Authors should be paid for hosting events, the Society of Authors new general secretary has said.
Nicola Solomon told delegates at the Book Industry Conference yesterday (16th May) that if authors give up a day of their free time to stage a reading, book signing or other event at a bookshop where that establishment is making money, then they should receive around 10% of it.
During a debate she chaired looking at how live events create a buzz about books and impact on the bookselling market, Solomon said: "On the whole authors should be paid. If a venue makes over £1,000 in book sales, £100 of that should go to the author. Sometimes it is someone giving up their whole day, I think we should be paying them to be there."
However, event consultant and fellow panel member Jo James argued authors shouldn't be paid because many have an obligation to partake in publicity written into their contracts with publishers.
She said: "I feel quite strongly that if you have to pay authors to come along and do events, events would disappear a lot quicker."
Jonathan Davidson for Midland Creative Projects, an agency which runs events in the arts sector, said he often paid poets and authors' travel expenses.
"I do think it is getting more and more difficult to say to authors 'you will get a return on this eventually'. I think we are in a changing situation," he told the conference.