Industry & Advocacy News
May 20, 2020
The results from the Authors Guild’s second survey of authors (members and non-members) show that incomes in the writing profession continue to decline, with state unemployment, Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, and the Small Business Administration loan programs providing scant cover to those in financial distress.
Of the 1,234 total respondents, 738—or 59.8%—reported that their income (from any source) had declined since the crisis began. On average, respondents indicated that they had lost about 43% of their regular income during the crisis.
The main takeaways from our survey are:
1. Authors are noticing a perceptible decline in their typical income because of furloughs, layoffs, and shrinking of work opportunities, including:
2. With respect to every relief program, the vast majority of applications are still pending, and at least half of those that have been acted upon have been rejected.
3. Authors are struggling to access PUA because:
Sources of Income Decline
Authors cited loss of freelance journalism work and cancellation of speaking engagements as the leading causes of their income decline, followed by layoffs and furloughs from non-writing related jobs. Declining book sales, contract cancellations, payment delays, and teaching furloughs and layoffs were some of the other factors contributing to the income decline. The survey results showed that:
18% of authors reported that they had applied for unemployment or another type of COVID-19 relief.
Of the respondents who applied for regular unemployment:
Of the respondents who applied for PUA:
Of the respondents who applied for PPP loans:
Of the respondents who applied for EIDL loans:
Narrative Responses Highlighting Difficulties of Accessing Unemployment Relief