INDUSTRY KNOWHOW SoA: Writer advice & support

Our Industry KnowHow series led by The Society of Authors draws to a close this week. Start 2020 with the best sense of direction – and know your creator rights!

You have your dream right in front of you. A contract offered to you by a publisher. Now reality sets in. You have to look at sections dealing with legal jargon and contract terminology. Moral rights, special sales and contract rights - what are these and do they matter? You can look back at this KnowHow series to learn more.

In this article, we wanted to highlight the help and advice that is out there for emerging and published writers, both within the Society of Authors and beyond.

The Society of Authors (SoA) is the trade union for professional writers, illustrators and authors of all kinds. Resources and recommendation are freely available online. Members can access a greater level of support and guidance, including tailored, individual advice on all business aspects of the profession. 

In addition to the main website areas, the blog features pieces from authors, experts and professionals. Specifically relating to contracts, the recent Before You Sign blog series looks at the pitfalls or challenges in author contracts.

Artistic rates and fees are an ongoing subject for debate. Authors should feel comfortable asking to be paid fairly and should not be put under any pressure to work for free. The SoA offers observed rates and fees to give authors confidence in charging rates that acknowledge their professional status, skills and experience, as well as a framework for negotiation. These can be used alongside advice from the Scottish Book Trust and other recognised organisations to support quotes and work agreements.

The SoA administers a number of grants for writers, helping to fund works in progress (through the Authors’ Foundation and K Blundell Trust) and supporting authors in financial difficulty (Authors’ Contingency Fund). Grants are open to all writers that meet the submission requirements, assisting writers with research costs, personal or financial difficulty, or by buying them time to write.

Advice & Support for Writers
In addition to The Society of Authors, there are a wealth of organisations offering accessible and free advice for writers, including:
  • The Royal Literary Fund offers help to writers in financial difficulty.
  • The Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society (ALCS) works to ensure that authors are fairly compensated for any secondary uses of their work and offers free resources on copyright. Authors will need to pay a one-off fee to sign up.
  • Public Lending Right (PLR) is the right for authors to receive payment for the loans of their books by public libraries. Registering requires a fee.

The UK's national funding bodies include Arts Council England, Creative Scotland and Literature Wales which offer various funding opportunities to support writers at different stages of their career.

Main Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

The Society of Authors (SoA) is the largest UK trade union for all types of writers, illustrators and literary translators, at all stages of their careers. The SoA offers specialist tailored advice to all members and has been speaking out for the profession since 1884. To join or to find out more and seek advice, visit

Eleanor Pender is Knowhow Editor. If there's something you'd like to know how to do or know more about, send your suggestions to

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