Rates and Conditions
The ASA membership list is a virtual compendium of the types of writers and writing, illustrators and illustrations in Australia. A sample would include—among others—one-time, part-time and full-time writers who contribute to or produce newsletters, newspapers, pamphlets, journals, magazines and books brought out by small and large presses with local, national and international distribution. As well as print, our members write for screen, stage, radio, or the web.
Their subject matter includes arts/business/science (natural, social and political), teaching/research, criticism/theory, sport/hobbies/leisure. They create how-to and DIY books (cookery books prominent among them), whodunnits, histories, life writing (biographies/memoirs/autobiographies), comics, speculative fiction and books for children, along with illustrations for such texts and even stories exclusively comprising pictures without accompanying words. And many ASA members work in more than one of those categories.
Although not all authors are in it for the money, all of us should be interested in maintaining and improving the status of writers and illustrators, especially now when the future of the book seems so uncertain on account of rapid developments in online and electronic publishing.
Historically, different genres and disciplines have developed their own assumptions and conventions regarding rates and conditions which, although they might be changing, have a long way to go before they become uniform. Thus, producing an exhaustive and universally applicable guide to rates and conditions for writers and illustrators working across such a broad spectrum is not possible.
Whereas someone who published a 2000-word story in The Bulletin a few years ago received $2500 for it, even today someone placing a short story in a struggling ‘little magazine’ might be offered only a copy or two of the issue in which it appears. An academic with an article in a learned journal might not receive even that, instead having to hope that another publication on the curriculum vitae will improve her/his chance for promotion and/or tenure. Indeed, in the not-so-long-ago past it was not unheard of for a researcher in the so-called ‘exact sciences’ with an article accepted in a prestigious journal to have to come up with ‘page fees’ for its publication, ostensibly to subsidise the extra typesetting costs generated by the special symbols used for the concepts and the formats required for the formulas—such fees could be hundreds of dollars.
And none of those would be examples of what is traditionally called ‘vanity publishing.’ Comparably, various practices obtain across genres and disciplines regarding speakers’ fees, travel support and the like. Part of the ASA’s commitment to achieving better conditions for writers and illustrators also involves working for greater uniformity of practices in the publishing industry.
When the work of writers and illustrators falls into different categories, they can choose among the recommendations on rates and conditions that have been established by kindred professional societies. Writers and illustrators must decide which set of recommendations best applies to the kind of work they do.
These rates take into account the time and effort members devote to researching and writing and/or illustrating books and making public appearances in connection with promoting them. While members occasionally might allow their work to be used for less, we encourage them to regard ASA rates as an industry standard and, if possible, to negotiate fees higher than the minimum.
The ASA indexes its rates in accord with the Consumer Price Index for the previous year—the CPI tracks the changing costs of food, clothing, housing, education, health, transportation and the like. Thus ASA rates serve as a useful guide for writers and illustrators to consult when selling their work or to refer to when negotiating with a would-be publisher. The rates here do not include the Goods and Services Tax: members who charge GST should add 10% to the rates shown.
- ASA Guidelines to Permissions
- ASA Model Publishing Agreement Template
- ASA Poetry Book / Anthology Licence
- Australian Book Contracts (4th Edition) Keesing Press
- Between the Lines: A Legal Guide for Writers and Illustrators by Lynne Spender (Keesing Press)
NB: This is a summary only and is no substitute for a legal document. While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information, the ASA accepts no liability for loss arising from any inaccuracies contained within it. Contact the Australian Society of Authors on 02 9211 1004 or email firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any queries regarding this information.
© Australian Society of Authors Limited, 2012 (Updated November 2012)