Harry Jones contacted his publishers, John Hale, on 26 June 1980 to give advance warning that his new western, Assassin Trail, was close to completion and submitted the completed manuscript on 14 August.
Hale had already stated unequivocally that the maximum length for westerns was 45,000 words and that nearer to 40,000 was preferred. On 27 August 1980 they accepted the book in principle, but pointed out that it was 54,000 words long and would not be published unless shortened by 20%.
No doubt swearing fluently at Hale for not taking him on his word as to word count Jones wrote to Hale in September apologising for his “crass inability to count the words right.” As if!
The edited version of Assassin Trail was submitted to Hale on 24 October and Hale agreed to publish it on 28 October – both parties had signed the contract by 12 November. Jones completed the marketing blurb in late November and, in the following March, Hale confirmed a publication date of 30 July 1981.