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.

Further Reading

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 9318 0977 or email asa@asauthors.org
if you have any queries regarding this information.

© Australian Society of Authors Limited, 2012 (Updated November 2012)

Print and eBook AgreementsIn its Model Publishing Agreement Template, the ASA recommends authors receive a minimum royalty rate of 10% of RRP (recommended retail price) for print books. > more
Travel, accommodation and meal expenses should be reimbursed in accordance with the Australian Tax Office’s (ATO’s) reasonable travel and overtime meal allowance expense amounts. For the 2011-12 income year, see the ATO’s TD 2012/17. > more
Whole day (max. > more
Speaking and teachingThese rates apply for literary festivals, residencies, writers centres, tertiary institutions, and other public appearances except for schools. Members are encouraged to negotiate fees that are higher than the minimum. > more
These rates can be used by publishers, organisations such as teaching institutions, the corporate sector and individuals wanting to commission comics creators to produce comics workThe rates apply to commissioned work (work-for-hire) situations where the copyright might or might not reside with the artist or writer. > more
The following rates are based on A4-size projects. Rates can be increased depending on detail required, research involved and conceptual input required. For ‘one-off’ or single illustrations paid on a flat fee without royalties add 20 per cent; for online usage, a limited time agreement of a maximum of two years and an indication of the type of access should be specified. > more
Rates for use of previously published material in digital form - download the PDF here. > more
It is ASA policy to review its Poetry and Poetry Anthology rates, with reference to Consumer Price Index changes. Please note that these poetry rates apply to first publication. For previously published poems, see the poetry anthology rates below. When calculating payment, the title of a poem should be included as a line. > more
Minimum rates for previously published materialPrice per 1000 words:Where the RRP is less than $25 = $135.00Where the RRP is $25 - $39 = $205.00Where the RRP is $40 - $55 = $267.00NB: The minimum rate of $135.00 applies for work under 1000 words. Works over 1000 words are calcuated as a proportion of the price per 1000 words. > more
These rates are based on the 2010 National Freelance Rates approved by the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance and apply to all genres except poetry. They apply to prose (such as articles or short fiction for magazines, journals or newspapers) which is commissioned on a freelance or casual basis and previously unpublished. See the MEAA website for more information. > more
Casuals employed by most employers for 20 shifts or more within a 13-week period and freelancers who earn over $450.00 in any one month from the one commission, qualify to have the equivalent of 9% of their earnings paid into a superannuation fund—free of charge—once you have asked for it. > more

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