It’s a common fantasy. On a stressful day in the office, inbox overflowing, being pulled from meeting to meeting, while the work never seems to end: What if I worked for myself? In reality, is the flexibility of freelance work worth the financial worries, the hustle for the next contract, and being constantly available to clients? For many freelance book publicists, the answer is a resounding yes. As part of our continued series on compensation, we spoke with independent publicists—those working solo or at small firms—about their rates, their take-home pay, and how the stress doesn’t go down when you’re […]
On a freezing morning in January, 136 ghostwriters assembled on the Upper East Side to speak with ground-breaking openness about a corner of publishing that has often been misunderstood. The first ever day-long Gathering of the Ghosts conference, hosted by Gotham Ghostwriters at The New York Academy of Medicine, drew some of the top professionals in the field, who spent the day schmoozing, chatting candidly about their work, and exchanging information. Gotham Ghostwriters ceo Dan Gerstein, who organized the event, told PL, “Our immediate goal is to build a greater sense of community and connectivity within the field—which mostly works […]
The Association of American Literary Agents published their bi-annual membership survey report today about agent demographics, how the organization is serving members, and industry issues. This time around, one of the sections addresses agent compensation, with, as they write, “an overwhelming 69%” of respondents pointing to low salaries as “a critical issue for the industry to address.” In parallel, PL has been speaking to agents at a variety of firms about what it takes to make a living, as part of our ongoing series on compensation across the industry (which has previously included book critics and booksellers) — confirming the AALA’s […]
UK books retailer WH Smith failed to pay the minimum wage to employees, the BBC reports. Of the more than 200 companies that the government said underpaid employees, WH Smith owed the most to workers–more than £1 million to more than 17,600 employees. The chain told the BBC that the mistake was due to misunderstanding the UK’s rules about uniforms and not reimbursing staff for required clothes that they purchased out of pocket. “Following a review with HMRC in 2019, and in common with a number of retailers, it was brought to our attention that we had misinterpreted how the […]
Further to our reporting last fall on compensation for book critics and rates at various outlets, book critics Adam Morgan and Chelsea Leu have compiled an extensive list of publications that pay for books coverage. At the National Book Critics Circle site, their list includes contact information, word count, and more.
Our reporting on compensation in different segments of the publishing industry continues with independent bookstores, where low pay seems like a foregone conclusion. Though indies have grown and diversified in recent years, sustaining workers—and in some cases, the stores themselves—is an ongoing challenge. Some stores, such as Tattered Cover in Denver and Powell’s in Portland, OR, are essentially corporations or mini-chains with multiple locations and HR departments, while others, such as Astoria Bookshop in Queens, have one storefront and fewer than 10 employees, including the owner. The growing unionization of individual bookstores around the country has helped secure pay and […]