Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Writing doesn’t pay 

Ong Sor Fern laments in the Life! section of The Straits Times today over the fact that writers in Singapore are not being paid enough for their work.

There is a strange reluctance to pay a writer for writing in Singapore. One local publisher tried to reduce the percentage of royalties to be paid to a poet who is one of Singapore’s most respected writers... [W]riters have to fight tooth and nail for every cent they get. Even then, they get paltry amounts. A novelist, for example, with a royalty of 10 per cent and an average print-run of 1,000 gets under $2,000. This is for a work he might have slaved over for a year if not more. The real income might be even less, depending on sales. According to a paper presented by Daniel Chan, president of the Screenwriters’ Association at a conference for film and television workers two years ago, the industry average here is under $1,000 for a script which takes anywhere from 46 to 65 hours to finish.
Actually, this shouldn’t come as a surprise. The fact is, writers are a dime a dozen — not just in Singapore but in many parts of the world. For evidence, just look at the blog world.

Granted, not many writers are actually good. But then, with the worldwide reach of the media and publishing industries, you only need one blockbuster to entertain the whole world.


Post a Comment

<< Home