Last year, The 2014 Digital Book World and Writer’s Digest Author Survey revealed that of the traditionally published authors who took part in the survey, 59.3% earned less than £600 per year. A report from the Authors’ Licensing & Collection Society (ACLS), What Are Words Worth Now?, furthered that average author earnings were below £11,000 per year, down almost £3,500 from the previous report in 2005. Not enough to live on and well below the minimum wage.
The debate over how we pay our authors was hot all year, and it looks not less important as we enter 2015. Clearly, many authors are not making enough money to live on, but is this because we’re paying them unfairly or because their content isn’t selling?
How authors traditionally get paid
Authors generally receive payments for their books via a forward, with royalties thereafter. The forward is a lump sum paid to the author by the publisher when the book is first purchased. The author’s royalties are then taken by the publisher and kept until such time as the author has effectively paid back their forward. It is only at this point that they begin to receive royalties. This is termed ‘earn out’.
Most authors, however, will never achieve ‘earn out’… [READ MORE]