20 30, Friday 29 November 1991, London

I do not think I have written a single diary entry throughout November; this is certainly the first entry for a good few weeks. I did predict such a dearth, and, indeed, I have worked hard and consistently on the Management Report. I set myself a deadline of 30 November, and I delivered the final manuscript to Vivien today, on the 29th. Since I started writing on the 28 August, I have managed the whole book - around 50,000 words - in three months. I am staggered I’ve done as much and on time. I’ve impressed myself, but whether it will impress others I have no idea. I was rather put out to hear from Vivien that the expert readers (Messrs. Stern and Grubb) could only promise to return the manuscript after Christmas i.e. in one month’s time - surely they can read it in less a month, if it’s only taken me three months to write it!

How would I assess it? Am I pleased with it? Do I think it will sell? I could have written a better introduction, I should write an executive summary, and the second half chapters are probably more interesting and better written than the first half. But, with those provisos, I think the book is not at all bad. Considering that there is nothing similar on the market, I would expect it to sell quite well; not as well as the East European book (which has now topped 700 sales, meaning a total turnover of over £100,000 and total royalties to me of over £18,000) but it may near 500, if I’m lucky, and at a price of say £250, the turnover could be similar. My initial income from the report will be the £1,500 advance and the £750 production fee; so, even if I didn’t earn more than £2,250, I’l probably feel I’ve been paid for the extra work and time put into it over and above my normal job.

Other exciting work developments. John Leslie is coming along a treat. I wish, perhaps, I had had just a little more time to spend on the Red Stripe (my name for the ‘East European Energy Report’), but I will give it more next year. John is doing a good job - just at the right level to take on the responsibility. I feel quite privileged to have such a good, strong team working for me. Where once I was an outsider in the FTBI office, I feel that my team of four is now a strong centre of gravity. The Red Stripe, meanwhile, is selling very well. At the last count, subscriptions were up at 75, with orders still coming in thick and fast - sometimes five or six a day. I predicted we would have a hundred by the end of the year, but it looks as though we shall exceed that.

I have finally sorted out my pay increases. In October, I received a 10% salary rise as well as the annual inflation award of around 3%. But, I was obliged to go back to Dennis and tell him that the salary increase was not sufficient recompense for starting the Red Stripe and that we had agreed there should be a contract component. I heard nothing more and was very reluctant to trouble the boss again. However, I found out from his secretary that a £4,000 rise had been sanctioned. I waited until my November pay slip came through, and, when there was no sign of the extra, I called up the accounts people. I think, in fact, they must have forgotten about it, but they said it just hadn’t come through in time for November. This means that I should get three months of that £4,000 contract in December i.e. £1,000 on top of my normal pay. Whooppee. The contract should bring my annual wage to around £38,000.

December 1991

Paul K Lyons


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