Britain’s creative industries generate over £101.5bn a year for the UK economy, and the creative economy employs one in every 11 working people. The UK publishing industry makes a significant contribution to the creative industries as a whole, with a turnover of £5.7bn in 2017.
But this success can only continue if authors and other creators are adequately remunerated for their work. It is imperative that authors can make a living from their writing, otherwise the supply of new and innovative writing will simply dry up. As the results of ALCS’ 2018 survey highlight, authors’ earnings are in decline. The median annual income of a professional author is £10,500, which is well below the minimum wage and represents a 42% drop in real terms since 2005.
What are we asking for?
Support from Industry
We are asking publishers to do more to ensure that profits are fairly shared along the value chain. This is in the long-term interest of both authors and the publishing industry. Our asks of publishers are summarised in the F.A.I.R. acronym:
- Fair terms: All publishers should sign up to our CREATOR principles (see below).
- Accounting: Transparent and clear accounting to show exactly how much publishers pay authors, illustrators and translators.
- Increased shares: Publishers should commit to paying authors a higher proportion of turnover, and increase advances and escalators.
- Redistribution: to a wider pool, not just celebrities, but writers from across society. And publish how author share is distributed in accounts.
We believe strongly that authors should not be expected to work for free. See our Festivals, Teaching and Appearances page for more information.
Support from Government
We welcome the Government’s support for the creative industries and the Creative Industries Sector Deal. However we are also calling on the UK Government to place greater emphasis on supporting writers, translators, illustrators and other creators, to ensure that the creative industries can continue to thrive. This includes:
- Support for self-employed workers: our members tend to be self-employed, and we believe the tax and benefits regime for the self-employed needs to be strengthened. See our Tax and Benefits page.
- Support for the EU Copyright Directive: The Directive aims to modernise copyright law for the digital age and contains various provisions to support authors, scriptwriters, publishers and other creators. If agreed by the EU, we urge the Government to introduce these important provisions into UK law as soon as possible. See our Copyright page.
- Access to funding: The Government needs to ensure that funding streams remain available for creators and the creative industries, particularly after Brexit when sources of funding will be lost. See our Access to funding page.
A selection of written evidence we have submitted to Government and industry in relation to author remuneration.