Getting Paid a Percentage Copywriters Podcast

    • Business

In the opening of the movie “Echo In the Canyon,” the late Tom Petty is showing Bob Dylan’s son, Jakob, a Rickenbacker 12-string electric guitar. He plays about six chords, stops, and says, “You can’t afford the rest.” And laughs.

What’s underneath the joke is: They’re making a movie, and if he went much further, under music industry rules, the movie-makers would have to pay a large royalty for whatever song Petty was playing if it went on long enough.

It’s definitely a joke because there are many full songs throughout the movie, which I thought was excellent, by the way.

But it brings to mind an important question: What’s the story about royalties, or percentage-of-sales payments, for copywriters? We hear about them all the time but for most people, they’re a huge mystery.

I have some experience with percentage deals myself, and I have a lot of clients who do as well. So I thought we could take a deep dive into this topic today.

• What they are and how they work — or how they’re supposed to work (big picture)

• The publishing industry (includes film, TV, music, as well as books and newsletter publishers)

• Everyone else

• The type of client you want to do a percentage deal with

• The type of client you really DON’T want to do a percentage deal with

• The best type of client to do a percentage deal with

Some questions:

1. If it looks like a good deal, what’s a fair percentage to charge?

2. Does taking a percentage change your fee?

3. How do you know when you’re ready to do this?

Download.

In the opening of the movie “Echo In the Canyon,” the late Tom Petty is showing Bob Dylan’s son, Jakob, a Rickenbacker 12-string electric guitar. He plays about six chords, stops, and says, “You can’t afford the rest.” And laughs.

What’s underneath the joke is: They’re making a movie, and if he went much further, under music industry rules, the movie-makers would have to pay a large royalty for whatever song Petty was playing if it went on long enough.

It’s definitely a joke because there are many full songs throughout the movie, which I thought was excellent, by the way.

But it brings to mind an important question: What’s the story about royalties, or percentage-of-sales payments, for copywriters? We hear about them all the time but for most people, they’re a huge mystery.

I have some experience with percentage deals myself, and I have a lot of clients who do as well. So I thought we could take a deep dive into this topic today.

• What they are and how they work — or how they’re supposed to work (big picture)

• The publishing industry (includes film, TV, music, as well as books and newsletter publishers)

• Everyone else

• The type of client you want to do a percentage deal with

• The type of client you really DON’T want to do a percentage deal with

• The best type of client to do a percentage deal with

Some questions:

1. If it looks like a good deal, what’s a fair percentage to charge?

2. Does taking a percentage change your fee?

3. How do you know when you’re ready to do this?

Download.

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