Two of three non-fiction writers in Finland do other work in order to be able to work as a non-fiction writer
Last year (2019), the Association of Finnish Non-fiction Writers (Suomen tietokirjailijat ry) conducted a survey concerning the financial position of non-fiction writers. The previous survey was carried out in 2013 and it examined the financial position of non-fiction writers in 2012.
The survey showed that non-fiction writers’ income from actual work as non-fiction writers has decreased. The median income from work as a non-fiction writer was EUR 1,111 in 2018, whereas in 2012 the corresponding figure was EUR 1,520. In 2018, the lower quartile was EUR 173 and the upper quartile EUR 4,607.
Income earned from work as a non-fiction writer refers to all taxable income earned in the role of a non-fiction writer. Income comes from different sources. Two thirds (65%) of income comes from payments received from publishers for the sale of works. Public lending right compensation, which is compensation for the lending of works in public libraries based on the Copyright Act, accounts for 8% of the income from actual work as a non-fiction writer. Other remuneration for actual work as a non-fiction writer accounts for one quarter of the income.
Writing cannot make a living
Almost two thirds (62%) of the respondents stated that they do other work in order to be able to work as a non-fiction writer. Among the respondents under the age of 45, four fifths (82%) did other work in order to be able to write non-fiction books. Almost nine out of ten (86%) respondents aged 45-64 did other work in order to be able to work as a non-fiction writer. After reaching the official retirement age, the percentage of those doing other work reduces significantly. Among the respondents aged 65 or older, only one third (33%) did other work in order to be able to write non-fiction books.
In addition to actual taxable income, various types of grants form part of the livelihood of non-fiction writers. According to the survey, the median of grants received in 2018 was EUR 5,000, the lower quartile was EUR 2,750 and the upper quartile was EUR 9,000. On average, the grants were so small that other income was necessary. As the amount of a grant increases, its importance as a source of income also increases.
About the Association of Finnish Non-fiction Writers –
Finlands facklitterära författare rf
The Association of Finnish Non-fiction Writers is Finland’s biggest writer organisation.
It is a cultural and professional organisation dedicated to protecting the interests of non-fiction writers. It promotes Finnish non-fiction, protects the copyright and financial interests of its writers, provides support for non-fiction writers and furthers the professional competence and ethics of its members.
The Association was founded in 1983, as a joint organisation for writers of non-fiction and text books. It now has over 3,200 members – writers of non-fiction for the general public, text books, manuals, dictionaries, articles, etc.
Governing the Association is a Board of ten members chaired by Dr. Markku Löytönen, EWC Board Member.
The Executive Director is Dr. Jukka-Pekka Pietiäinen.
Picture: Helsinki, Finland – November 6, 2017: Interior of the National Library of Finland. The building was erected in 1832 by design of the architect Carl Ludvig Engel. © elvinphoto 123rf