Showing posts with label Society of Authors. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Society of Authors. Show all posts

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...

Sunday 19 October 2014

What Has Happened to Historical Romance Novels?

In the 30+ years I've been reading historical romance novels, there has been a lot of change.

But...I don't believe the change has been as wide-ranging in the UK as it has been in the US over that time.

If you're in the UK and not familiar with the US romance market, then you might find this Huff Post Books article 'What Happened to the Historical Romance Novel?' by author Maya Rodale an interesting read - although it is long- but it will help to read it all.

I do buy and read contemporary romances, but if you looked in my bookcases you'd notice that at least 75% of the contents are historical.

Once I'd moved beyond Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer I wanted more, but the choice was limited. They never seemed to have enough time to develop the sub-plots, and even the main story line seemed to be limited to a certain level of intensity- because anything more wouldn't have fitted the pre-set length the publisher required; and of course everything stopped at the bedroom door...

For some years I was able to get my historical romance fix by getting imported US editions from Waterstones or second hand copies from a book stall, whenever I came across them.

Then for a while it picked up. Some of my favourite authors began to have their latest books in a UK edition- usually with a completely different cover, much more artistic and restrained.

With the emergence of Kindle and e-books, readers now have instant access to any type of romance novel they might want, and the wider author base means even more books to choose from.

I've got no problem if an historical romance author writes a traditional no-sex romance, as their characters might be the 'wait until we're married' type; I've read a number like that, and it would have been quite out of place for those characters to have done anything different.

These traditional style stories haven't been any less enjoyable, or lacked depth and intensity.

I certainly noticed more sex scenes in novels (by a few of my favourite authors) a couple of years ago, but that trend seems to have reversed and they've returned to how they were before with one or two such scenes being the norm. Perhaps that was more to do with the 50 Shades of Grey effect...

Personally I think historical romances published in the UK have adapted slightly, but they're a long way from their American cousins. Whether that's good or bad is for each author/reader to decide...

There are now a lot of smaller publishers printing romance novels too...

Contemporary romance heroines certainly don't have the issues that their historical sisters have to deal with...

Whatever your preference, the good news is that romance is thriving, so that's good for every writer, and for their readers.

Thursday 27 June 2013

PLR and Other News...

I've been busy trying to get as much as possible done this month with limited time and hands to help, so apologies for my recent silence on the blog pages...

After today my writing time is going to be spasmodic, as college has finished and the house will not be as quiet as it is normally on a week-day when everyone is out.

I'm getting ready for the last day of the Lowdham Book Festival too- every event on Saturday is free to attend, so if you're nearby and can spare an hour or two I know you'll find something to interest you.

I'll be on the Nottingham Writers' Club stall, and then at midday at The Fringe at the Ship, before returning to the table to promote the club and members work...

Last week's cyberspace book launch of the One Word Anthology was a great success, so a big thank you to everyone who popped into the launch page on Facebook- much fun was had by all... :-)
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Now to the serious stuff...

Many writers were unhappy about the proposed move of control of the Public Lending Rights service (probably) to the British Library when it was proposed in 2010. Sadly even with an overwhelming majority against the move in the 2012 consultation, the intention to make this change has continued.

Yesterday (26th) the scrutiny committee of Culture, Media and Sports declared its findings:

" The CMS committee, chaired by Conservative MP John Whittingdale, concluded that: "It was resoundingly clear from the public consultation that there was overwhelming opposition to the Government's proposal to abolish the Registrar of Public Lending Right and to transfer its functions to another public body. We continue to believe that the British Library is not a suitable host organisation for the PLR function given its many responsibilities and the risk that these could take priority over the PLR function." " (The Bookseller - here.)

Unfortunately the Government can ignore the opinion of the committee and carry on with it's plans. Money can be saved by this change, so change they will. :(

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Another related PLR issue is e-books. Authors do not receive PLR on library e-book loans, so they are losing income.
 And the Society of Authors (SoA) has found that authors may not be receiving the correct payments from their publishers for e-book library loans by treating them as if they were sales rather than licences...
 If you go the item in the SoA's News and Events section, you can read about it in more detail- here.

Digital is giving writers so many opportunities, but it's also giving them a lot of 'virtual' headaches in trying to ensure they get the money they have a right to...

Friday 10 August 2012

More Waterstones, 'Dear Agent' and an Agatha Cristie Moment...

