A personal diary keeping people abreast of what I am working on writing-wise.

Friday, June 08, 2012

WRITER-FOR-HIRE: How about a personal commission?

"Adventure wanted, will go anywhere, do anything -- write Box 13, Star-Times."

Box 13 is my favorite radio serial, and while I am not hiring myself out for adventure like Dan Holliday (unless you're a generous heiress; then let's talk), I have decided to try an experiment in taking commissions.

That's right. Original commissions. From a writer. For you to purchase.

The idea has been percolating for some time. It's been suggested to me that I should start writing quick, personalized pieces of fiction at conventions. As a writer, I sit there all day watching my artist friends draw and make cash, while I try to get by on hustling books. Such is the life of a comics scribe. (Not intended as a "boo-hoo, woe is me," just stating the facts.)

Same goes for when we're at home. Joëlle has a six-month wait on her drawings. I have a six-minute wait while this Hot Pocket cools down. How can I use this time better?

The answer is simple: write a commission for you.

How so? you ask

Well, remember these: "Romantica" series by Jamie S. Rich & Christine Norrie

These are basically what I am proposing. I wrote these short pieces by taking Christine's drawings and writing what came to mind while looking at them.

I can do the same for you. Short fiction pieces, slices of life, captured moments. 

And here's how I propose to do it:

* You send me a prompt. This can be a word or a sentence; it can be a drawing or a photo you like; it can be your own sketch. Anything goes. It doesn't have to be romantic. It can have a genre element, it can be free form.

* I take the prompt and I write the piece. It might be really short, it might be longer, but it will be yours and yours only.

* I print the story on nice paper. Not flimsy copy paper. Nice paper with a little tooth. I mail it to you flat. Signed. Personalized if you like. Ideally, each piece will fit on one sheet so you can frame it.

* Cost is $25 + $6 postage. Payment due upon my accepting the job. [International customers will have to adjust for shipping; $13 to Canada and $17 to the rest of the world.]

* The only added fee is an extra $15 if you have a specific need, like a gift with a purpose or something personal. Something that we might have to do some refining on to get it right for you. (Reasonable refining.) This is negotiable. [Note, too: I can't guarantee success if you want to, say, have me write a story that will have an actual purpose or be intended for a desire result, like one that will lead to a marriage proposal. If he or she says "no," not my fault.]

* E-mail me. Let's set this up. golightly[a]gmail[dot]com

* Commissions will be delivered within four weeks.

* Note: You can also ordered any of my books signed at this time, provided I have them in stock. Comics I did with Joëlle can be signed by both us, and we split the cash.

There are also a few ground rules, for you and for me:

* You are not purchasing print rights for the material. I can put it on my blog, you can put it on your blog, but you can't do anything else with it. Much in the same way you can't make a print if you get a drawing at a convention or run a commissioned piece as a pin-up in your comic; that costs considerably more. I retain intellectual copyright on the material.

* I will never sell another version to anyone else. You get the only printed copy. (You can sell that sheet to someone else, just like artwork, but not a reproduction.)

* Due to intellectual copyright issues, we must be wary of you asking me to work with your characters or an idea you have for a story if you don't have a pretty solid foundation for that character. That ends up being development work and a slippery slope.

* If you send me someone else's drawing or photo, obviously they still own that and my work will be what it is: "inspired by."

And I think that's it. I may update this as more issues come up. Sorry for the boilerplate, but this is new territory. I don't know if Anaïs Nin had similar caveats for the erotica she wrote for private collectors, but that was before the internet and a lot of her stuff was probably illegal. (I'm not dirty enough to compete, so don't get any funny ideas.)

All questions obviously welcome. There's a good chance you're as confused by all this as I am.



/Karen/ said...

What an interesting idea!

Point for clarification: I assume you would still hold the copyright for the piece and could later publish it somewhere if the opportunity arose?

Jamie S. Rich said...

Karen: Technically, yes, since the writing itself is something I must maintain ownership of; though I don't foresee every wanting to do a collection of these. I guess it would depend on how they accumulate. Knowing me, more likely I'll either fold them into a larger prose piece as some kind of anecdote or whatever, or just steal good lines back. But my attention is to keep them special to the buyer.

Anonymous said...

Inspired idea.

If this goes well for you, I'm totally aping the concept.

Jamie S. Rich said...

Then cool your jets, Eric, coz I ruin everything.