Tuesday, July 30, 2013

What About the Money in Ghostwriting/Collaborating? (Part 2a of 5)

Covenants and Agreements

Because some have asked for a sample, this entry will focus on a book which I expect to sell and have believed royalty was the better way to go. My first was Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story. I'm still earning royalties.

My next entry will focus on what we refer to as a flat-fee arrangement. That means writers receive a one-time payment. During my first days of collaborating, I did only flat-fee arrangements.

Royalty Covenant

This is a sample agreement I wrote a decade ago. I tried to outline everything the author could expect from me and what I, as the writer, could expect. This agreement is when I propose a shared royalty. (Because of my experience, I ask for 50 percent of the royalty.)


Dear XXX:

When we met for lunch yesterday, I outlined for you the basis for our working together to prepare a book proposal to send to my agent. I want to repeat those items in this letter so that it becomes our covenantal agreement.

1. I will write a book proposal for you, using the general format my agent requires. This includes two sample chapters, an overview of the book, information about you, explanation of the intended market, an annotated bibliography of competitive books, and a marketing plan. I will submit my writing to you in rough-draft form for your changes and approval before it goes into a final form for submission.

2. After you have approved the entire proposal, I will submit it to my literary agent, Deidre Knight of the Knight Agency.

3. From the time I have received adequate material from you for the book until the presentation of the final proposal, I anticipate a period of approximately two months.

4. For the work of this proposal, my fee is $xxxx. If you agree to the terms I’ve laid out in this letter, your check for $xxx will serve as a covenantal agreement. The remaining $xxx will be payable when you are satisfied with the final proposal. Please make check payable to: Omore Taya, Inc.

5. We have agreed that if my agent sells this book, she will take 15 percent commission first. You and I will then split the rest of the royalty 50 percent each. [Note: on foreign rights, if she uses a sub-agent, the commission runs 20-25 percent.]

6. If my agent sells this manuscript on the basis of the proposal, the advance of $xxx will be deducted from my portion of the royalties. If my portion of the advance does not exceed that amount, you will receive the entire advance and that will constitute the end of my repayment.

7. Assuming my agent sells the manuscript, the authorship of the book will read: by xxxx with Cecil Murphey.

8. If at any point you wish to withdraw from this agreement, a letter or verbal statement is sufficient.

Yours sincerely,

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