OK I’m a bit slow on the uptake since PLR was actually set up in January but it’s taken until now for me to fill out the necessary form and sign up. I had known it was a big issue for the Irish Writers’ Union but had thought up until today it was still in the Governments “To Do” pile – along with legislating on fertility treatment or dealing with the implementation of the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child.

Well this afternoon I got an email from my publishers directing me to the PLR website.  I’m very excited by this news.  So far today it’s been greeted with looks of blank incomprehension from anyone I’ve bounced about it to.  You see PLR isn’t exactly the most glamorous of income sources an author can look forward to.  If the Irish rates (which aren’t mentioned on the website as far as I can see) are anything like the ones that have been operating in the UK for years the amounts we are talking about can be in cents rather than in Euros.  But that’s not why I’m looking forward to getting statements in the future.

PLR, you see, is paid on your book every time someone borrows it from the library.  It’s the only way you can really get an idea of how popular the book is for library users and it’s just another way of getting an idea of your readership.

Devil hasn’t been published in the UK yet, it’s due to go on sale there in May, but when it does I’ll be able to sign up for PLR there as well.  I might struggle to earn a fiver per quarter between the two but at least I’ll be able to do the maths and work out how often my book has been borrowed.

In this day and age it’s a comforting thing to know.  As the global economy continues it’s freefall and the headlines are full of financial doom and gloom it can be a dispiriting time to start out as a writer.  I’ve been told several times that people intend to borrow Devil from the library rather than buy a copy but up until now I had no way of knowing whether they actually had.

I’m still new enough at this that I get a kick out of seeing someone pick up Devil from the shelves and flick through it.  I’m always on the lookout for it in second hand and charity shops because that means someone bought it, even if they didn’t keep it (haven’t found one yet though – I’m hoping that’s an indication of my brilliance as a writer…)

Anyway, PLR is up and running in Ireland and online as well.  I’ll keep  you posted but it’ll be a while before I get my first statement…