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How to survive Xmas

With commissioning editors away on the ski slopes and not commissioning anything from you, how does a freelance survive over the Christmas period?

One way of surviving Xmas: Tending children at the orphanage in Haarlem by Jan de Bray (1663; d. 1697)

For a start, you could spend those inactive days by signing up with the Authors' Licensing and Collecting Service (ALCS) and filling in the forms listing the articles you've written. This will result in you getting money for photocopying licenses, and now a little bit for some scanning and digitisation rights too. We've heard of freelances spending a day over Christmas filling in ALCS forms for the first time and getting up to £600 as a result. Details are at Payments for photocopying licences of UK newspaper articles in Belgium and other countries are beginning to come in to authors, so claim for these too.

Photographers can do a similar thing to get money for photocopying of their work via the Design and Artists Copyright Society (

While you 're at it, if you've had a book published, sign up for Public Lending Right and send details of your books via to get a little something in payments coming your way as a result of public libraries lending your works.

The British Library are moving another huge stack of books out of St Pancras to Boston Spa, Yorks, which means they will soon take at least 48 hours to arrive once you order them, instead of the 70 minutes we've all been accustomed to. So if you've been meaning to look up any of the BL's collection for a while, do it now. The BL is closed 24-29 December and 1-3 January.

If you haven't yet sorted out your entry for the NUJ's Freelance Directory, do it in the Yuletide downtime. Go to

Or why not be one of over 200 people annually who spend Christmas Day filling in their tax return, according to HMRC logs? (The deadline for your 2009/2010 return is 31 January.)

And we commend to you Humphrey Evans' guide for freelances on to how to survive the Xmas period: read it at

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