The Business of Being an Author -  étude britannique, avril 2015
48 pages
English

The Business of Being an Author - étude britannique, avril 2015

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The Business of Being an Author A Survey of Author’s Earnings and Contracts Researchers Professor Johanna Gibson, Queen Mary University of London Professor Phillip Johnson, Cardiff University Dr Gaetano Dimita, Queen Mary University of London April 2015 www.busman.qmul.ac.uk Queen Mary is one of the UK’s leading research institutions with an equally enviable reputation for teaching excellence The information given in this publication is correct at the time of going to press. The College reserves the right to modify or cancel any statement in it and accepts no responsibility for the consequences of any such changes. For the most up-to-date information, please refer to the website qmul.ac.uk This prospectus has been printed on environmentally friendly material from well-managed sources. 2 The Business of Being an Author Contents Executive Summary 5 1. Methodology 6 2. An author’s life and earnings 8 3. Contractual clauses 12 4. Advances, royalty rates and moral rights 14 5. Reversion clauses and self-publication 16 6. Advice 17 7.

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Publié le 22 avril 2015
Nombre de lectures 5
Langue English
Poids de l'ouvrage 3 Mo

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The Business of Being an Author
A Survey of Author’s Earnings
and Contracts
Researchers
Professor Johanna Gibson, Queen Mary University of London
Professor Phillip Johnson, Cardiff University
Dr Gaetano Dimita, Queen Mary University of London
April 2015
www.busman.qmul.ac.ukQueen Mary is one of the UK’s leading research
institutions with an equally enviable reputation
for teaching excellence
The information given in this publication is correct at the time
of going to press. The College reserves the right to modify or
cancel any statement in it and accepts no responsibility for the
consequences of any such changes. For the most up-to-date
information, please refer to the website qmul.ac.uk
This prospectus has been printed on environmentally
friendly material from well-managed sources.
2 The Business of Being an AuthorContents
Executive Summary 5
1. Methodology 6
2. An author’s life and earnings 8
3. Contractual clauses 12
4. Advances, royalty rates and moral rights 14
5. Reversion clauses and self-publication 16
6. Advice 17
7. The bargaining position of authors 18
Key fndings 19
Appendix 1 20
Appendix 2 35
The Business of Being an Author 34 The Business of Being an AuthorExecutive summary
1 A survey of authors was carried out between January and 5 A substantial number of authors will retain their copyright
March 2014 with approximately 35,000 writers being in the work (42%) with most others retaining it most or
contacted and asked to complete the survey. There were some of the time. Only 12% never retain any copyright in
2,454 respondents (7% response rate) starting the survey their work after publication.
and 1,477 respondents (4.2% response rate) completing it.
6 It appears that advances continue to be paid, with two- The results therefore present a fair refection of UK authors
thirds of respondents having received an advance at some in 2014.
time which rises to over three-quarters of professional
2 The survey found that earnings of authors have been falling authors. Nevertheless, this is a decline since 2006 and,
in real terms over the last decade with average current furthermore, the size of these advances is also falling.
earnings of £16,809. This means that in real terms authors
7 A substantial majority of all authors assert their right to earn 19% less today than they did in 2005. Professional
be identifed and do not waive their right to object to authors, those who spend more than 50% of their
derogatory treatment. Furthermore, it appears that disputes working life engaged in self-employed writing, do not fare
between publishers and authors over moral rights are quite much better. Their average earnings are £28,340 which
rare with only 1 in 20 authors ever having faced such a represents a fall of 8% since 2005.
dispute. It appears that relationships between publishers
3 There is a high concentration of earnings with a small and authors have improved since 2006.
number of writers earning most of the money. Therefore
8 Self-publication appears to enable writers to utilise further when the typical ‘median’ earnings are considered the
value from old works. A quarter of authors had self-picture is more concerning. The typical earnings of all
published a book at some point and the most successful authors are only £4,000 and those of professional authors
self-publishing ventures have an average rate of return of are merely £11,000 which represents a drop of 29% in
154% (and a typical ‘median’ rate of return of 40%). It real terms since 2005. This means that a professional
remains a risky venture, however, as the bottom 20% of author is earning less than the minimum wage from his
self-publishers made losses of £400 or more.or her writing.
9 Authors have a very strong perception that writers as a 4 It also appears that young writers suffer disproportionately
