UK Society of Authors calls for higher festival fees
In the UK, the Society of Authors (SoA) has called on literary festivals to reconsider what they pay authors after survey results found most authors are being paid within the range of £150 to £200 (A$312 to A$416), reports the Bookseller. The initial findings of the SoA’s Festival Survey showed that out of the 17 literary festivals who responded 12 pay all authors they engage, with the majority of these paying between £150 and £200 for most authors, and some paying from £350 to £1,000 ($A728 to $A2080) depending on the author’s fame or the distance travelled. The SoA has recommended festivals reconsider current payment rates and adopt writer Andrew Bibby’s reckoner, where daily rates are determined by the annual salary an author would expect to earn as a freelance. Under this model, a fee of £100 (A$208) equates to a salary of £9,000 (A$18,719). The SoA acknowledged that festivals ‘are wonderful public showcases for books and literature’ and that ‘a number of festivals have recently improved the fees paid to authors’, but said it remained ‘very concerned that too many festivals, including some which make a clear profit and have wealthy sponsors, do not pay at all or do not pay at reasonable rates’. The survey also found that most festivals pay expenses, although some expect publishers to cover the expenses of authors with books to sell. Following the survey findings, the SoA has written to all festivals who responded to further discuss their terms for authors, and released its Minimum Practice Guidelines and a set of guidelines for authors. For more information, visit the SoA website here.