Mystery Writers Forum

The Business of Writing => Publishers => Topic started by: Bob Mueller on January 31, 2007, 09:48:30 PM

Title: Decent rate?
Post by: Bob Mueller on January 31, 2007, 09:48:30 PM
My wife pointed me to Bramley Books ( today, as they're looking for biographical writers for a history project. Guidelines are a PDF file  here (

They're looking for 4,000 to 6,000 words, and here's the pay scale/rights:
$300 will be paid to the author upon publication and the completion of a signed publishing contract. Author shall grant  permission to Knowledge Quest, Inc. to publish the work, both in e-book format and printed book format. Knowledge Quest, Inc. will hold the exclusive rights to the work unless released at some future date, at which time the rights will revert to the author. When printed book is released, contributing authors will be given a 50% discount on unlimited number of books purchased, plus 5 free copies.
It's an educational publisher, so the rights aren't really an issue. I'm a little concerned about the indefinite "future date, though.

How does that pay rate look to anyone?
Title: Re: Decent rate?
Post by: Elena on January 31, 2007, 11:00:50 PM
I can share with you some of the ways I look at free-lance opportunities.   What glares at me is that not only are they taking all the rights (I wouldn't hold my breath for a release at some unspecified date for unspecified reasons), but they are also only paying on publication.  They also are not defining publication - does it mean in both media, or just one?  The assumption would be one, but they actually do not specify.  I tended to avoid payment on publication - I was stiffed more times than not when I tried it.

So, why would I have taken this on when I was a free-lancer?  The main one would be if I could accomplish the entire task, including research, in 12 to 15 hours.  This is reasonable if I had already researched a possible subject, or planned to for another piece. 

Another reason I might bother is if I a) had the time and b) it looked like fun, or c) I wanted to try my hand at writing for kids and seeing what it's like.  Or some other intrinsic reason.

The way I would look at it is the same as if I were writing a piece for a newspaper - a single payment without any expectation of getting the rights back.  I don't know why it being an educational publisher would cause the rights to not be an issue for you - but so be it.

And, then the biggie - clearly you have doubts which generally means the answer is no.  Something is bothering you about it - suffice it to say that it just might not be a good fit for you.

Back to is it a decent rate? - for short quickies I tended to look for $20 an hour inclusive, except for possibly some minor modifications for style.  Which leads me to the guidelines which suggest to me that they don't exactly know what they want, they are just hoping to get a bunch and see  how it shapes up.   The vagueness says to me that it's not an especially important project to them.  Another red flag.

Unfortunately, for the most part free-lance rates are slightly lower than they were when I started free-lancing in the mid-70's.  So, I would say the final decision would rest on whether or not the assignment provides more benefit to you than the possible $300.

Wish I could say something more positive, but free-lancing is rough.
Title: Re: Decent rate?
Post by: Bob Mueller on January 31, 2007, 11:33:38 PM
It's not that I have doubts about the rate or the gig. I just have NO experience free-lancing at all, and have no idea how to price things, and this is the only place I know writers. :)

When I made the comment about rights and an educational publisher, I was meaning that I doubted I'd be trying to resell this piece, so I wasn't really worried about how long they held the rights; it just seemed odd, so I wanted more info. I'm glad you pointed out the payment date. I assumed that since the deadline for manuscripts was 31 May, they'd be publishing soon after that. Oopies.

I'm tempted to try it, if for no other reason than to see how I do on non-fiction. Published is published at this point for me. Besides, I like history. :)
Title: Re: Decent rate?
Post by: stevent on February 01, 2007, 11:06:45 AM
I'd have concerns as well. It might, however, be possible to query at pub dates and pay dates. I've never free lanced. You might want to talk to Michael Bracken (the only free lancer I know).

The pay seems good enough to me, but when you'll see the money is a legitimate concern.
Title: Re: Decent rate?
Post by: Ingrid on February 01, 2007, 01:35:45 PM
Same concerns here.  How reputable are these people?  Have you checked them out?  Talked to previous authors?  If it's just a publishing credit you're after, maybe it will do, but I'd check a little further.

Title: Re: Decent rate?
Post by: Elena on February 01, 2007, 03:00:11 PM
I'm tempted to try it, if for no other reason than to see how I do on non-fiction. Published is published at this point for me. Besides, I like history.

All three excellent reasons to give it a shot.  As well as the fourth, the opportunity to see what it's like to write for late-elementary kids.  If nothing else, it will expand your 'writing muscle'   :D

Let us know how the research and writing goes.

SimplePortal 2.3.3 © 2008-2010, SimplePortal