Author at desk

Authors – have your say

The All Party Parliamentary Writers Group today launches an inquiry into authors’ earnings and to identify what environment writers need to enable them to flourish in the future.

Writers contribute to the richness of our diverse culture and the success of our creative industries. To preserve this continued contribution, it is important to make sure writers have the freedom to share and make a living through their work.

Why is it necessary?

Two prominent reports into authors’ earnings, commissioned by ALCS, and carried out in 2005 and 2013, have shown a steep decline in both authors’ earnings and the number of authors who made a living from their writing. In the 2005 report, carried out by Bournemouth University, the number of professional writers who earned their living solely from writing was 40%. By 2013, in a report carried out by Queen Mary, University of London, this figure had fallen dramatically to 11.5%. The results of a more recent survey are due out during the lifespan of this inquiry.

Both reports also identified a downward trend regarding authors’ earnings. In 2005, the typical (median) income of a professional author was £12,220 but by 2013 this had fallen to £11,000.

The aim of the inquiry

The All Party Parliamentary Writers Group is seeking to:

• Further develop an understanding of how authors’ earnings have changed over time.

• Create an understanding of the market pressures and relationships that affect authors’ earnings, especially in today’s digital and global economy.

• Understand the impact of the current legislative landscape on writers.

• Review the opportunities to improve the position of authors through legislation and regulation.

The Rt Hon John Whittingdale OBE MP, Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Writers Group, said: “This call for evidence is an important opportunity for Parliamentarians to explore how we can support the creators of our culture, understand the challenges they face today and act to ensure that creativity is continually rewarded.

“We hope to hear from a range of authors and key figures from creators and the creative industry and we look forward to hosting sessions later in the year to ensure creators are heard in Parliament.”

To make a submission of written evidence

Submissions are invited from all types of writers as well as the organisations involved in the industry, including agents and publishers.

Please email with the title ‘APWG Earnings Inquiry’ before 5pm on Thursday 2 August 2018. If you are a WGGB member please copy in

Each submission should be no longer than 3,000 words in length, be in Word format with as little use of colour or logos as possible and have numbered paragraphs.

Evidence is invited on the following areas:

Professional challenges specific to authors, such as regularity of earnings, varied sources of income, how these have changed and their impact on both day-to-day livelihood and careers of authors.

The position of writers within the creative industries, the market pressures on them and how they have been affected by the development of creative industries in the UK.

The impact of Brexit on writers and copyright, how past and developing EU law and regulations have affected authors’ earnings and how this might change.

The outcome of the inquiry will be presented at a reception in Parliament on 4 December 2018.

Details of the call for evidence can be found on the All Party Writers Group website.