So last night I attended the party for PLR’s 40th anniversary. It was schmazing (I know from TV trailers that this is a word the yoot now use so strap yourselves in for more of my slangtastic stuff). PLR stands for Public Lending Right and was a law that was put on the statues 40 years ago requiring the government to make funds available to pay authors a dividend whenever one of their books is loaned out. It has recently been extended to audio and e-books as well. Each year, as an author, I get a modest sum of money deposited into my account, which is both very welcome for its own sake and also a wonderful boost to know that people are loaning out my books.
While at the party, I did a bit of author celeb spotting. For example, Joanne Harris was there. Like right there. In front of me. I could have stolen a canapé from her hand (and then had a story to tell my grandkids about the time that Joanne Harris decked me at a party). Instead, I just did lots of “I’m not worthy” staring.
I missed out on getting a wee drawing of myself by Chris Riddell because I wasn’t sharp-elbowed enough. But I gave him a hard, admiring look from a distance. He kept his head down drawing so he did not notice my glares of approval.
There was a truly brilliant Q&A session in which ALCS’s deputy chief executive Barbara Hayes interviewed the author and activist Maureen Duffy on the fight to get PLR into law. Maureen really hit home how librarians and authors need to work together to ensure governments properly remunerate authors. I did get my shit together enough to thank her before I left. But only because someone had foolishly left her alone for five minutes so I could sidle up with my creepy admiration and accost her with who I was and why I was so grateful to her. She squeezed my hand and nodded amicably, which may have been a coded signal to security to move me the fuck on but I was on the move anyway.
One day I will attend a PLR event and leave my imposter syndrome self at home. Last night was not that night. Many thanks to Sade Fadipe, the lovely children’s author who kept me company, and to the glamorous woman from South Africa who told me about their campaign to have it set up in their country.
If you are an author – and I cannot say this emphatically enough – please, please, please sign up for PLR and also ALCS. It’s your right and it is money that you earned by writing your book. Don’t miss out on it!
I am also a member of Society of Authors, who gave the card that we members signed to the folks there and I can also say that it is a great organisation for checking your contracts and connecting with other authors.
Thanks PLR for a great night and for the rather spiffing commemorative pen given at the end of the night as a gift to all who attended. I shall treasure it, but not as much as I treasure your ongoing work.