Showing posts with label ALCS. Show all posts
Showing posts with label ALCS. Show all posts

Thursday 16 March 2017

Busy Ducks...

The good news is my trip to Bath is booked, so I'm hoping the weather will be dry even if it's not warm when I eventually go.

The first batch of manuscripts (for the writers' club's national competition) are on my desk waiting for me to start reading and giving a few lines of feedback on each one.

And my diary for the next few months is filling up quickly, so I'm glad I got my weekend away booked before these other appointments came in.

The other good news- well it is to me- is that I have a small payment from ALCS this year, so that will be saved up toward funding a future research trip to who-knows-where...

Passing visitors...
It's also getting time to tidy up the garden, now that the buds are opening on the trees and bushes; and the small birds are becoming regular visitors.

So it was quite unexpected last week when a pair of Ducks flew into the garden for a quick snack and wander round.

Of course they chose the least photogenic area of the garden to land on...

The female did the sensible thing and pecked up any bird seed that she could find, while the male Mallard went for a short stroll.

Obviously the garden didn't meet his requirements and he flew off, quickly followed by the female- they synchronised flying too.

This pair make regular appearances around the area: from walking across the road, to settling down for a rest on the front lawn of someone's house.

They're not that far from a number of ponds and water channels so they can easily fly from place to place.

Waiting for the other half...
They're obviously an adventurous pair that like to get away from the crowds...

Saturday 16 May 2015

Guest Posting on Womagwriter's Blog

You may be familiar with the womagwriter's blog that was originally run by Kath McGurl, and now is under the safe wings of Patsy Collins.

Today (16th) I'm guest posting on the womagwriter's blog about joining the ALCS - and hopefully dispelling the myth some writers may have that it's complicated.

Membership of the ALCS (Authors' Licensing and Collecting Society) has been increasing each year as word spreads, but I'm sure there are still writers who qualify, but haven't joined yet.

I hope you'll pop over and leave a comment, or any questions...

Monday 20 April 2015

Writers' Earnings - Not Good News...

Still not quite over the recent late spring bug, but my head is now clear enough to put some thoughts together on the news reports about writers' earnings that came out today.

You may remember that last summer the initial findings of the ALCS's survey on author earnings revealed that for professional authors- those who earn their income from writing rather than another job- their 2013 income was just £11,000. (In 2005 this figure was £12,330.)

The full research has now detailed how the income is spread, and for the average writer it is not good news.

The top 10% of professional authors (defined as those who spend more than 50% of their time self-employed writing) earn 58% of all the money that's earned by professional authors.

Now I'm not going to begrudge any writer for all the years of hard work they've put in, they've earned it. But would they be able to get to that same level of income if they were just making that leap into full-time writing now? In the current climate facing writers I very much doubt it.

One of the panels I attended at the recent Writers Conference was about earning a living as a writer. While few of the audience were shocked at how difficult it was to do so, it was probably the insights into how varied the other means of earning an income have become: teaching, mentoring, workshops, and other creative writing opportunities were sited as other income sources.

Back to the results:
As for the bottom 50% of writers (professional and those for whom writing is not their primary occupation- which will be most) they only earn 7% of all the money earned by writers put together...

The worrying figure is that 17% of all writers did not earn anything during 2013. Also 90% needed to earn money from other sources. Bills still need to be paid and food bought...

While these headline figures are worrying, there's a lot more to be concerned about for many writers who are emerging in the current world.

  • Too many expect writers to work for nothing, whilst claiming it will help your profile (!!!! I stopped believing that a long time ago. It's not that I wouldn't do something for free, but that would be my choice because I supported a cause or was happy to help in some way, or a particular writing credit would be useful...)

  • Contracts that demand more, or all rights (including moral rights) in any media with no additional recompense- an issue with a number of magazines. 

  • No reversion clauses. Admittedly many publishers will have them, but others won't, and how can any contract be fair if all the advantages are on one side? Yes, you can turn the contract down, but regrettably you lose out.

It will be interesting to read the full report, as it also looked at copyright, contracts and the authors' bargaining positions.

To read the various articles here are a few links you might like: Bookseller; and the Guardian.

Thursday 12 March 2015

Extra Income for Writers...

UK writers like the first quarter of a new year, because that's the time they find out how much their books have earned from Public Lending Rights (PLR) and from the various forms of written work eligible for Authors' Licensing and Collecting Society payments (ALCS).

Every year when these payments are mentioned among groups of writers on social media there will be a handful who didn't know their work was eligible for these secondary payments, and are quickly encouraged to make sure they register qualifying work.

In February it was announced that non-print material can now be registered for UK PLR. So if you are fortunate enough to have any of your novels as audio-books, then you need to register them before the 30th June 2015 for inclusion in the 2016 payment.

Now, it would be wonderful if e-books lent by the library service qualified for payment too, and if they are actually downloaded on library premises to fixed terminals and taken away for loan, fine.

Sadly this won't apply as generally those libraries that do offer e-book loans do them remotely, so borrowers download to their devices away from the library.

