Pros and Cons of Work-for-Hire

susanwrites wrote last week about her struggle to turn down work-for-hire projects. I SO related to everything she said. I’ve been very fortunate to have a lot of work-for-hire work come my way recently (and these are, for the most part, GOOD work-for-hire projects that pay well and are actually pretty fun to do!). But I’ve accepted so many of them that I’m having a hard time getting new books of my own written. There are only so many hours in a day…and it’s a constant struggle figuring out what my real goal as a children’s book author is.

I always thought my goal was to “make a living as a children’s book author.” Well, I made a good living last year…but probably half my income was work-for-hire projects. Which is fine (it wasn’t that long ago that I would’ve been THRILLED to get this much work)…but I’m just starting to build a name for myself as a children’s book author…so it feels like I should cut back on the work-for-hire and spend more time on my own writing. So late last year, I decided I was going to turn down all work-for-hire projects in 2006 and just concentrate on my own writing (because my real goal is to “making a living WRITING MY OWN CHILDREN’S BOOKS.”) That lasted all of five minutes. Because 1) I like to make money; 2) I like that people come to me with work; 3) each individual project doesn’t take very long; 4) it’s good to keep these possibilities open in case I find myself in a position where I actually NEED to make more money; and 5) most of these projects are FUN.

So now I have the opportunity to do four different projects (2 classroom plays and 2 second-grade mysteries). Again…fun projects (though I’m still trying to get more information on the mysteries…this is a company I haven’t actually written for before). Good pay…I could hire a cleaning lady to come every other week for two years with the money I’d make doing these four projects…which seems like a VERY good use for the money to me, and I would GLADLY accept the assignments if I could get the rest of my family to agree to let me hire a cleaning lady…but those negotiations aren’t going so well. And accepting these assignments is going to set me back on my other projects a bit. So, I don’t know…

What to do…what to do…what to do…

8 thoughts on “Pros and Cons of Work-for-Hire

  1. Good luck with your decisions! A cleaning lady sounds great to me as I look around and see our normal end-of-weekend clutter 🙂

    How does a person break into this sort of work? It’s mind boggling how much I have to learn about this business!

  2. Oh, the first thing I said to my husband when I took this work-for-hire gig I’m doing right now is that a hunk of the money is going to go to house-cleaning–and he readily agreed.

    Good luck with your own negotiations.

  3. My every other week cleaning service is the greatest thing in the world. I think I’d rather go hungry than have to clean my toilets again. But maybe that’s just me, who hates cleaning with a fierce, undying passion. For family members who they don’t want a cleaning person hired, show then the broom and the mop and the toilet bowl cleaner, and tell them to go to town with that.

    I’ve done work for hire stuff too, and am sort of going through what you’re going through. It’s definitely impacting how much of my own stuff I can write. But then again, I enjoy it, the pay’s decent, and I feel like it’s helping me be a better writer.

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