International authors’ earnings study: can you help?

Luke AlcottAuthors earnings, Copyright law, Fair contracts, IAF, News, UK

IAF is continuing its research into authors earnings throughout the year, please let us know if you can contribute to this important work.

The project investigates the financial situation of authors all over the world, considers developments in the cultural economy in which they work and will consider the supporting role that unions, collective management organisations (CMOs) and remuneration models such as Public Lending Right (PLR) and Artist’s Resale Right can have.

The majority of studies available to review currently come from Western Europe and North America, so further research will be necessary to gather information from a wider range of countries. From these studies an overall decrease in income for all authors is observable. A US study by the Authors Guild reported a 30% decrease in income for full-time authors, with only 39% of authors able to support themselves through writing-related work. According to the most recent ALCS survey, UK writers’ earnings have fallen by 42% in real terms since 2005, despite the continued growth of the creative industries, valued at £101.5 billion in 2019. Professional writers’ earnings in the UK (in 2017 real terms equivalent) fell from £18,013 in 2005 to £10,500 in 2017.

IAF hopes to broaden this study to represent more countries. We want to make it possible for authors around the world to campaign more strongly on the issue of authors’ earnings and any assistance with this initiative would be greatly appreciated.

If you would like to contribute to the project, especially if you’re an IAF member from a developing country, please email