Friday, January 20, 2012

Searchlight, Nevada

When unhappy with his press release, Ralph rewrote it and sent changes to Northwest. When dissatisfied with Northwest’s marketing, he wrote demanding that they comply with the terms of their agreement.

By letter dated January 22, 1996, Northwest’s account executive told Ralph that 6,800 copies of Searchlight, Nevada had been ordered and shipped. It didn’t say who placed the orders or where they shipped them, but said that another 2,500 copies had been ordered by the chain Books A Million. Northwest promised royalty statements in about three weeks.

On his 1996 Form 1040, Ralph reported $2,600 in gross royalties from his writing activity.

In late 1993, after signing with Northwest for Searchlight, Nevada, Ralph began researching Nevada Nights, San Joaquin Dawn. He wanted to document the difficulties that women face when attempting a break from prostitution. “The story’s never been done before to any degree of authenticity,” he said, explaining that he thought it was commercially viable.

Ralph, however, had learned that rooms at brothels were equipped with listening devices. Therefore he met prostitutes at other locations on “out calls,” paying by credit card. In 1994, during January, February, April, May, June, and July, he spent from one to six days a month in Nevada on “out calls.” He successfully encouraged ten prostitutes to leave their profession. As of his trial, he hadn’t finished Nevada Nights, San Joaquin Dawn.

Some time after signing with Northwest on Searchlight, Nevada, Ralph submitted the 450-page Lightning at Dawn. He thought that Northwest only required a joint venture payment for first novels, and so if Northwest agreed to publish Lightning at Dawn, he’d not have to pay anything. He also tried marketing Boys and Girls Together, but stopped when he was told that there was no need or market for that type of short stories at the time.

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