Johnson, Gibson, and Dimita (2012)
|Johnson, Gibson, and Dimita (2012)|
|Title:||What Are Words Worth Now: A survey of Authors’ Earnings|
|Author(s):||Johnson, P., Gibson, J., Dimita, G.:|
|Citation:||P. Johnson, J. Gibson, G. Dimita, What Are Words Worth Now: A survey of Authors’ Earnings, London: ALCS (2014).|
|Key Related Studies:|
|About the Data|
|Data Description:||2454, of all types of writers invited to take part. This data was refers to financial year 2014/2015.
56% of respondents were mend and 44% women. 17% are 44 or under, 54% were 45-64, and 29% were over 65.
Among the respondents of the survey there were two groups. Professional authors who dedicate a majority of their time to writing and “all Writers” who are a wide range of writers where time spent is not taken into account, includes part and full time authors.
The 2007 ALCS data, from “What are Words Worth” used was from the 2004/2005 financial year.
Research carried out and published in 2000 by the Society of Authors is also used.
|Data Type:||Primary and Secondary data|
|Secondary Data Sources:|
|Data Collection Methods:|
|Data Analysis Methods:|
|Cross Country Study?:||No|
|Government or policy study?:|
|Time Period(s) of Collection:||
Writers exist in a great many guises and the common perception of the ‘typical’ author is often far from the everyday realities of the profession. This research aimed to seek the truth about authors’ earnings and update our previous research What are Words Worth? published in 2007. We asked all types of ‘writer’ to fill in this survey, including members of ALCS, the Society of Authors, the Writers’ Guild of Great Britain and the National Union of Journalists. Some of the participants are full-time writers, some are part-time and others have another profession. All their views were valuable to us and taken into account in painting an accurate picture of the ways in which authors earn their money from writing today.
Main Results of the Study
In 2005 40% of authors earned a living writing, this has dropped to 11.5% in 2013. Digital publishing has increased to the third most important source of income for writers in 2013 overall full- and part-time authors income has fallen,.
Professional authors income has dropped by 29% from £15450 in real terms in 2005 to £11000 in 2013. This £11000 compares to an average income of £16850 in 2013 in the UK.
The typical median income (in real terms) for all writers has dropped from £8810 in 2000 to £5012 in 2005 and to £4000 in 2013.
Over 69% of respondents said their contract allowed them to retain copyright which allows them more control over how their creation is used. Where this was most prevalent was in adult fiction (91%0 and the least prevalent in audio/visual and academic writing.
57% of respondents signed a “rights reversion” clause, of these 57%, 38% had used or relied on the reversion clause and 70% of them went on to earn more money from the work in question.
Over 25% of writers have self-published with a typical return of 40% on their investment and 86% of the self-publishers said they would do it again. .The authors warn that the drop in full time writers could decrease the overall contribution of writers to the UK economy.
Policy Implications as Stated By Author
If authors are not protected it could have an effect on the overall amount they contribute toward the economy in the UK.