Philip Pullman Calls For Fairer Wages For Writers

Happy Sad Queen

Philip Pullman, author of ‘His Dark Materials’ and current president of the Society of Authors, has called for writers to be rewarded with fairer wages for their work. The Society of Authors has released an open letter to publishers, pointing to a recent survey that showed the ‘median income of a professional author is now just £11,000, with only 11.5% of UK writers making a living solely from writing.’

An interesting read, though reading the publishers’ responses near the end of the article left me feeling somewhat disillusioned. The way they speak makes me think fairer wages aren’t coming to writers anytime soon. I’m seeing more and more why established authors always advise people to take the self-publishing route.

© 2016, Gavin Zanker. Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

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3 thoughts on “Philip Pullman Calls For Fairer Wages For Writers”

  1. Do you think self-publshing will help? I’m not so sure. It’s not news that the money writers make nowhere near compensates them for the quality of their work or the time they put into it. This is not peculiar to writers. Most writers I know have day jobs. They make more money from teaching and speaking and giving workshops than they do from writing. IMO this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. If their livelihood isn’t entirely dependent on their writing, they’re freer to take chances, to write for themselves rather than “the market.” Monetary value depends on what consumers are willing to pay, and most writing is not valued by most consumers. Some kinds of writing are: romances, thrillers, mysteries. If you want to write romances, thrillers, or mysteries, and if you’re able to crank out one or two or three good ones a year, and if you’re good at self-promotion and lucky to boot, you might be able to make a pretty good living. It really comes down to a choice: Do you write because you’ve got things to say and stories to tell, or do you write in order to make a living? A few get to have it both ways, but most of us have to choose.

    1. Great comment – you bring up a lot of valid points. I agree that writing is not something you choose do for a living unless you’re intrinsically motivated. The low money just isn’t attractive enough for most people, so like you say, they turn to teaching and speaking. Personally, I don’t mind making less money to be able to do what I love every day.

      From my research I think self-publishing will always be a much better choice if you decide to try and make a full-time living from writing books. You could be waiting months or even years to be picked up by a publisher, and even then you’re stuck with the terms they decide to give you. When you self-publish then you don’t need to sell half as many copies to take home the same amount of money due to recieving a massively higher percentage on each sale. If you’re willing to put the extra work in to your brand as an author then the potential in self-publishing is infinitely higher.

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