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Industry Insider – Making a Living from Writing

14 March @ 10:00 - 11:00 GMT

Virtual Event Virtual Event

Writing is hard – and making it pay is even harder. An expert team from the Society of Authors will guide you on how to earn pennies and make them add up to pounds. What opportunities are great, and what are best avoided? How can you negotiate a better deal? From pursuing a portfolio career, the lowdown on competitions, to tips on publishing deals and where to get grants and funding.

This is the talk for you if you don’t want to starve in a garret. Vanessa Fox O’Loughlin chairs a panel discussion with authors, Abie Longstaff, Juliet E McKenna, and Katrina Naomi. 



  • Welcome, introductions and housekeeping from Vanessa Fox O’Loughlin (2 mins)
  • Vanessa Fox O’Loughlin chairs a panel discussion withauthors, Abie Longstaff, Juliet E McKenna, and Katrina Naomi. (40mins)
  • Q&A with audience (15 mins)
  • Summary and closing comments from Vanessa Fox O’Loughlin(3 mins)
  • This session will be moderated by Lilly Brend-Fish – Events & Outreach Assistant, SoA


What will this session cover? 

Our authors will look at ways to create alternate sources of income from events, residencies, workshops, writer-for-hire jobs, and ensure that you have every royalty avenue covered. Every writer, unless they are selling a million books a year, needs to look at enhancing their income. Join our authors to benefit from their extensive experience and get their top tips for creating your own opportunities.


Who is this session for? 

There are many income streams that writers can develop, beyond their book contact, and at every stage of their career. Find out from four authors who cross the spectrum from poetry to children’s books via popular fiction exactly how you can do this and get their tips for getting paid on time!


Send us your questions in advance 

If you would like to send questions in advance, email with [email protected] with ‘Making a Living from Writing’ in the subject header. We will prioritise questions sent in advance and answer as many as we can from the audience on the day.


SoA @ Home fundraising bookshop

Browse our virtual Bookshop.org store featuring books by authors and speakers taking part in the SoA @ Home Festival. When you make a purchase using our affiliate links, a percentage will go to the Authors’ Contingency Fund, providing hardship grants to authors in financial difficulty.


The Line-up 

Vanessa Fox O’Loughlin (Chair)

Vanessa Fox O’Loughlin writes crime as bestseller Sam Blake. She is a multiple No 1-bestseller and has been shortlisted for Irish Crime Novel of the Year on three occasions. Vanessa is the founder of the multi-award-winning writing resources website Writing.ie, The Inkwell Group publishing consultancy and the Murder One International Crime Writing Festival. She has also developed a vibrant online mentoring and coaching group for writers, Writers Ink.

Vanessa conceived and developed the National Emerging Writer Programme for Dublin City of Literature, and was the lead consultant and presenter for WritersWebTV. Vanessa is a past Chair of Irish PEN. She is represented by Simon Trewin.

Websites: www.writing.ie / www.samblakebooks.com | Twitter: @samblakebooks


Juliet E McKenna

Juliet E McKenna is a British fantasy author living in the Cotswolds, UK. Loving history, myth and other worlds since she first learned to read, her debut epic fantasy novel, The Thief’s Gamble, began The Tales of Einarinn in 1999, followed by The Aldabreshin Compass sequence, The Chronicles of the Lescari Revolution, and The Hadrumal Crisis trilogy. In 2018, The Green Man’s Heir began her current modern fantasy series rooted in British folklore. She also writes diverse shorter stories enjoying forays into dark fantasy, steampunk and SF. The Cleaving, a feminist retelling of Arthurian myth, will be published in May 2023.

Website: www.julietemckenna.com | Twitter: @JulietEMcKenna


Abie Longstaff

Abie Longstaff is the author of nearly 50 books for children (picture book to middle grade) including The Fairytale Hairdresser, The Magic Potions Shop, The Trapdoor Mysteries and How to Catch a Witch and a wide range of educational titles. Abie regularly appears at literary festivals and in schools. She gives mentoring and manuscript advice and sits on the Management Committee of the Society of Authors.

Website: www.abielongstaff.com | Twitter: @AbieLongstaff |


Katrina Naomi

Katrina Naomi’s poetic collaboration with Helen Mort, Same But Different, is published by Hazel Press (2021). Her third full collection is Wild Persistence (Seren, 2020), and she was grateful to have an Author’s Foundation award from the Society of Authors for work on this book. Katrina won the 2021 Keats-Shelley Prize. Her poetry has appeared in Poems on the Underground and on BBC Radio 4’s Front Row and Poetry Please.

She received an Arts Council/British Council Artists’ International Development award in 2018 to travel to Japan. Typhoon Etiquette, inspired by this trip, was published by Verve Poetry Press (2019). Katrina has a PhD in creative writing from Goldsmiths and teaches for Arvon, the Poetry School and Ty Newydd. She lives in Cornwall, where she also runs poetry surgeries for the Poetry Society. 

Website: https://www.katrinanaomi.co.uk/ | Twitter: @KatrinaNaomi



Need to know 


  • Attendees will have the option to turn on the live transcript option
  • If you require BSL interpretation for this event, please email [email protected]

Before the event

  • Once registered, you will be sent a confirmation email with the Zoom link
  • If the confirmation email doesn’t arrive in your inbox, please check your junk /spam email folder.
  • Please add [email protected] to your Safe Senders list so you receive our confirmation, and reminder emails

During the event

  • This online event will take place on Zoom Webinar; you will not be visible on screen but will be able ask questions via the Q&A function or interact via the chat box
  • This event will be recorded but you won’t be on screen
  • This event is 60 minutes.

After the event

  • Hashtag for this event: #SoAatHome
  • You’ll be able to catch the recording on our Vimeo channel



Book your place using the registration form below.

All #SoAatHome events are free but if you can afford to, please consider donating to our Authors’ Contingency Fund and we suggest a minimum donation of £5. The fund is to help professional authors experiencing financial hardship. DONATE HERE

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Financial support for authors in need through the health crisis and beyond

Since March 2020, the Authors’ Contingency Fund has distributed over £1 million in small grants to authors facing financial hardship due to COVID-19.

With at least 57% of authors facing financial losses during the pandemic, we have helped people struggling financially due to contractual, employment and event cancellations, others who have lost income due to illness, and others prevented from working because of caring responsibilities.

As the health crisis continues, applications for grants continue to come in, and our emergency funds are running low.

So, if you are in a position to help, please donate via the link below. If you are an author facing financial hardship, please click here to see if we can help.



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20% off your first year with discount code SOAFESTIVAL20

The Society of Authors is the UK’s biggest trade union for authors – representing more than 11,300 writers, illustrators, translators and other creative practitioners.

Our standard subscription rate is just £26.25 per quarter (£18.50 for students).

As an SoA member, you’ll get:

  • Access to all our SoA @ Home Festival events for free
  • Unlimited one-to-one professional advice
  • Membership of our online and real-world professional networks
  • A range of member-only discounts, including books, insurance and travel
  • And much more.




14 March
10:00 - 11:00 GMT
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Sophia A Jackson