16.4 % of the spanish authors work full-time, 77 % receive less than 1,000 euros a year

The Writer’s White Book has just been published on this website acescritores.com. It has been prepared over the last two years by the Asociación Coelgial de Escritores de España (ACE) with the collaboration of CEDRO and the Ministry of Culture and

 Sport. It is a first approach to the global reality of our writers that will have continuity in future documents, including a specific study on the reality of women writers.

Foreword by Manuel Rico, President of ACE

I reproduce, as a way of approaching its contents, the text that, in my capacity as president of ACE, I wrote at the beginning of the White Paper. It outlines some of the realities we have encountered. The preparation of the White Paper has been coordinated by the first vice-president of ACE, Rafael Soler.

First Approach:

In the summer of 2015, the public knowledge of various sanctions by the Social Security to some retired authors for reconciling royalties with pension payments indirectly (and partially) opened the daily reality of writers to public opinion. It is obvious that the creative activity of a writer is an individual task, which does not always have a conventionally understood professional dimension: that is, one that allows him to live from his work, from the exploitation of his works and from the activity that derives from it. The situation of the collective is diversified, polyhedral, but based on three types of authors: writers who live from copyright and related activities in an integral way; writers who have a professional activity related or not to literature -professors, teachers, civil servants, employees in private companies, etc…-, who receive income for their works but are not “writing professionals”; and authors who are retired but continue developing a creative work. Obviously, a typology can be added that is usually temporary, not permanent, such as that of unemployed writers, who receive unemployment benefits or not.

In general, the image that citizens have of the writer is closely linked to the experience of “triumph”, of high incomes, of millionaire advances, of the glamour of cocktails and book presentations by large publishing groups and of the presence of some of them in the mainstream media, whether in talk shows, entertainment programmes or in the few literary spaces that are broadcast. Nothing could be further from reality, much more complex. Highlighting this truth and getting to know in depth the experience of writers at all levels of their work is the aim of the White Paper that the reader holds in his hands. It is a first attempt after the studies carried out by ACE Traductores on the reality of translators, both from a professional point of view in their relationship with the industry and in the new reality of the digital world.

The author’s relationship with publishers, the level of income from copyright for the sale of his books, the nature of publishing contracts (when they exist, which is not in all cases), the receipt or not of advances, annual settlements (when they occur)…. These are some of the many aspects of this reality that we have dealt with in the survey that, through the DYM Institute, has been sent to authors, ACE members and CEDRO members, given the lack of any “professional” census in an activity as diversified as we stated at the beginning, the results of which are exhaustively presented in the report.

 

Many authors collaborate in digital and non-digital media for the simple reason of “obtaining or maintaining exposure” and without any type of remuneration.

The reality offered by the survey is, in general, precarious. Bearing in mind that only 16.4% of the authors surveyed are full-time and that 77% receive less than 1,000 euros a year in royalties for the sale of their books, we can understand the special circumstances in which their professional work is carried out. ACE’s motto “Without authors there is no culture” has absolutely no correlation in income: many authors collaborate in media, digital or otherwise, simply for the sake of “getting or keeping exposure” and without any kind of remuneration. There are many who publish without the existence of a media contract and when it exists without fully complying with the provisions and prescriptions of the Law on Intellectual Property. There are many authors who do not receive the annual liquidations, those who end up signing contracts with periods of assignment of rights of excessive duration, bordering on the abusive, and there are also few who do not know, in all aspects, the scope of distribution and sale of their books.

The reality offered by the survey is, in general, precarious. Bearing in mind that only 16.4% of the authors surveyed are full-time and that 77% receive less than 1,000 euros a year in royalties for the sale of their books, we can understand the special circumstances in which their professional work is carried out. ACE’s motto “Without authors there is no culture” has absolutely no correlation in income: many authors collaborate in media, digital or otherwise, simply for the sake of “getting or keeping a signature” and without any kind of remuneration. There are many who publish without the existence of a media contract and when it exists without fully complying with the provisions and prescriptions of the Law on Intellectual Property. There are many authors who do not receive the annual liquidations, those who end up signing contracts with periods of assignment of rights of excessive duration, bordering on the abusive, and there are also few who do not know, in all aspects, the scope of distribution and sale of their books.

 

The key findings – spanish writers and their income

  • the poor. 53.7% of the authors have an income of less than 1000 € per year.
  • the precarious. 7.1% have an income of between 1000 and 2000 € per year.
  • the mileuristas. They represent 5.3% of the total and earn between 2000 and 5000 € per year.
  • the steady. They are 3.6% and earn between 5000 and 10 000 € per year.
  • the consolidated.  30%  earn more than 10,000 € per year.

 

READ ALL (In Spanish)

To the report (pdf)