February is that time of year when British authors get a welcome payment from those nice PLR people. Every time a book is loaned out of a library in the UK authors get a small credit and those credits mount up nicely, and they also give authors confirmation that somebody out there is actually reading our books, or not . . .
For the first twelve years that I received payments, it was good to see that my total number of loans were rising. This was entirely down to the fact that I was writing more books, but it was still good to see that every year more people were reading my stuff. Then three years ago that all changed. Dodgy Dave needed to pay for all those bankers' bonuses somehow and one of the ways was to destroy the library system. So libraries started closed and that's reflected in the number of loans.
Since that peak three years ago my loans have dropped by 35%, and that's despite more books coming out suggesting I've actually dropped, book for book, by around 50%. Back at the peak I had several books getting borrowed around two thousand times each year, but this time nothing was borrowed more than a thousand times.
Saddest of all was The Outlawed Deputy was loaned out zero times. That book was my first, published in 2001, and even last year it mustered some loans, but now it would no longer seem to be out there. Sob.