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UK author earnings survey shows lack of diversity, drop in income

In the UK, the full results of a report on author earnings have been released, revealing that the vast majority of professional authors are white, reports Book Brunch.

Only two percent of respondents identified as Asian, with two percent ‘mixed’, one percent black and four percent identifying as ‘other’, while 94% of authors identified as white. In the last UK census in 2011, the country’s white population was reported at 86%.

Additionally, professional authors overwhelmingly live in the South East of England (e.g. London) and female writers earn 74.9% of the income of male writers.

The findings of the survey confirm global trends towards falling author incomes, with median earnings falling from an equivalent of £18,013 ($33,570) in 2006 to £10,497 ($19,560) in 2018.

Accordingly, the survey also tracked household incomes. As households, mean earnings are over £81,000 (A$150,970) per annum and median earnings £50,000 (A$93,200) per annum, showing that financial support from partners subsidises writing income.

Chief executive of the UK Society of Authors Nicola Solomon said: ‘It is clear that authors are having to subsidise their earnings from writing with other forms of income—this inevitably favours writers from more privileged households and backgrounds. There is a danger of writing becoming an elitist profession which excludes new and diverse voices. This report should act as a wake-up call for the industry.’

Commissioned by the Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society (ALCS) and written by researchers from the UK Copyright and Creative Economy Centre at the University of Glasgow, the results are based on responses from 2,696 ALCS members. You can read the full report here.


Category: International news