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Woman’s Weekly needs a beating on the bottom

It is both shocking and sad to read how Woman’s Weekly has not only cut its fee per short story from a measly £150 to a paltry £100 per story - but it has also asked writers to sign over all rights to their work.

According to The Guardian many authors are not happy about the new terms and are refusing to sign the new contracts.

What a shame. Not only is it becoming harder than ever to earn a living as a writer, but one would imagine the majority of writers for Woman’s Weekly are women. Hardly a shining example of how to treat females in the work place – OK so they are freelancers - but you get the gist.

TI Media argue that it is operating in a challenging market and has to keep costs down. Of course, newspapers and magazines are closing down on a regular basis. However, I wonder if the readers of those short stories would enjoy them as much if they realised just how little authors are being rewarded for their work.

The Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society say the average full-time writer earns only £5.73 per hour which is actually less than the over 25s minimum wage. Conversely, the Publishers Association say book sales income is on the rise.

Could the solution therefore be paying authors a full-time salary? De Montfort Literature is a new publishing company that says it will offer a £24,000 starting salary to budding authors. The authors have to work a 9 – 5 and must pass an intensive selection process to show they have got several books in them. They will get advice on writing and a share of any book profits.

Sounds like a good idea – time will tell if it works. However, authors I know tend not to work 9 – 5 and may not get their creative juices flowing by being chained to a desk in central London.

In the meantime, can we ask the Woman’s Weekly decision makers to bend over.

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