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First, thank you for all the great Characters Revisited suggestions. Some of them I’d quite forgotten I created. Tsk, tsk. I wouldn’t do very well on Mastermind, specialised subject, My Own Books.

The world of publishing has changed so much, even in the 35 years I’ve known it. It used to be a gentlemen’s business, even when women became more involved. Editors and agents sat in their own offices, surrounded by the books they’d midwifed and other distinctive touches. One brought his dog to work. Another, her violin.

Lunch was a tax-deductible tool of the trade and publication of even the thinnest volume warranted popping a cork.

Now they all work in cubicles, staring at computer screens and developing a dowager’s hump. They bring in their own coffee, skip lunch and talk in sales jargon. As an independent publisher, I have lunch and the celebratory champagne under control, but it’s hard to avoid the jargon. I have no idea what a squeeze page is, nor a recency cap. There’s a thing called top-of-the-funnel customers that I should probably find out about, but I can’t be bothered. I don’t know my ROAS from my ACOS and I truly don’t care.

Publishing has become a high-tech, low-charm scrum for money, fame and a Netflix deal. But Fate has ordained that I spend the remaining years of my career on a gentle merry-go-round of my own design. So how lucky am I?

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