What now for authors?

From The Bookseller:

Sanjana Varghese had been working as a freelance journalist in London for around a year when the coronavirus pandemic hit. 

As countries around the world went into lockdown, many organisations froze their commissioning budgets, while others halted business entirely. Several of the pieces Varghese had been working on were cut as a result, having a “huge impact” on both her finances and her level of stress. As both a migrant and someone relatively new to freelancing, she was ineligible for support from the British government. 

“It was really stressful for a while – and it still is,” she says. “I’m increasingly uncertain that freelancing as we know it now will still exist in the same way in a couple of months. That’s something I spiral about when I’m left without something to do for too long.” 

One of the publications Varghese regularly wrote for has already shut down, again leading to increased anxiety about the future: “Basically, I try not to look at my emails too much because I’m anxious I’ll get one with, ‘Sorry, we’re shutting down’ in the subject line.” 

As a freelance writer, she is far from alone. Many currently working across journalism and publishing are facing similar anxieties when it comes to a shared uncertain future. But as a community used to going it alone, it’s a crisis that predates coronavirus. 

In many ways, freelance writers are prepared for periods of isolation. Hours are spent reading, researching or writing alone, while working from home away from the presence of colleagues is an everyday reality. For some it is liberating; for others, the total opposite.

Several of the issues people have faced since being confined to their homes are nothing new to freelancers. Epson research found that a quarter of freelancers had experienced depression, while almost half admitted to finding the experience lonely. On top of this, the publishing and media industries are also deeply unequal: 51 per cent of journalists and 80 per cent of editors are privately educated. For those without newspaper columns, cushy media jobs, family connections or six-figure book deals, lockdown – and its repercussions – have only heightened such disparity.

Link to the rest at The Bookseller

Regular visitors to TPV know what’s coming now.

As with hundreds of other indie authors, Mrs. PG has been working on her next book every day. The artist who creates her covers has been doing just about the same thing and did another great job on the cover for this next book.

As PG has mentioned in earlier comments, almost every indie author he’s communicated with since the lockdown happened has noticed Amazon sales going through the roof. Mrs. PG is expecting another nice royalty check in a few days and yet another next month.

When you freelance for a person who reports to another person who needs approval from a third person to offer you an advance and you sign a publishing contract promptly and send it back to your contact, time passes before you get anything in the email. How much time depends on a bunch of people who boss around the person with whom you have dealings.

Freelance journalists and photographers are all familiar with receiving messages from the person they’ve been working with saying there won’t be a contract after all. If the publication hasn’t signed the contract (and sometimes even if it has), there won’t even be a kill fee.

1 thought on “What now for authors?”

  1. Yep. I’m very happy to be Indie-publishing my books now. And I still have to shake my head in thinking how I make more today on a $3.99 ebook than I made when I was traditional-publishing my $39.99 books back in the ’00s.

Comments are closed.