profession have a substantially weaker bargaining position as writers earn the most in their mid-40s to 50s. Further,
than they did fve years ago, but the cumulative results there remains a signifcant gender pay gap amongst
of the individual respondent authors suggest this is not professional authors (with women earning 80% of that
actually the case. earned by men). However, the gender gap has essentially
disappeared in relation to writers as a whole group.
The Business of Being an Author 51. Methodology
1.1 Introduction 1.3 Response to the survey
In late 2013, the Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society The survey opened when ALCS sent an email to members on
(ALCS) commissioned the researchers to devise and conduct 15th January 2014 and it ended when the survey was closed
a survey of writers. The survey was intended to deal with two on 16th March 2014.
issues: writers’ earnings and contractual issues. Its purpose
Every member of ALCS and the Society of Authors who had was, in part, to be an update of an earlier survey conducted
provided those organisations with an email address was in 2006 by the Centre of Intellectual Property Policy and
1 contacted and asked to complete the survey. The email Management (CIPPM) at Bournemouth University . However,
included a link to the survey on surveymonkey. It is estimated the two surveys covered different ground in many respects.
that 35,000 people were contacted and asked to complete
the survey.1.2 Structure and conduct of the survey
The survey was conducted online using Surveymonkey In total 2,454 people (7% response rate) started the survey
(the survey is at Appendix 2). It included a maximum of and 1,477 people (4.2% response rate) answered the last
67 questions devised in sections whereby if a respondent 3question (ie 977 people did not complete the survey).
answered “no” to an opening question in a section they
would be moved to the next section. Further, the nature of 1.4 Reporting caveats
Surveymonkey means that it was possible for respondents to
This report is based solely on what respondents said in answer some, but not all, of the questions. This meant that
the survey. There was no attempt to verify any information many respondents started the survey and answered some
objectively or to ask for evidence of anything stated by a questions but then did not continue.
respondent. Accordingly, if a respondent gave incorrect
2 information this would be recorded and treated as accurate. The survey was entirely anonymous so as to enable
Further, the results made it clear that respondents, despite respondents to give frank answers about their salary and
being asked to produce accurate fgures, gave estimates and contracts.
round fgures. For example, a respondent might report that
A prize draw was available to those who completed the they earned £10,000 from self-employed writing when in
survey. To avoid participants having to identify themselves in reality the precise fgure was £10,353 or £9,759. Assuming
the survey an email address was established. The address these rounding estimates went both ways then it is likely that
was provided to respondents if they completed the survey. across the sample this error would be averaged out.
A respondent could then decide, independently, whether to
We have taken the reported information at face value; give their name to be put in the prize draw. This draw was
accordingly we have not excluded outliers or otherwise conducted entirely by ALCS and the researchers were not
4unusual data. This absence of “smoothing” of the data involved in the draw itself.
means that some results may be exaggerated by unusually
large or small responses. However, these wide discrepancies
are not unexpected as they refect what is a very diverse
marketplace.
Further, as respondents could avoid answering questions
which were not relevant to them many of the questions had
far fewer responses (than the 1,477 who completed the
survey).
1 2 Martin Kretschmer and Philip Harwick, Authors’ earnings from copyright IP address were collected by surveymonkey as standard, but no names,
and non-copyright sources: A survey of 25,000 British and German writers addresses or other identifying information was requested in the survey.
3(December 2007). The survey ran from Spring 2006 to 30 June 2006. It The demographics of the respondents are in Appendix 1, Table 14.1, 14.2
was based on earnings in the 2004-5 tax year: see pp 73-4. and 14.3.
4 Save in one instance in relation to self-publishing, the fact is noted there
however.
6 The Business of Being an Author1.5 Abbreviations
The results are reported using the following abbreviated
labels:
Abbreviation Explanation
Adult Fiction Fiction (other than children’s and YA)
Non-fction Non-fction popular (excluding travel)
Technical Professional/technical
Children’s Fiction Children’s (and young adult) fction
Educational Educational / teaching (school age)
This includes an author who writes any
Audio-visual audio-visual material whether they write in
5printed matter as well
Children’s non-fction
Children’s non-fction
(other than educational)
Professional author See Section 2.1
Occupational writer
Someone who identifes their “primary
occupation” as author (whether a
Author

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