New research shows plight of Kiwi authors
Writers say they write because that's who they are. But it isn't easy as new research on authors' incomes and needs
A Research International survey carried out for the New Zealand Society of Authors (PEN NZ Inc) shows that only 17%
survive solely on their income from writing.
The mean total of a writers' income from all sources, except full time work, is just $15,383 dollars a year. By
comparison the minimum wage is $23,400.
Only 9% of writing-related income comes from the Authors' Fund set up in 1973 give authors time to pursue their writing
full time. The majority - 78% of the authors surveyed - said that if the Fund offered more it would enable them to make
a career out of writing.
NZSA President Paul Smith said the research showed clearly that the Fund needed radical re-shaping and increased
funding. The Society has already begun negotiations with the Government on this issue.
The survey was conducted from a sample of 355 mid career and established writers. Other key findings were:
* 77% of mid career authors earn less than $10,000
* The majority of established authors fell into the same category.
* Only 9% of established authors earned over $50,000
* In the last four years only 30% of mid career and established authors received a grant
* 34% of authors say without the help of family and friends they couldn't afford to be a writer.