment that every time they programme a big-name author they put a smaller author alongside.”

Readers can also help, she added, by “reading more widely, reading more in translation and from writers of diverse background”. “We need a flourishing range of diverse voices to inspire imagination and to create the fabulous material, from literature to text books, poetry to films, for which Britain is so justly famed and which underpins and supports our creative industries.”

The Scales Of Injustice

anglerI’m delighted to be able to announce that I have a new short story coming out in early 2017.

The Scales of Injustice – February 2017

Short Story, 5000 words.

Cthulhu Mythos / Crime / Mystery.

To be Published in the anthology Fossil Lake (Volume 4), edited by Christine Morgan, published by Sabledrake Enterprises

Fossil Lake IV

Coming in 2017 … SHARKASAURUS!

Anticipated Release Date: February 2017 in print and ebook.

Once again, the title should tell you all you need to know for the theme. Sharks and/or dinosaurs! We expect teeth. Lots and lots of teeth. Beyond that, pretty much anything goes. Fighting each other? Chomping teenagers on spring break? Teaming up buddy-cop-movie-style and learning to respect one another’s differences? The doomed romance of star-crossed lovers? Time travel? Monstrous hybrids? Magical musical singing and dancing? Bring it!

Stuck for a last minute present? Try one of these books! (Shameless plug)

Screenshot1You can find anthologies of short stories featuring my work on my author’s page at here and another on (i.e. for the USA) here.

They are all available digitally as well as in print (and in the case of The Adventures of Moriarty as downloadable audio) so you could have them delivered quite literally at the last minute!

(If you have read my work , please do leave a review!)


More info & direct links :



Wild Things Cover

The cover for Wild Things – Thirteen Tales Of Therianthropy

Title : Santa MarimbondoAugust 16th 2015

Black Shuck BooksHorror short story, circa 5,000 words, featured in Wild Things – Thirteen Tales Of Therianthropy (anthology), edited by Steve J Shaw,  published in the UK by Black Shuck Books, an imprint of Great British Horror Books.

Link to Wild Things on Amazon UK or if you are in the US Wild Things on

Steve J Shaw’s website Great British Horror

wild Things 2






Title : The Perfect Crime – 15th October 2015

The cover of The Mammoth Book of the Adventures of Moriarty: The Secret Life of Sherlock Holmes's Nemesis

The cover for The Adventures of Moriarty: The Secret Life of Sherlock Holmes’s Nemesis

Short story, circa 5,000 words, featured in The Adventures of Moriarty: The Secret Life of Sherlock Holmes’s Nemesis (anthology), edited by Maxim Jakubowski, published in the UK by Constable Robinson and in the USA by Running Press.

“We think of Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson, but far more seductive is the pairing of Holmes and Professor James Moriarty, ‘the Napoleon of crime’ – a rivalry unparalleled in the world of crime fiction. Fiercely intelligent and a relentless schemer, Moriarty is the super-villain as megastar.

The anthology reveals not just the evil side of Moriarty’s personality, but his humanity, his motivations and his human failings. Some of the stories are humorous, some scary, but all are hugely entertaining.”

Link to the print & etext versions of the book on Amazon UK  &

moriarty audioLink to the Audio-book version published by Audible Studios.







Title : Unnatural Acts – October 15th 2015

How To Trick The Devil - How Far Would You Go

The cover for How To Trick The Devil



erebuspressShort story, dark supernatural comic-horror, circa 4,000 words, featured in How To Trick The Devil (anthology), edited by Stephaine Buosi, Published in the UK by Erebus Press.

Stephaine Buosi’s website



How To Trick The Devil - Front & Back



Fox Spirit

Title: Cold-Hearted – February 2016 (date to be confirmed)

Short story included in the forthcoming anthology, Winter Tales, edited by Margrét Helgadóttir which is due to be published by Fox Spirit Books (early 2016).

WINTER TALES – authors & stories update

The forthcoming anthology Winter Tales will feature my short story Cold-Hearted.

Reblogged from Fox Spirit Books.


Well, the nights are drawing in and winter is coming, so it seems a good time to share a little more about forthcoming anthology Winter Tales, edited by Margret Helgadottir and due for release in early 2016


FIMG_0027 (1)rost pierces through everything. Your bones ache in the icy wind. Harsh winter storms rage and the sun is leaving, not to return for many months. The cheerful men arriving to the mountain bothy in the midst of the winter storm, why do they unnerve you so much? The hunter who follows after you on your way home from the store, what does he hunt? The old neighbour lady seems so innocent, but you know the truth: you saw her that night. Why will the police not listen to you?

