Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Library patrons of Australia, I salute you

And the winner is... African Sky

Sometimes people are a little embarrassed to tell me they've borrowed one of my books from their local library, because they think they're depriving me of income. Other people make a point of telling me they only borrow my books and never buy them, and these are the people I always ensure get the expensive shout when we're a the pub.

But the truth is that those people who think they're cheating me should not worry, and those readers who think they are pulling a swifty on me should eat pooh, because libraries are actually a win-win for writers and readers.

You may not know this, but I, as a writer of books, get an annual payment based on the estimated number of borrowings of my books. And, cheapskates take note, this payment is coming out of YOUR TAXES. HAHAHAHAHAHA.

For all of its sins, the Federal Government operates an excellent little thing called the Public Lending Rights (PLR) scheme. PLR works under the assumption that if a public library offers my books to readers for free then they are depriving me of the stupendous royalites I would have received if those books had been purchased. And, not wanting to infringe copyright, the Government pays authors an allowance to keep us happy.

We're not talking big money here, far from it, but with six novels in print I'm finding that my annual PLR payment is quite a tidy little sum, thank you very much. Today I received my annual statement, for the year 2009-2010, from the PLR people (and the promise of some cash, to be paid into my bank account shortly).

I won't go into the numbers here, but librarians I've spoken to tell me that my books are quite frequently borrowed. A would-be reader from Tasmania told me the other day that all of my books were on-loan from her local library, which was no good for her, as she had gone in search of them, but good for me.

What I can tell you from the PLR statement is which of my books was the most popular with library goers. It is (minor drum roll, please), AFRICAN SKY.

Yes, AFRICAN SKY. I was a bit surprised, too. AFRICAN SKY is my only historical novel (set during WWII) and it tends to polarise readers. It's the one people always want to tell me about, and not always for good reasons. This is the book that people either love most of all, or hate. Nothing in between. It also happens to be the book that is most published overseas. Go figure.

In case you are remotely interested, the order of most borrowed TP books to least is:

1. African Sky

2. Safari

3. Silent Predator

4. Zambezi

5. Far Horizon.

If you haven't read African Sky, don't worry about trying to borrow it from your local library, as it's probably out. (I did notice a few copies in Target, however, selling for a very reasonable $12.50 a copy).

I almost hate to ask this (given that I really don't care what the answer is, as I like all of my books and don't have a favourite), but do you have a favourite among my books?


Anonymous said...

Sorry dude (because it feels like favouring your unwanted child) but African Sky it is.


Kathleen said...

Hi My favorite is Silent Predator. Sadly only read two of your books. I have been trying to track them down. Amazon no longer delivers to SA so have to search all our book stores. You have a really good approach to writing about Africa. Will now try to track down Africa Sky next.

tonypark said...

Anon, I was thinking of you when I wrote this post.

Kathleen, have you tried www.kalahari.net? last time I checked they had most of the books for sale in SA at good prices.

Anonymous said...

Oh, the shame of having predictable predilections!

But since I'm anonymously outed, a future book requiring the historically accurate wearing of breeches (by both hero and villain) would be nice one day.


Flea said...

I also really liked AFRICAN SKY, SAFARI and SILENT PREDATOR had a nice twist to it and the boys really liked IVORY's action. So can't really tell, they are all so different and great reads.

Les said...

All these books have different settings and characters so it is impossible to pick the best one.

you must try loot.co.za or as Tony says Kalahari.net they have most TP's books.

ali g said...

All good.
Read Far Horizon before stepping foot in Africa for the first time and now having been there twice must now have a re read as will be able to recognise so many places mentioned in Kruger that are featured in the book.
Delta coming up is brilliant and looking forward to the final print. LOFs I'm sure will love it.

Crookedpaw said...

Okay, so now I'm curious. What exactly about African Sky polarises your readers? There wasn't anything that I could see.

It was a cracking good adventure yarn as far as I'm concerned; nothing more, nothing less.

This has really got me buzzing, and I think it warrants closer scrutiny.

I'll get back to you.


dozycow said...

Sorry Tony - it is too hard to choose a favourite as they are all great reads!
I loved African Sky, not least because it combined Africa with flying & 'planes, and have re-read Safari & Zambezi so far....
REALLY looking forward to the release of Delta !!

Anonymous said...

I have read 4 of your books and I got addicted bcoz they are such a good read. Firstly I would like to say thank you for giving Zimbabwe a chance despite the unbearable conditions there. It is indeed a beautiful land and it's a pity what's happening there. Secondly I noticed that when ever you refer to a black person in your books, you label them by tribe which is wrong. Instead of a Shona man or Ndebele woman why not just say an african man or woman? I think the practice of distinguishing people by tribe is unneccessary and dangerous, we don't want a situation like what happened in Rwanda with the Hutsi's & Tutsi's.Also it dsn't hurt to check the spellings of african words with an african who knows how to spell the names properly.Overall good job.

Proud black Zimbo.