Writer earns £4k of ‘free money’ - sign up too!

WHOOPS AND HOLLERS were heard in corners of the Freelance writerly world around 20 March as the annual Authors' Licensing and Collecting Service (ALCS) royalty payments landed on doorsteps - digitally speaking. And they were never more welcome, of course, than now amid th'encircling gloom.

ALCS plaque; © Matt Salusbury

The Authors' Licensing and Collecting Society

The top scorer so far this year reports £4000 hitting his bank account, which is the same top dog figure as last year. The champ enthuses: "Having missed the 2018/19 deadline for adding new works (despite which, I still received a couple of hundred), I decided to pull my finger out and be a bit more organised about logging stuff, and had been hopeful for something like my previous best of £1000. So, I was utterly gobsmacked when I checked the 2019/20 statement on Thursday evening and saw I got just over £4000. Extra gruel all round chez moi." In the dead heat for silver medal position we have two members chalking up £2500 apiece. Both learned this within days of losing loads of booked work.

One says, "It's enough to keep me going in terms of mortgage, heat/light/water, phone/broadband, council tax, food and hopefully petrol (assuming fewer car journeys while there's no work to go out to) for between two and three months."

So what is it? Freelance wordsmiths can sign up to ALCS if you work for printed or digital magazines, "journals" and books mainly. The royalties are for photocopying of work whereof you legally own copyright as a self-employed "author". ALCS sells licenses to photocopy and distributes these royalties to freelances and to publishers.

So sign up for next year's payout at their join-here page at www.alcs.co.uk/join-alcs

The gross sum collected is apportioned on a wordage basis. The payments work on a rolling three-year sequence so next year's will go back to 2018. It's "free money"! Admin takes one or two hours a year depending on your number of entries.

A couple of other freelances collecting on a more "That'll do nicely" level noted "any ALCS money whatsoever cheers me up. Mine was £591.59", and "Mine doubled and went into four figures this year. I've now got into the habit of updating my ALCS page the moment one of my pieces hits the news stands." A minute a week avoids deadline panic in November and leads to much air-punching in March: "Just DO IT!"

  • Photographers can stake their claims via the parallel collecting society DACS - info and how to join their "Payback 2020" scheme via www.bit.ly/FL-DACS