Monday, 27 July 2015

The Society of Authors Campaigns for All of Us - Andrew Crofts

As I get close to the end of my three year stint serving on the Management Committee of the Society of
Authors, I want to sing the praises of the staff there who do the most magnificent job of supporting members who are being treated unfairly or who simply need professional advice.

Writing is one of the hardest jobs from which to make a living wage and it is hugely comforting for members to know that they have this dedicated team of enormously experienced and efficient lawyers and publishing contracts experts willing to fight on their behalf.

On July 7th I attended a summer party on the terrace at the Houses of Parliament, thrown by the All Party Parliamentary Writers’ Group, at which the SoA’s constantly campaigning Chief Executive, Nicola Solomon, laid out the Society’s “magnificent seven requirements” for writers’ contracts – spelling out the acronym “CREATOR”. They are well worth repeating here.

Contracts need to be clear and should exist for all writers, including journalists.
Remuneration needs to be fair, and allow for the author to share the rewards in such circumstances as bestsellerdom.
Exploitation: authors need to be given the opportunity to make money from all modes, on the “use it or lose it” principle – so that form unexploited by the publisher could revert to the author.
Accounting should be fair, understandable, proper.
Terms: there should be reasonable and limited contract terms so that publishers do not hold rights indefinitely.
Ownership: authors, illustrators and translators should always be credited, and their moral rights unwaivable.
Reasonableness: all unreasonable requests should be struck out.

I would urge any author who has not already done so to visit the Society’s website http://www.societyofauthors.org  and see what is on offer. To have the strength of these lawyers and experts on your team will make all the difference in any negotiation or dispute – and that is only one part of the range of services that they offer.


6 comments:

Chris Longmuir said...

A timely post as I've just been asked to go on the committee of the Society of Authors in Scotland, and despite vowing that my committee days were over, how could I refuse this one because the society does so much good for all of us.

NB: I tried to pin this post to my Writing board in Pinterest as I thought it worth keeping and sharing there, but I couldn't do it because there is no picture in the post. You wouldn't consider inserting a pic would you? Even the SOA logo would do it.

Lydia Bennet said...

Yes, good to keep reminding folks the SoA are there for us writers! Thanks to you, and Chris in advance, and all who help them help us.

Susan Price said...

Hear! Hear! - I'll insert a pic, Chris.

Andrew Crofts said...

Thanks for inserting the pictures, Susan, should have worked that one out myself. Must try to brush up my social-media skills - I keep saying that and keep having to be saved by those more savvy than myself.

Chris Longmuir said...

Thanks for posting the pic. I've now posted this to Pinterest. It's worth bearing in mind that Pinterest doesn't work if there's no pics on the page.

Catherine Czerkawska said...

I'm just coming off the Scottish committee as Chris is going on! And I agree with all you say, Andrew. Wouldn't be without the SoA. And for those of us without agents they are invaluable - as I try to keep reminding people all the time. We're swimming in shark infested waters and I suspect the SoA are sometimes better at vetting contracts than the smaller agencies - they know all about IP law. I've heard beginning writers telling me that they 'can't afford to join'. But all I can say is, it's money well spent.