Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Long Live Libraries!

No. 1 title in UK libraries

It's that time of the year again, when PLR (Public Lending Right) payments are made for loans of books from UK libraries. These payments refer to loans made between June 2013 and June 2014, and the unicorn always finds it interesting to see how the loan figures compare to sales of those books over the same period.

I did a blog post here on my best-selling and top-earning (not always this same thing!) ebook titles.

Here are the unicorn's Top Ten loaned titles:

1. Sword of Light (Pendragon Legacy) - 3293 loans
2. Crown of Dreams (Pendragon Legacy) - 1013
3. Lance of Truth (Pendragon Legacy) - 558
4. Grail of Stars (Pendragon Legacy) - 525
5. The Cleopatra Curse (Seven Fabulous Wonders) - 488
6. Song Quest (Echorium Sequence) - 429
7. The Mausoleum Murder (Seven Fabulous Wonders) - 309
8. The Great Pyramid Robbery (Seven Fabulous Wonders) - 306
9. The Amazon Temple Quest (Seven Fabulous Wonders) - 294
10. The Olympic Conspiracy (Seven Fabulous Wonders) - 207

It's good to see my recent Pendragon Legacy series about King Arthur's daughter at the top of this list, with both the hardcovers and paperbacks loaning well in UK libraries. "Sword of Light" was in the Summer Reading Challenge when it was first published in 2012, which might account for the greater number of loans for that title... more copies stocked means more possible loans?

Surprisingly, the Seven Fabulous Wonders are still loaning solidly, if unspectacularly, more than ten years after their publication. Since these were paperback originals, I just hope the library copies are not getting too grubby! Song Quest is in there too, but is cheating slightly since it has had five different paper editions since its first publication in 1999. It also won the Branford Boase Award.

"I am the Great Horse" has been knocked back to 12th place in the UK library stakes this year, yet remains my current top selling (and top earning) ebook worldwide. Does this suggest Alexander the Great's horse might be more popular in America? Or that ebooks might be replacing library loans for titles read by adults as well as younger readers?

Two of my books had zero loans - Dark Quetzal (Echorium Sequence #3) and Magical Horses (my pop-up illustrated title). But the library figures are sampled so it's possible you have read one of these books in a library that did not take part in the sampling this year.

Seeing my PLR statement always makes the unicorn eager to write more children's books, whereas catching a glimpse of my royalty statements usually makes him want to gallop off into the enchanted forest to bury his glittery horn in a dark hole... not sure why, since the rate per loan is (usually) quite a bit less than the author's royalty share per book sold. But writing books is not just about the money, is it? If it were, there would be no unicorns left in this world. It's about the readers out there, still enjoying these books so long after publication. And it's about the libraries, who are clearly still providing a valuable service for those young readers who might not be able to buy the books or download the ebooks.

Long live libraries!

Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Free eBook - Dark Quetzal Giveaway!

A New Year gift for my Song Quest fans... until January 4th, you can download the Kindle edition of DARK QUETZAL (Book 3 of the Echorium Sequence) completely free of charge from Amazon.

Yes, I know it's traditional to give away the first book in a series, and Dark Quetzal is the third book in my series about the blue-haired Singers who live on the Isle of Echoes and control their world with the power of Song, but the unicorn would like to reward people who have read Books 1 and 2 and might want to complete the trilogy, and I'm not about to argue with a mythical beast waving his sharp horn. Besides, if you're new to this series, you can always keep it on your Kindle (or other device with a free Kindle app) until you get around to reading the first two books.

Also, if you're very quick, UK readers might still be able to download the first two Echorium titles Song Quest and Crystal Mask at the old 2014 prices, before the new 20% VAT rate on all ebooks purchased in the UK comes into force on January 1st. (American readers don't need to panic - the prices in the US will stay the same, though other European countries may also see a local VAT rise.)



So what are you waiting for? The first book in this trilogy won an award, so the judges (who included author Jacqueline Wilson that year) must have enjoyed it... and in case you don't believe me, here's a picture of the actual award, which the unicorn makes me keep on the mantelpiece to impress people.

Branford Boase Award
It looks like a small book, and the "cover" opens up to reveal a little silver plaque engraved with the name and date of the award (2000 in mine). The butterfly and the stars you can see on the front are silver as well, and they turn as black as the box if I neglect it, which means the unicorn has to keep reminding me to polish it - he's such an old nag sometimes!

Muse: Sigh, some authors are never satisfied... my advice is to take advantage of the free download while she's in a generous holiday mood. Here's the link again:


* Free until January 4th 2015 *

Sunday, 21 December 2014

Solstice Review

Today is the winter solstice in the northern hemisphere, the longest night of the year. Tomorrow, the days will start to get longer and the nights shorter. So do not despair, fellow unicorn riders... there is a glitter of light in the dark window of this blog, and it'll be summer before you know it.

I realise there have not been many posts here lately. I have an excuse. I've been busy working with students on their essays (see Royal Literary Fund Fellow on the right), and a unicorn cannot do two things at once. I am in the middle of writing a new book, but at the moment do not know when or how this will be published. All I can tell you at the moment is that it's YA romance and contains sexy angels, so will probably come out under a different name to avoid confusion with my other books... but I haven't decided yet whether I'll tell you what that name is, or let you guess!

Meanwhile, my ebook sales continue to rise as more people get hold of e-readers. I can't report ebook figures for my Pendragon Legacy series since these are missing from my statements, but I know how much they have earned me this year for sales made in the period July 2013 to June 2014 (there is a time lag of 6 months in the reports from my publisher). So this year I'll do two Top 5 lists - one for sales, and the other for author income - as the unicorn thinks gross income is a more genuine way to compose bestseller lists, particularly with ebooks where price promotions can skew the results.

TOP 5 BEST SELLING eBOOKS by sales quantity (the traditional list):

1. I am the Great Horse
2. The Great Pyramid Robbery
3. Spellfall
4. Crystal Mask
5. Seven Fabulous Wonders Omnibus

(My Pendragon books would probably fit somewhere near the top of this list but the figures are missing -
naughty publisher.)

TOP 5 BEST SELLING eBOOKS by author earnings (the most important list from a unicorn's point of view):

1. I am the Great Horse
2. Grail of Stars (via. my publisher)
3. The Great Pyramid Robbery
4. Sword of Light (via. my publisher)
5. Seven Fabulous Wonders Omnibus

So the winner for 2014, hitting the top of BOTH ebook lists (which must mean he's twice as popular), is...

 Get hold of him now before the VAT increase!*

* Note: on 1st January 2015, the VAT charged on all ebooks downloaded in the UK will rise from 3% to 20%. This is not the unicorn's fault.


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