Luckily Jean had not yet chosen her eight gramophone records because her little
about the publishers going out of business before “Olive” appeared in print has
She did have some happy weeks, after the contract was signed, manoeuvring
conversations round so that she could modestly let slip her triumph. She did enjoy
composing a blurb for the back page, choosing a flattering photograph for the inside
and writing her biography to be mined for publicity material. She even composed
school song for the webpage they wanted her to create. Happy days.
She was not at all worried that Citron were weeks behind with the promised cover;
she accused Norman of being paranoid. Great things were happening to the company.
They changed from being a writers’ co-operative to a PLC. They appointed a new whizzkid
supremo from Simon and Schuster. Their news letters were getting glossier and glossier.
The Telegraph and Observer couldn’t heap more praise on their initiatives.
The first slightly worrying oddity was an e-mail from the editor’s secretary saying
that they were moving to temporary accommodation and would be incommunicado for a
while. Jean tried not to read Norman’s expression. Then a month later an e-mail arrived
from the editor herself saying that she had been fired suddenly and was wretched
about not, after all, being able to publish Jean’s book. She was probably even more
upset to be suddenly out of work with no compensation; indeed the implication was
that she hadn’t had her salary recently. Two days later the letter from Citron arrived
couched in the terms of a First World War telegram: “It is with deep regret and great
sadness that we are writing to inform you that Citron Press.......has been forced
to cease trading with immediate effect.”
Quickly Jean tried to join the Society of Authors to get some legal help but
they won’t touch Citron authors with a barge pole. Suddenly the great white hope
of the publishing world has become a setup no one with any sense would have wasted
There was a meeting for Citron authors a week later in Hanover Square. There they
were told Citron had entirely run out of money and owed huge sums for tax, rent,
wages, royalties etc. They hope someone will come forward to buy up the rights and
hope also to set up a new company creating e-books but the basic message was that
the authors might as well tear up their contracts and start approaching publishers
ALL OVER AGAIN. Altogether, an interesting experience!