Inside the Australian and New Zealand book industry

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Report finds NZ writers earn $12,500 on average from their writing

New Zealand writers earn an average of NZ$13,500 (A$12,450) per year from their writing, according to a new report commissioned by Copyright Licensing NZ.

The survey of New Zealand writers, of which 55% of respondents were ‘primarily’ book authors, found that writers had an average yearly income of NZ$56,900 (A$52,480), which means that about three-quarters of their earnings comes from another source. The average yearly income from writing was slightly higher for women, who earn an average of NZ$13,800 (A$12,727), that it was for men, who earn an average of NZ$12,600 (A$11,620).

More than half of the writers surveyed had never received an advance, with royalties ‘by far’ the most common source of earnings for their writing. About half of the writers earning royalties received 10% of RRP or 17.5% of publishers’ net receipts, and about 40% received less than that. The writers earned an average of NZ$2000 (A$1845) in overseas earnings.

The writers surveyed spent 17 hours a week on average writing, which was less than the 25 hours a week they would prefer to be writing. The primary barriers to spending more time writing included the need to work another job for income, and the demands of domestic responsibilities.

NZ Society of Authors president Kyle Mewburn said the survey reveals that ‘the vast majority of writers are working at a minimum wage job with no insurance, overtime or holiday pay, and absolutely no job security’. ‘We really need our local readers to buy more local books from local bricks-and-mortar bookshops,’ said Mewburn. ‘Let’s just consider it an investment in our cultural health.’

The report was conducted by Horizon Research. To read the full report, click here.



Category: Local news