PLR say on their website: "PLR is unable to make payments for remote e-book lending as it continues to be covered under copyright law."

So they are recommending authors not to register e-books.

All writers know the value of libraries. Public libraries nurtured the majority of today's writers, and hopefully will continue to develop the writers of the future.

But sadly with cuts to funding of local authorities, libraries have often taken the brunt of these cuts, and many have closed, restricted opening times, or are now staffed by volunteers.

There was a government-commissioned report into the future of public libraries in the UK- dated December 2014, with a recommendation that, "the government seek to secure changes in European and UK copyright law" to include remote e-book lending.

You can read the report by following the link on the PLR News page, or here.

Whilst it's not necessarily good news for the moment- there's a general election in May and no one can guess if the next government will be able, or have the inclination, to seek those vital changes.

Nevertheless, it is also a big step forward, as a couple of years ago there appeared no hope of anything being done in relation to remuneration for e-book lending from libraries, let alone discussions...

Tuesday 8 July 2014

Author Earnings Make the News...

As the headline results of the latest author income survey (done for the ALCS) has shown what we all suspected- writers are not earning as much money as they were during the first decade of the new century.

You'll find details and a few initial income breakdowns on the articles in the Guardian, and on the online version of The Bookseller.

The full details of the research will not be available until the autumn, and I'm sure there will be quite a few interesting facts revealed when various elements are looked at in more detail.

As you'll see from the pictorial charts in the Guardian article, only 11.5 % earn their income from full-time writing; this is a big drop from the 40% who did so in 2005.

Now we need to bear in mind that statistics can be read in a number of ways. Some of those who contributed to the stats in 2005 may no longer be alive, nor actively writing for any number of reasons, but I'm sure we've all heard of writers who have been getting smaller advances, or none at all, which can make a big dent in your finances, and could mean the difference between writing full-time, or having to go to part-time.

There was a good piece of news within the statistics. 69% said their contracts allowed them to retain their copyright all or most of the time. But that could mean 31% don't have that option.

So putting all writers together:  full-time, part-time and occasional, the typical income was £4,000. The median income for professional writers was £11,000. According to the Joseph Rowntree Foundation a single person needs to earn £16,850 before tax to achieve a "minimum acceptable standard of living", so it shows how poorly paid most writers are- little wonder the number writing full time has dropped...

The figures also show that a quarter of the 2,454 writers who filled in the survey, self published, and 86% of that quarter, would do it again.

Some critics claim that self-publishing has contributed to the downturn in incomes, but personally I don't believe that is a valid reason. It has enabled a lot of good writers to get their work out to readers and give them what they want, not just what the publishers decide readers can choose from.

Big name publishers want instant best-sellers (profits), so they pay big advances to celebrities who already have a following who will buy the book at whatever price- that's the readers choice.

Meanwhile the ordinary writer has to do all that work, publicise their book- get out and sell it to the reading public who may never have heard of them before, and write the next book too.

Too many magazines and newspapers want a writers' hard work for nothing, some will pay, but take all your rights for it. Others understand that without their writers they wouldn't have a product to sell and pay a reasonable amount.

Writers write because they have to; yes, they can give up, but it won't be for long.

Sadly unless there's a change in attitude toward fair remuneration of writers- and the important role they play in commerce and society- the world is going to become a much poorer place...

Billions contributed to the UK by
creatives, including writers

  • Did you know that "the creative industries are now worth £71.4 billion per year" to the economy in the UK? 
Every writer is a part of those billions... 

Image from PinkBlue at

Friday 21 December 2012

A Few Important Reminders That Pay You...

This will be my last blog post for a week, I'm taking some time-off to recharge my batteries and catch up with some reading- as well as sorting presents and organising food for the hungry horde (my OH and growing children- if only they would stop growing :-) ).

Before you finish for the year you might want to make sure that you've added everything you need to add to your ALCS (Authors' Licensing and Collecting Society) page. You'll find some of the available downloads useful. And best of all if you have any qualifying work it will eventually mean you'll get payments.

A big thank you to writer Vivian Hampshire who mentioned DACS on the Talkback forum.

This is similar to ALCS but for visual artists- and if you're a writer who has had your photos or artwork used in a UK magazine, in books, or broadcast on certain TV channels, then you may be eligible for future payments.

You have to claim each year, and it's too late for 2012's Payback, but it will relaunch in summer 2013, so if you're eligible sign up now ready for next year.

So remember:

  "If you are a photographer, illustrator, sculptor, cartoonist, fine artist, animator, architect, designer or craftsperson, and your work has been reproduced in UK publications or on UK television, you can claim your royalties due."

So find out more here.

Don't forget PLR (Public Lending Rights), register your print books there- do it by the end of June each year.

E-books currently don't qualify for payment, but I was told by the Licencing section of the ALCS this week to submit the details so they were on record; even very short stories in anthologies qualify.

Who knows, if there's enough presence of e-books, and library lending of e-books becomes more widely available, it may help the case for future payments- it's been recommended that library loans for e-books should get PLR, but it's not been put into action yet.

Merry Christmas...

image courtesy of digitalart/