Dark, grim, beautiful and grotesque. We are delighted to bring you a collection of speculative winter stories and poems from new and established writers. The collection is edited by Margret Helgadottir. Winter Tales will be released in early 2016 from Fox Spirit Books.

Cover art will be by S.L. Johnson



Mat Joiner: The frost sermon
Su Haddrell: The Bothy
Sharon Kernow: The Wolf Moon
Ruth Booth: The love of a season
Masimba Musodza: When the trees were enchanted
Fiona Clegg: Sunday’s Child
Tim Major: Winter in the Vivarium
Lizz-Ayn Shaarawi: Snow Angel
Amelia Gorman: Under your skin
B. Thomas: Among Wolves
Eliza Chan: Yukizuki
DJ Tyrer: Frose
G.H. Finn: Cold-Hearted
David Sarsfield: Voliday
Kelda Crich: Coldness Waits
K.N. McGrath: The Siege
Jonathan Ward: Spirit of the Season
James Bennett: The Red Lawns
Anne Michaud: Frost Fair
Jan Edwards: Shaman Red
Adrian Tchaikovsky: The Coming of The Cold
Verity Holloway: The Frost of Heaven

Santa Marimbondo/Wild Things – Book review

A very nice review of both the anthology Wild Things and of my story Santa Marimbondo (highlighted in red below).

Wild Things – Book review

reblogged from:


Wild Things Edited by Steve J Shaw, 2015, Black Shuck Books, Website, p/b £8.99

 Reviewed by Nigel Robert Wilson

There could be no better celebration for a publishing house named after a spectral hound than to produce an anthology of therianthropy or humans changing into other beasties.

This reviewer will admit to an appreciation of short stories as they are an ideal tool in taking the tedium out of commuting. I no longer have to submit to the vagaries of public transport but the habit has stuck, along with the shortened attention span.

Be warned this book is not for bed-time reading. Do not under any circumstance read any of these stories before you switch off the light to go to sleep. Each has its well-fabricated terrors which could easily come back to bite you during the night. As it was I read most of it with an aging cat snoozing on my lap in the sure knowledge that she has ambitions, as yet frustrated, to become human and relate at length the injustice of nature that made me a man and her a cat.

There are stories of werewolves, sure. But also were-birds, a were-centipede and were-pretty, little dogs. For myself, and I recognise that the whole point of anthologies is that there is something in them for all tastes, the best is Rachel Halsall’s `Hunting’. A powerful story of difference, cruelty and identity built around the silkies or selkies, those mythological creatures, part-man and part-seal who are said to inhabit the North Sea. Are they a memory of those hunter-gatherers in Mesolithic times who drowned on Doggerland when the last of the ice melted? A hidden portion of my or our collective unconscious?

There are thirteen stories of which all contain quality writing with plots to a high standard.

`Fish’ by Anna Taborska is a well-executed, ironic tale of the unfortunate outcome of mistaken identity involving a puffer fish. It contains a strong moral message.

`Confession’ by Christopher Law is almost a shape-changer in itself. It starts out as a fairly mundane tale involving familiar clichés when it is actually about a man who finds he can turn into a bird of prey. The story goes wild as our hero becomes a junkie who eats children – mmm, delicious – as he yearns to be free from his ravening hunger!

`Scruffy Dog’ by D S Ullery is a delightfully whimsical story about a little stray dog. We have been conditioned to see were-wolves as horrific creatures of the night, only this one isn’t. Or is it?

`Hunting’ by Rachel Halsall is a wonderful tale which is to be recommended. It pulls no punches as sea creatures are hunted down by men for their meat and for the purpose of sex-slavery. The heroine is a child trapped between her human and selkie origins. It contains some excellent writing and is a challenging experience. Take it and enjoy!

`A Little Knowledge is a Dangerous Thing’ by Darrel Duckworth is a humorous tale of lycanthropy in modern dress. Are all company boardrooms populated by were-wolves and wizards? In this case the wizard gets it wrong as he relied upon an ancient archive rather than the scientific method.

`The Shape of Nothingness’ by Scott Shoyer assures us that a shape-changer is immortal, so he fears being dead. If a sexual partner falls in love with him sufficiently to fear losing him then he involuntarily turns into a monster and eats them. Then he comes across another woman he quite fancies, but she is an immortal too!

`The Fragility of Flesh’ by Laura Mauro is a strong narrative of a poor kid, badly bullied at school who no longer wants to be seen by anyone so becomes something else.

`Golden Moments’ by James Park also introduces an immortal woman with the dietary habits of a praying mantis. For a price she traps a man who lusts for her fleshly attributes. This is an exotic tale of revenge eaten in the best way possible.

