Every year a wonderful organisation called the Public Lending Right sends registered authors a statement indicating how many times their books have been borrowed from British libraries in recent times. To compensate scribes for the lost sale, the PLR pays out 5.98 pence per loan [roughly 10 cents in American money]. If your total from all your registered titles is less than one pound, it gets held over. There's a maximum payment threshold of £6600, to prevent the likes of J K Rowling and other immensely popular authors draining the PLR's coffers. In total 23,869 authors are getting payments next month for the most recent PLR period [July 2005-June 2006], with 262 scribes getting the maximum amount.
As I noted last year, I’m a minnow in such matters. But I got a pleasant surprise on opening my new statement as the amount I’m getting this year is three times what I got last year. I’ll be sent a nice three-figure sum in February, thanks to two things – more people are borrowing my books from libraries, and I’m getting more books published. Alas, all my tomes from the 1990s are pretty much defunct in libraries, and my Sopranos programme guide is as good as gone, too. But everything else was borrowed at least 100 times according to the PLR and one title nearly a thousand times. Here's my top ten tomes for July 05 - June 06 (with previous year's placing in brackets):-
1. (-) Fiends of the Eastern Front: Operation Vampyr (Oct 05)
2. (8) A Nightmare of Elm Street: Suffer the Children (May 05)
3. (-) Nikolai Dante: Imperial Black (Sep 05)
4. (-) The Complete Inspector Morse: 2nd Edition (Mar 06)
5. (7) Nikolai Dante: The Strangelove Gambit (Jan 05)
6. (4) Doctor Who: The Domino Effect (Feb 03)
7. (9) Doctor Who: Amorality Tale (Apr 02)
8. (-) Nikolai Dante: Honour Be Damned! (Mar 06)
9. (5) Doctor Who: Empire of Death (Mar 04)
10. (1) Starring Michael Caine (Aug 03)
Bubbling under: Fiends of the Eastern Front: The Blood Red Army, Judge Dredd: Kingdom of the Blind (6th last year) and Judge Dredd: Bad Moon Rising (3rd last year).
Star performer has to be my first Fiends of the Eastern Front novel – it seems you can’t go wrong combining vampires and Nazis. My second Fiends novel nearly made the top ten, despite only being published in last couple of months during the PLR year. Freddy Krueger and Doctor Who also served me well, but the biggest surprise is appearances by all three of my Nikolai Dante novels for Black Flame. I don’t think they sold well, but they’ve proved popular at libraries – go figure. Thank you to everyone who borrowed one of my books from a library this past year, I hope you enjoyed what was inside them. Support your local library, it’s a brilliant resource.