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Five reasons to write work-made-for-hire Writing


By Terry Whalin @terrywhalin

Last week I mentioned writing the study guide for the bestselling book. Halftime. What I didn’t say in this article is that I wrote this study guide as a job for a rental project. Over the years I have written several articles on Work Made for Hire Contracts (follow this link to see some of them). Many writers run away from such work and reject it. These people believe that they want to protect their rights and publish royalty projects instead of selling all of their rights to someone else.

My literary attorney told me that I’ve signed more Work Made for Hire contracts than anyone she knows. I have also been a working writer in the publishing community for decades. The truth is sometimes that getting the money up front from a publisher is better than hoping for royalties (which may or may not happen).

In this article I want to share five reasons to write Work Made For Hire projects. I call them projects because they’re not always books. Sometimes it’s articles or white papers, or any number of other types of writing.

1. You get immediate work. In the publishing world, you often have to write your article or book in hopes that you will find someone to publish it. With Work Made For Hire, you’ve found paid paperwork that you can do right away – and get it.

2. You get paid for your work. Often times, depending on what you negotiate in a Work Made For Hire contract, you will get half 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 written credit. Some work done for rent is ghostwriting (no credit). On other occasions, my letter will be credited. Sometimes that work appears in the tiny print on the copyright page. In other cases, my name will appear on the front page of the book rather than the cover. In other books where I co-authored the book for someone else, my name appears on the cover as “with W. Terry Whalin”. For the publishing world, this “with” credit means that I wrote the book. If you are new to the publishing world, this loan can be an important part of building your reputation in the publishing world.

Some of the children’s books I 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 will only appear on the copyright line (small print), in other cases my name will appear on the cover. How it turns out for you depends on whether you follow the details of the agreement. Some of my devotional books that I have written as Work Made For Hire have sold over 60,000 copies (which is a great merit for any writer – and something I use from time to time).

4. Provides an opportunity to work for a publisher. For many new writers, publishing for your own work with traditional publishers is a challenge. Sometimes publishers need an author to complete a manuscript in a short amount of time. Years ago I wrote a book for a publisher in a short time and exceeded its deadline. My name is in the fine print on the cover of this book and it continues to be sold. 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 on a contract and got nothing extra, but it is a great honor for a writer.

5. Provides an opportunity to take advantage of an opportunity in a difficult environment. I know some publishers are making careful decisions about what to publish (for a number of reasons, including the pandemic). This caution has made it difficult for writers. Work Made For Hire is a writing that is always needed that allows you to take the opportunity to get published and get paid. If you find it, my encouragement is to you to take the opportunity.

Are you writing Work Made For Hire or did you avoid it? Let me know in the comments below.

Labels: contracts, half-time, publication, agency work

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