Contracts and Author Income Info from the Authors Guild

Back in the spring, the Authors Guild launched a campaign to change publishing contracts seeking new, shorter time limits for the rights to books, reversion of ownership if a publisher chooses not to move forward with the rights to a book purchased, and the replacement of “out of print” language with new, current market language that is applicable to the digital age.

This was then followed up by a study conducted by the Guild stating that the majority of authors earn wages below the poverty line when only revenue from writing is included – in other words, they didn’t count any income from other jobs or spouses just what an author makes by selling books. The study also showed that between 2009 and 2014, the median author income dropped pretty dramatically. The assumption is that this drop is the result of the lower prices of digital books.

Would adoption of the new contract language the Authors Guild is championing change the income situation of authors? Maybe for traditionally published authors but not for self-published authors for obvious reasons.

The information on both topics is interesting and it’s definitely something worth watching moving forward given that digital publishing isn’t going away and the price points are unlikely to trend higher in the near or medium term future.

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