By Terry Whalin @terrywhalin
Last week I mentioned writing the
study guide for the bestselling book, Halftime. What I did not say in that
article is I wrote this study guide as a work made for hire project. Over the years I've written several articles about Work
Made for Hire contracts (follow
this link to see some of them). Many writers run away from such work and
refuse it. These people believe they are protecting their rights and want to
publish royalty projects instead of selling all their rights to someone
literary attorney has told me that I've signed more Work Made for Hire
agreements than anyone she knows. I've also been a working writer in the
publishing community for decades. The truth is sometimes it is better to earn
the money upfront from a publisher rather than hope for royalties (which may or
may not happen).
this article, I want to give five reasons to write Work Made For Hire projects.
I call them projects because they are not always books. Sometimes they are
articles or white papers or any number of other types of writing.
1. You Get Immediate
Work. Often in the publishing world, you have to write your article or
book with the hope that you will find someone to publish it. With Work Made For
Hire, you have found paying writing work which you can do right away—and get
2. You Get Paid for Your
Work. Depending on what you negotiate in a Work Made For Hire
agreement, often you get half of the money upfront. This fact helps your cash
flow as a writer—especially those of us who write full-time.
3. You Can Build Your Reputation and Get a Writing
Credit. Some Work Made For Hire is ghostwriting (no credit). On other
occasions, my writing is credited. Sometimes this work appears in the tiny print
on the copyright page. Other times my name appears on the title page of the book
and not the cover. On other books where I've co-authored the book for someone
else, my name appears on the cover as “with W. Terry Whalin.” To the publishing
world, this “with” credit indicates I wrote the book. If you are new in the
publishing world, this credit can be an important part of building your
reputation in the publishing world.
Several of the children's books that I have published
were Work Made For Hire. The finished children's books had high quality
illustrations and were a beautiful finished product. In some cases my name only
appears on the copyright line (small print) but in other cases, my name appears
on the cover. How it turns out for you is all about watching the details of the
agreement. Several of my devotional books which I wrote as a Work Made For Hire
have sold over 60,000 copies (which is a great credit for any writer—and
something I use from time to time).
4. Provides A Way to Work for a
Publisher. For many new writers, it's a challenge to publish
with traditional publishers for your own work. Sometimes publishers need a
writer to complete a manuscript in a short amount of time. Years ago I wrote a
book for a publisher in a short amount of time and exceeded their deadline. My
name is in the small print on the cover of this book and it continues to sell.
When I checked a few years ago, this book had sold over 100,000 copies. As the
other examples in this article, I wrote this book as a work made for hire and
haven't been paid anything additional but it is a great credit for a
5. In a hard enviroment,
provides a way to seize an opportunity. I know some publishers are
making cautious decisions about what to publish (for a number of reasons
including the pandemic). This caution has made it hard for writers. Work Made
For Hire is writing that will always be needed and is a way for you to seize the
opportunity, get published and get paid. If you find it, my encouragement is for
you to seize the opportunity.
Do you write Work Made For Hire
or have you avoided it? Let me know in the comments
Labels: contracts, Halftime, publishing, work made for hire