You may remember that's my post last weekend mentioned that book seller Waterstones were changing their store guidance on events in response to complaints, and also 'handselling' authors.
If you missed the item you can read it here.

Well today the Bookseller website has an article saying that the Society of Authors (SoA) and Waterstones are "engaged in dialogue" about creating a list of guidelines.

(Sadly the article is only available to subscribers (with a subscription cost of £186) so we'll have to wait for public release of information at some point in the future, either by Waterstones or the Society of Authors.)

Unfortunately I'm not yet within the eligibility criteria for even Associate Membership of SoA, but it's an organisation worth joining if you're eligible...

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If you've bought and read any of Nicola Morgan's books, or e-books ('Write to be Published'; 'Tweet Right'; and 'Write A Great Synopsis') then you'll know her books are invaluable for the serious writer- and worth every penny.

Well today (Friday) is the publication day of her latest e-book, 'Dear Agent'. For this weekend it is only 77p on, so a great opportunity to get a helpful advice in clear language that we can all understand and act upon.

It's also available on here.

Agents better watch out, because they're going to be receiving some sharp submissions as a result of this e-book.

I've only had enough time for a brief scan, but I'm looking forward to having some quiet to read it and absorb the advice.

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E L James may be selling million of her 50 Shades trilogy, but she can't compete with the Queen of crime fiction, Agatha Cristie- she's apparently sold 4 billion books, and not only is it in Braille but in 50 different languages...

"Westminster council this week granted planning permission for a statue, designed by sculptor Ben Twiston-Davies, to be erected. It will be placed in the heart of Covent Garden, between Great Newport Street and Cranbourn Street. The location, in the middle of London's theatreland, was chosen to represent Christie's contribution to the stage." (The Guardian Books)

Good to hear of a statue being put up to celebrate a writer, rather than some strange obelisk of modern sculpture.

Have a good weekend.

Wednesday 27 July 2011

Short Stories and Women's Magazines...

The petition begun (last week) by the Society of Authors against the cuts being planned by Radio 4 to short story slots from spring 2012, has reached over 5,000 signatures and will be presented to the Radio 4 Controller Gwyneth Williams on Thursday afternoon at Broadcasting House. It will be accompanied by a number of authors and the director of the National Short Story week too, read the article about it, here.

As to Women's magazines...

Best magazine (that stopped their story slot last year) are running a short story competition for which you need to collect tokens- the first one is in the 2nd August issue out now, so you'll need the following three August issues for the remaining tokens. The entry form will be in the 6th September issue.

At the moment the terms and conditions they refer to at the back of the magazine don't give any information on required length or any rules of entry, nor what rights are involved. Hopefully they will reveal that soon.

I read and buy the magazines that do fiction, I don't buy the magazines that are full of supposed real-life stories. I want to be entertained and those type of stories don't do that.
Sadly many of the women's magazines when they revamp seem to consider these as essential. And with that goes the celebrity/soap items. (Okay many do like these slots, personally I don't.)

I like fashion and make-up, but please, affordable, available and not just suited to young and skinny women please.

Am I the only older (okay, I admit I'm 50+) but still young, woman, who feels the weekly women's magazine market is not catering adequately to my age group?

Compared to my mother's generation, the fifty plus women of today are very different, we lead much more active lives and many of us still have children/teenagers going through the education system.

And short stories please...

So magazine editors start considering us. There is a gap in the market that you are missing out on, and we all know that when it comes to the head honchos in the magazine business world, sales matter...

Wednesday 20 July 2011

Radio 4 and Short Stories- Help save them...

More bad news for short story writers has been announced, from next spring Radio 4 will be reducing their short story slots from three a week to one- read the Bookseller article here.

The Society of Authors (SoA) have written to the BBC Radio 4 controller Gwyneth Williams, saying "We were astonished to hear this news, not least because at recent meetings you reiterated the BBC's commitment to showcasing new and original writing." (You can read the complete letter on the SoA link.)

There are also related links on the SoA page and you can also see the current signatories to the petition and their comments.

There is an online petition at the National Short Story Week website, so you can show your support too by signing up- I've signed today, and all you need to give is your name, e-mail address and any comment you wish to add- after you sign the petition there is an option to donate to iPetitions to keep it free, but no donation is necessary to add your name to the petition.

So if you love the short story, sign the petition and/or send your comments to: Gwyneth Williams, Controller BBC Radio 4, Broadcasting House, London W1A 1AA.