`Leydra’s Maiden’ by Kelda Crich tells us of Matilda, a housekeeper on the make who can become a crow. She seeks the hand of her employer whilst slowly poisoning his wife. Leydra is an aspect of the Great Goddess who sees all and knows all. This is an ingenious story about the outing of wickedness that draws upon our deeper nature.

`Santa Marimbondo’ by G H Finn is about an anthropologist in Brazil researching the cult of Santa Muerte or St Death, a version of the Grim Reaper. Then a peasant tells her about Santa Marimbondo, a demonic wasp that has to leave its eggs in a human host to develop. This is an excellent plot set out to induce an exquisite sequence of tensions.

`Centipede’ by Helen Catten-Prugl returns us to the poor kid bullied in school. Only this one has the ability to turn into a centipede to eat babies, policemen and, in a fit of jealous anger, the girl he fancies. I think I prefer it when they just turn up with a gun.

`The Change’ by Callum Chalmers tells the story of a man with a secret shame. Every Thursday he has to get home early before he turns into an animal. This is a wonderfully detailed account of a man forced to hide his true nature for fear of being ridiculed.

`The Were-Dwarf’ by Johnny Mains is about what can happened when a height-challenged disc-jockey is attacked by a were-wolf. This develops into a hilarious tale of a bizarre celebrity trying to manage an insane condition. The denouement is quite superb. Read it!

My Story “Unnatural Acts” will be published in “How To Trick The Devil”

erebuspress I’m delighted to be able to write that my short-story Unnatural Acts will be published in the forthcoming anthology How To Trick The Devil, edited by Stephaine Buosi for Erebus Press.

“Unnatural Acts” is a supernatural comic-horror story which should tickle your funny bones if you like your humour on the dark side…

I don’t currently have a confirmed publication date but tentatively it is September 2015.

More news as I have it.

Cover of The Mammoth Book of the Adventures of Moriarty: The Secret Life of Sherlock Holmes’s Nemesis

At long last the cover of The Mammoth Book of the Adventures of Moriarty: The Secret Life of Sherlock Holmes’s Nemesis has been unveiled.


This anthology will feature my short-story ‘The Perfect Crime’.

I won’t give any spoilers other than to say my story just may have something to do with Professor Moriarty….

“We think of Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson, but far more seductive is the pairing of Holmes and Professor James Moriarty, ‘the Napoleon of crime’ – a rivalry unparalleled in the world of crime fiction. Fiercely intelligent and a relentless schemer, Moriarty is the super-villain as megastar.
This wonderfully diverse collection includes writers such as Martin Edwards, Jürgen Ehlers, Barbara Nadel, L. C. Tyler, Michael Gregorio, G. H. Finn, Jan Edwards Claude Lalumière, Lavie Tidhar, Alvaro Zinos-Amaro, Michael Gregorio, Alison Joseph, David Stuart Davies, Martin Edwards,  Russel McLean, Ashley R Lister, Peter Guttridge, Amy Myers, Christine Poulson, Kate Ellis, Priscilla Masters, Jürgen Ehlers, Thomas Roche, Andrew Lane, Conrad Williams, Rhys Hughes, Jill Braden, Vanessa de Sade, Julie Novakova, Catherine Lundoff, Steve Cavanagh, Mike Chinn, Nikki Magennis, David N. Smith & Violet Addison, Alexandra Townsend, Howard Halstead, Josh Reynolds, John Soanes, Keith Moray,  Rose Biggin and Peter Guttridge. The anthology reveals not just the evil side of Moriarty’s personality, but his humanity, his motivations and his human failings. Some of the stories are humorous, some scary, but all are hugely entertaining.”


Link to the book on Amazon UK  &

Wild Things Anthology Is Now Available

wild Things 2I’m delighted to announce that Wild Things – Thirteen Tales of Therianthropy is now available.

Black Shuck BooksThis anthology, features my story Santa Marimbondo and twelve other spine-tingling tales of terror, is edited by Steve J Shaw.

Wild Things is published in the UK by Black Shuck Books, an imprint of Great British Horror Books.


wild things

Here’s a link to Wild Things on Amazon UK or if you are in the US Wild Things on


Wild Things Anthology – Publication Date Brought Forward!

Wild Things CoverI’m delighted to be able to say that the horror anthology Wild Things – Thirteen Tales Of Therianthropy which features my short story Santa Marimbondo, has had its publication date brought forward.

Originally planned for a November release, it is now scheduled for publication on August 28th 2015.

More news on this very shortly.



Thought For The Day For Writers…

monalRandom Writing-based

Thought For The Day

By logical extension of the popular saying……

1,001 words are worth more than a picture…