Site of the writer Andrew Wood

This shows what writers and authors have to go through, as well as the general attitude and state of the country towards such endeavours!


Last week young adults in England were revealedto have very nearly the worst literacy skills in the industrialised world. In the same week, an author making a school visit in England was so shabbily treated that she drove home afterwards thinking quite seriously of jacking in the whole lonely, poverty stricken game.

My friend is no celebrity author. Let’s call her Fiona. Now in her sixties, she has steadily and rather quietly developed her craft over a lifetime with a modest frisson of success in the last 10 years. Fiona’s books for very young children are loved so much, they have to be cuddled in bed… Her series for young adults has won fans who like their fiction to contain thoughtfulness and compassion as well as swashbuckling action and evil magic monsters.

Fiona has also raised four highly intelligent and extremely challenging children alone, surviving on a low budget…

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Comments on: "Can’t Pay or Won’t Pay?" (2)

  1. This is something I’ve come across before, and I’m still not entirely convinced I know the best way to resolve these issues.
    There are writers on both sides of this debate, there’s no universal ‘right way’ – some writers see a free session as a positive, a beneficial marketing tool, whereas others think it devalues all writers when work is given away for free.
    It’s not entirely clear to the audience either: look at all the books and poetry you can download for nothing. If you can get a book for free, why would you pay £5? And, more importantly, if you can get a book for free, what is writing really worth?

  2. The thing is, the practical benefit to most authors for a visit like this is actually quite small. Compare it to blogging or other online self-promotion, and things like school visits just don’t net a sufficient return on investment without additional compensation.

    Say an author has a hugely successful school visit, talking to four classes of 30 children each, over the course of a day. Say 50% of those students buy a book retailing at £10 as a result.

    A typical, traditionally-published, author gets 10% of the list price in royalties, so the author here gets £1 for each book sold. 50% of the students buying a book each means 60 sales, so that’s £60. Factor in travel and food costs if these aren’t compensated, and the author would be lucky to get £50 for a full day’s work and many hours of additional preparation. And that’s if half the students present each bought a book, which is extremely unlikely.

    Regardless of career, time is worth something to any guest speaker, and if they’re not receiving proper compensation, why should they continue to do it?

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