Using this guide
Who should use this guide
This guide is a professional development resource for creative writers. Its primary target audience is any writer (young or old, emerging, mid-career or established) in Australia or overseas, who aims to earn income as a professional creative writer and is interested in how the new media industry can enhance their craft skills and income earning potential.
The secondary audience is any artist or practitioner (producer, games developer, publisher, funding body) whose work may be informed by this resource.
The aim in developing this guide is to create a freely available and widely accessible repository of knowledge and information on the theme of professional creative writing in a digital context. While acknowledging that writers often balance their creative writing with other professional writing such as journalism, or entirely separate careers in other fields, this guide is focused on what you do as a professional creative writer.
For the purposes of this guide we identify three broad career paths for professional creative writers and tailor advice accordingly. These are:
- employed – writers within an organisation or company, who do not retain any intellectual property (IP) or ownership of copyright and do not have complete creative control, but do earn a regular salary from creative writing, e.g. games writers
- self-employed – novelists, poets and any kind of author whose work is published by a third party and who earn a royalty from their IP; authors and performance writers who are the writers on other people’s projects or who develop their own concepts and take them to a film, theatre or new media production company, or direct to a broadcaster or online publisher to be produced. These writers possibly retain ownership of copyright depending on the contract and usually work on time-limited projects so have to also generate new business for themselves on an ongoing basis (selling the next idea or winning the next contract)
- entrepreneurs – writers who develop an entire business around professional creative writing, often with a business partner or team and usually with some investment from third parties. These writers definitely maintain ownership of copyright and have a greater ability to exploit it more easily in other areas. They must understand how to run and structure a business and be prepared to attract investors and sell their idea(s).
We also identify three broad types of writing in the new media industry:
- digital content such as computer games and interactive fiction
- digital and traditional media combinations such as cross-platform storytelling
- digital content to increase the reach and market of traditional media (traditional media is the term used to describe print media such as books and magazines, and TV, film and theatre).
The terms digital and new media are used interchangeably in this guide.
How to use this guide
In devising the focus of this publication, we have identified three professional writing career types: employed, self-employed and entrepreneurs; and three types of new media industry writing: digital, cross-platform and promotional:
The diagram at the beginning of each chapter will guide you to those that are most relevant to you now and in the future as your needs and interests change.
If the chapter is not particularly relevant to one of the career or writing types it will appear lighter than those that are.
The writer's guide to making a digital living: choose your own adventure by Fingleton, T. Dena, C. & Wilson, J. for the Australia Council for the Arts is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-Share Alike 2.5 Australia License. For permissions beyond the scope of this license contact http://www.australiacouncil.gov.au/about_us/contact_us.