“Write a book: you’ll make money while you sleep.” Honestly: that’s a piece of advice that I was given years ago by a well-meaning (and, I now recall, unpublished) friend. He seemed to suggest that it was all such a doddle: pen a few well-crafted sentences while wearing a bohemian outfit and nibbling on a madeleine, and then sit back and watch the royalties come rolling in. “Pah!” I say. And “Pah!” again. Unless you’re Wilbur Smith and can continue writing from beyond the grave, publishing books is not the route to a quick fortune.
Yes, it’s that time again, when I bore you with my latest sales figures. December was for me – as for HMV and Jessops – a quiet month. Ned the AML pig sold seven copies: four in Guernsey and three in Jersey. (I do hope they found their way into some Christmas stockings down there. Last time I was in Guernsey someone asked me to sign her copy of Ned, so I know I’m not the only mad one on the island.) And Edward Jones – MLRO-about-town, quiet scourge of the account manager – managed to shift eleven copies, shared pretty evenly across all five sets of his adventures. (For those of you sticking bravely with Edward, we are nearing the end: there will be six parts only, with the sixth and final part appearing over the summer.)
But please don’t think that I am complaining – not for one second. What a pleasure it is to have a subject that I love, and to be able to write about it in such varied ways. From his first appearance in April 2012 until the end of that year, Ned (the rather more serious approach to the subject – see piggy portraits to the right) has sold 149 copies! (84 in Guernsey, 33 in the UK, 22 in Jersey and 10 in the Isle of Man – what a well-travelled little porcine he is.) So that means that there are now at least 149 NEDs out there with much more information than they had before on how to meet their AML responsibilities, which must all be to the AML good. But as for making money while I sleep, and retiring in splendour… well, thank goodness for that new flat rate pension – pig swill don’t come cheap.