Chipping Norton festival offers profit share to authors

This is an interesting idea and one that, as the VWC Get Writing Conference organiser, I think we could perhaps consider ourselves. I'd love to hear the views of other members.

Article by Sarah Shaffi: The Bookseller.
Original article here.

Chipping Norton Literary Festival is to split its profits with authors in lieu of paying appearance fees.

The festival, which began in 2012, has previously offered to pay authors their accommodation and travel expenses, but not an additional fee. From 2015 it will continue to pay accommodation/travel but will also offer a "co-operative" profit share arrangement.

The news was announced at an event at The Club at The Ivy in London earlier this evening (7th July).

The 2014 festival had profits in excess of £10,000, festival director Clare Mackintosh (pictured) told The Bookseller. Had a profit share scheme been in operation for this year's festival, all authors would have been paid between £100 and £150 apiece.

Mackintosh said paying authors for appearances was "the ethical thing to do", with the profit-share scheme placing "authors at the heart of the festival". The arrangement means "author fees will grow in direct proportion to the success of the festival".

Mackintosh said: "The issue of author fees is both contentious and important. Ever since the festival began we have been working towards a point where we would be able to financially recognise the work authors put into their appearances, and we're delighted to have reached that stage within such a short time.

"A literary festival is far greater than the sum of its parts, and it's important to us that each and every author is rewarded for their contribution.

"We want authors to feel invested in ChipLitFest, and we love it when we see authors promoting each other's events and sharing details of the festival with their own audiences. What better way to reward them for their effort than to split our profits with them?"

Crime author Val McDermid called the profit-share model "exciting and radical, with everyone equally invested in the success of the festival".

Writer Mark Billingham called the scheme a "unique and wonderful step forward", adding:"It will be hugely welcomed by authors and should make some far bigger festivals look to their laurels."

Veronica Henry called the profit-share model "perfect" and said: "The fact that ChipLitFest is addressing the issue of writers' fees so seriously is a further indication they have their priorities exactly right."

The new arrangement will come into force from next year's festival, being held from 23rd to 26th April. Fees will be paid once expenses for 2015's festival have been accounted for.

Chipping Norton Literary Festival is run by volunteers. Mackintosh is a former police officer whose first novel will be published by Sphere this autumn, and the festival's board of trustees is chaired by Martin Neild, former chief executive of Hodder & Stoughton, and consultant to the Hachette Group.