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Supporting Australian book creators
What Educational Lending Right (ELR) means to me…
As a long-term author with a considerable backlist, PLR and ELR payments confirm that my work is being read by multiple readers for each individual library copy.
Culturally this means my stories are shared, and the ideas discussed but also means that financially there is recognition of the hours, months and years of work behind each book.
Sometimes the book has gone out of print or the publisher has closed, but the book is still being read in libraries and schools. And since there is a new generation of readers every six years, ELR and PLR are recompense for that resource which supports the Australian cultural identity.
With other creators, I am aware of the importance of lending rights which buy the time to create new and significant non-fiction and fiction which also provide content for local films and television which portray our culture.
Before ELR, I used to gather nightly with other ravenous children's authors (and our cats) to rummage through wheelie bins and wrestle over mouldy bread and apple cores. Thanks to ELR, I now spend my time far more productively: touring schools around Australia, patting my cats, and actually WRITING. Hip hip hooray, ELR!
When I'm struggling with a story or illustration, and that little (not so little?) voice in your head starts nagging 'Hurry up, hurry up, you've got to make some money! You like to eat, don't you?', the arrival of an ELR payment gives me the opportunity to slow down a little, and focus on quality, not quantity. Without ELR, I'm not sure I would be able to devote myself full-time to my creative work. Not only is it a valued financial boost, it also shows that our work is valued by librarians and the children they represent.
Making a living out of writing can be a somewhat precarious endeavour. The popularity of your books can go up and down. The royalties can be inadequate. And you're never quite sure there will be a publisher interested in your next project. There are few things in an author's life that are as dependable as that ELR payment at the end of each financial year. It can often make all the difference.
Writing for children is definitely a labour of love, and I, for one, am not in it 'for the money'. I do it for the joy it brings both to me, and to the children I meet. Nevertheless, it's wonderful to receive much-needed funds so I can continue creating books, and ELR is a vital component in the revenue I earn. Every little bit helps, and I'm so grateful for the ELR payments I receive each year!
When I travelled in that band of noisy authors on the Australian Society of Author buses from Sydney to Canberra, we waved placards, sang and showed author-power. Government funding for ELR came out of that ASA campaign. It has given our young people the gift of Australian identity in their literature. It has been the life-line in keeping the vibrant voice of Australian writers in schools and libraries.
I have been working as a children's book illustrator for over 25 years.
Where would I be without ELR? Probably supplementing my meagre and erratic income drawing useless things that make me miserable.
Instead, I am able to hone my creative skills, and devote my talents to making worthwhile contributions to children's literacy. ELR are my saviours and I am forever grateful for their financial and moral support. Long live ELR.
As a creator of words I feel privileged to do what I believe in and what I am passionate about. ELR gives me yearly assistance to do that and acknowledges that what I do is important.
We all need financial support to live and in an uncertain industry it is wonderful to have ELR to assist in my quest to create more stories for children to escape into and learn from.
I look forward to June every year because June is ELR month. It is also a writer's lowest bank balance month. ELR arrives like Superman to save me. Along with ELR comes more bookings to visit schools, which is my third love, first being writing. I enjoy visiting schools giving my creative writing courses, telling stories, showing how covers are made, talking about how comics are story boards for animated films, and how important being able to communicate by writing (in your head and then onto a computer) is, especially when going on to university.
This year I went to Auckland, Albury, Wagga Wagga, Adelaide, Brisbane, and Sydney schools and I always come home revitalised with new ideas, so thank you ELR.