Tuesday, January 15, 2013

My PLR Top Ten, July 2011 - June 2012

Every year the Public Lending Right sends registered authors a statement estimating how many times their books were borrowed from UK libraries. To compensate for lost sales, the PLR pays about six pence per loan. There's a maximum payment threshold [£6600] to prevent bestselling authors from draining the PLR's precious coffers of cash.

More than 23,000 authors will get payments for the most recent PLR period [July 2011-June 2012], with just over 200 on the maximum amount. The fate of the PLR is in flux, as traditional publishing transitions to eBooks and cash-strapped councils close libraries. In the meantime, authors welcome this new year bonus.

I’m a minnow when it comes to PLR payments, never getting more than £500 in any given year. But I've been concentrating on screenwriting since 2007 and haven't written a new novel for five years, so the size of my payment has been tumbling. That trend continues as my dog-eared tomes disappear from libraries.

This time my most borrowed book was my last published novel - A Massacre in Marienburg, a Warhammer tome for Games Workshop's Black Library that is currently out of print. In fact all my novels on this list are out of print, although some are available as eBooks. Happily, the two graphic novels on the list are still in print.

My Fiends of the Eastern Front novels, plus the Rising Sun spin-off and comic serial compilation Stalingrad, continue to dominate even though they date back to 2005-2007. Horror also features in my Nightmare on Elm Street novel Suffer the Children, which appears as a standalone and in an omnibus edition.

Conspicuous by his absence is Russian rogue Nikolai Dante. I wrote three novels based on the 2000AD character. None of the books sold well [or at all, according to my publisher at the time] but all three and the omnibus collection were consistent favourites on my PLR list. This year all four are conspicuous by their absence.

This could be due to sampling error - the PLR results are estimates, based on indicative results from a fluctuating list of libraries. It could be the Dante books have finally fallen apart after years of use, or for some other reason. Anyway, here are my top ten tomes for July 2011 - June 2012 (with previous year's placing in brackets):-

1. (4) A Massacre in Marienburg (published Dec 08)
2. (2) Fiends of the Rising Sun (Jul 07)
3. (1) Heavy Metal Dredd (graphic novel, Apr 09)
4. (3) Fiends of the Eastern Front: Stalingrad (graphic novel, Oct 10)
5. (-) Fiends of the Eastern Front omnibus (Feb 07)
6. (5) Fiends of the Eastern Front: The Blood Red Army (Apr 06)
7. (-) Fiends of the Eastern Front: Twilight of the dead (Jul 06)
8. (8) Fiends of the Eastern Front: Operation Vampyr (Oct 05)
9. (-) A Nightmare on Elm Street: Suffer the Children (May 05)
10. (-) Ripped From a Dream: A Nightmare on Elm Street omnibus (Oct 06)

Bubbling under - Doctor Who: Amorality Tale; two different editions of The Complete Inspector Morse; and Starring Michael Caine.

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