Society of Authors (UK) survey: Two-thirds of authors reporting loss of income during Covid-19


Posted on December 22, 2020, 11:00 pm
2 mins

15 October 2020 The third real-time survey Authors in the Health Crisis by The Society of Authors (UK) confirms:

  • Two-thirds (65%) of writers, illustrators and literary translators have suffered a loss of income

  • Almost half (49%) say the loss is more than a quarter of their income

  • Under 30% of respondents have received any form of Government help

The online poll, which attracted 511 responses from writers, illustrators and literary translators between 7 September and 12 October, asked authors to report on the extent of the ongoing financial impact of Covid-19 on their earnings and wellbeing, and whether they had succeeded in accessing Government financial support to offset losses. The latest poll follows surveys in April and May (View the results here). 

The data shows a worrying trend in authors reporting lost income following the outbreak of Covid-19 – from 41% round one to 57% round two and 65% this time. There was a corresponding decrease in respondents reporting that their author-related earnings had remained stable – from 23% in April to 14% in September and October. Only 14% in the latest poll said that it was too early to tell, compared to 32% in round one.

The proportion of respondents unable to mitigate their financial losses following the cancellation of events remained steady at 58% compared to 57% and 62% respectively for rounds one and two – with 63% of contributors reporting no increase in bookings six months on from lockdown and a further 31% judging that, on balance, bookings for 2020 and 2021 were continuing to be cancelled.

In the wake of the latest results The Society of Authors aisre asking the Government and the creative industries to act urgently to mitigate these losses by addressing the shortcomings in the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS), implementing recommendations from our Six-Point Plan for Authors and working closely with the Arts Council England.

Read all facts & figures on the homepage of the Society of Authors