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Chapter 14 Tending to Businesso

Chapter fourteen topics
  • Setting up shop
  • Laws
  • Taxes
  • Know Your Rights and Fees
  • Work-For-Hire
  • Co-authoring and Contracts
  • Contract Help
  • Getting Your Money
  • The Letter of Understanding
  • Writers Digest Fee Chart
  • Cashing in From Databases
  • Health Insurance
There are many aspects to the "business" side of writing. You'll market your work more effectively the more you understand these important aspects.

For example, when a publisher doesn't send you a contract to sign and return, be sure to enclose your statement or invoice with the submission of your assigned manuscript. Pay close attention to contracts, rights, and copyright issues, too.

Setting up shop
Doing it right is just what you learn how to do when you visit Digital Women web site: Don't be mislead because these resources include the word "women." Each contains valuable business information for either sex.

Tip: I do not suggest that you sign ujp for services, but to learn about business-related terms and issues I recommend studying the information on linked pages at FLOWFUNDING,

The National Foundation for Women Business Owners (NFWBO) online, hosts an exceptional amount of resources. A non-profit research organization, NFWBO's mission is to support the growth of women business owners and their enterprises by conducting research, sharing information and increasing knowledge. You can contact them at:

The National Association of Business Owners, is another site with links to useful business knowledge. Scroll to the bottom and use their Site Map. Then scroll to Business Resource Links. Browse and study.

You'll find other useful help at America's Small Business Development Center Network,

The Publishing Law Center sponsored by the law office of Lloyd L. Rich, is an excellent source of information. Be sure to check out the Links to get to some of the best writing-related links.

This site lists all the publications put out by the IRS to help you figure out how to file, learn about allowable deductions, etc., Click Site Map (at top) to make it easier to find what you're seeking. Also, see publication 535.

Know your rights and fees
First North American Print Serial Rights (FNAPSR).
Question: Does inclusion of a work in an anthology constitutes first printing (with or without the copyright)?

The opinion which counts is that of the editor to which a writer wants to subsequently market the piece. An editor or publisher who wants to purchase FNAPSR wants exactly that, a pristine, virginal work to which you (the creator) are licensing First North American Print Serial Rights. Otherwise, for a work which has appeared in print anywhere, a writer may only sell subsequent rights, such as reprint rights, or one-time rights.

The most important thing for a freelance writer to remember is that unless there is an express written agreement, signed by both parties, that the work is made for hire, the work does not fall into that category. Even where the entire copyright is assigned by the author, he can get it back eventually. But once a work is legally designated a work made for hire, an employment relationship is deemed to exist, and the employer is considered the author for all time, no matter who wrote the piece.

Co-authoring and contracts
When you contract a co-authored book, two separate contracts are necessary. The first is between the writers ~~ outlining the responsibilities and respective shares ~~ and should be drawn and signed before a word is written. If you are drawing up the contract after-the-fact, you need to hope there won't be any problems over the split. If it isn't on paper, it isn't legal.

A copy of this contract goes to the publisher as an addendum to their contract to publish.

Make a condition in the contract with the publisher that they pay royalties to writer separately. You need a lawyer to draw up your contract between authors and possibly examine the publisher's contract for unfair clauses that take away rights you don't wish to sell (ancillary rights such as electronic publication, film and tv rights and stipulations about increasing royalties when the book reaches certain benchmarks.)

You may want to consider an attorney who is also an agent. He or she will know the most about the legal and the publishing ramifications. The cost shouldn't be extreme unless the attorney is bargaining the contract for you, in which case, he will earn for you far more than he charges.

Contract help
American Society of Journalists and Authors (ASJA) is a great supportive organization for writers,

ASJA Contracts Committee ( seeks information about contracts from writers and publishers, ASJA Contract Committee are great folks, willing to offer free help to any writer, whether they're an ASJA member or not. When youneed contract clarification or help, ask them.

Another great organization for writers is National Writers Union (NWU),

Getting your money
Invoicing: Be sure to invoice any publication (or organization you write for) and include all details of your arrangement.

If you are going to donate your writing, send a bill for services anyway, and under total due, put "$0, Balance of xxx Donated to ..." or something like that. That lets both you and whoever is publishing your writing know that your services and your writing have a value.

Remember, you can use writing donations for your charitable contributions on your taxes.

The Letter of understanding

Dear (Editor who assigned article)
The following is my understanding of the details of the assignment that we discussed:
Subject: XXX
Slant: (The slant you and the editor discussed.)
Length: xxx words
Date assigned: (Date editor assigned the article)
Deadline: (Date article is due.)
Publication date: (Date of issue the editor said article will be published.)
Payment: $xxx (agreed on price.)
Pay schedule: Payment (whether on acceptance or on publication -- specify a deadline.)
Rights: First North American, licensed for one time publication. Reprints, electronic, or other secondary publication to be negotiated with author. All rights not expressly transferred are reserved by author. (or whatever you've agreed on.)
Photos \ Art work: You provide; I will provide contacts. (or whatever you've agreed on.)
Acceptance: You will accept the manuscript within xx days or notify author that you require a rewrite. Author will be given reasonable opportunity for a rewrite. Work beyond the scope of this letter does not constitute a rewrite, and additional payment may be necessary.

If there is anything in this letter that is incorrect, please call me at once so that we may be in agreement. Please sign and return one copy of this Letter of Understanding in the SASE provided.

Kind Regards,
[your name]

Getting paid
Use a search engine to search information on writers getting paid.  At Write101,, Laura Backes, author of Best Books for Kids Who (Think They) Hate to Read, writes about how authors get paid.

Getting paid
At A List Apart, Jeffrey Zeldman's (2002) article addresses the difficulty of getting paid.

Writers Weekly, has a forum in each issue, Whispers And Warnings, that tracks non-payers ~~ which is probably most relevant for those who write for magazines and such.

Cashing in from databases
Copyrights Clearance Center: Writers who register their works set their own fees and dictate use of their works.

Health insurance
At least 30% of artists and writers are without any kind of health coverage, according to surveys. That's about twice the national average. In 1994 the National Endowment for the Arts convened a group to look into health care insurance.

Visit the Actor's Fund,, to learn about assistance; top tab, Services and Programs, to Health Care and Health Insurance.

Search, Social Services. and go here, Scroll and read links. Also, check the links under Services and Programs, at the top of the page.

Search insurance will get you extensive links to insurances, etc.,

No writer or artist should go without adequate healthcare for lack of insurance.

  1. Create a business plan.
  2. Set up your record keeping method. (Books, ledgers, reports that will help you at tax time.) 
Advice FromThe Pros,

7-1, Freelance and Security:

7-2, Infringement and Plagiarizing:

7-3, What About Taxes :

7-4, Formatting your manuscript in .pdf:

7-5, Publications That Renig on Payment:

Next, Chapter 15 - The Many Facets of Freelancing:

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