Freelance Writers Beware by Mickey J. Corrigan

Author Mickey J. Corrigan shares about Freelance Writers

Freelance Writers Beware!
Mickey J. Corrigan
When the royalty money isn't pouring in like you'd hoped, you might decide to take on some freelance writing to help those ends meet. I've been a writer for many years and I split my time between my own fiction and my clients' work. Writers hire me to ghostwrite or edit. Publishers hire me to do the same.
I love the work. The money is upfront (rather than months after a book is released) and the people are wonderful. I love writers. And editors. And publishers.
Except when I don't.
Here's my worst freelance horror story.
My first ghostwriting gig was many years ago. I was young and I didn't know how much I would need to protect my rights as a writer. I didn't really think about it. I'd published a textbook and was hard at work on a second. When a brand new  publishing company offered me a job ghostwriting a health book for a physician, I jumped on the opportunity. I worked long hours for ridiculously low pay to turn a two-page outline into a handy pocket-size guidebook. The contract was a half-page sheet simply stating that I was a work for hire writer and would receive no royalties.
The doctor and the publisher were pleased with my work. Could I write a few more little health books? Sure I could. I wrote six of them. When they refused to pay me for the work I'd done on one of the books, I quit.
Decades passed during which I published more books and established my reputation as a writer.
One hot summer day I received an email from the long-forgotten publisher. They were planning to release a 300-page book based on my old work for them, plus whatever else they felt like adding to stretch the text. And, since I had published so many books, they would use MY name on the cover. And my photo, which they could "get off the Internet."
What? They couldn't do that! Could they?
They thought they could. In fact, they designed a cover with my name on it, and purchased the ISBN. They listed the book on Amazon and many other retail sites.
When I did some research, I discovered they had published more than a dozen little books by dividing up my material in various ways and repackaging it. They'd even sold one title to Random House.
But that's normal work for hire stuff. The problem was, they had used my name on some of the material. Without my consent.
My lawyer had to convince their high-powered attorney that this was neither legal nor wise. After a stressful summer and considerable expense, the publisher cancelled the book.
Lesson learned: whenever you do freelance work, run your contract past a knowledgeable attorney. As writers we must always protect ourselves.
Originally from Boston, Mickey J. Corrigan lives and writes and gets into trouble in South Florida,
where the men run guns and the women run after them. The tropics provide a lush, steamy setting for hot Florida pulp. Recent books include the edgy novellas in The Hard Stuff series from the Wild Rose Press: Whiskey Sour Noir, Vodka Warrior, Mai Tail Guy (a free read) and the new novella Tequila Dirty.

Visit Mickey at:
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Blurb for Tequila Dirty:
Something bad has happened (again) in Dusky Beach. And Rita Deltone, a
tough talking waitress from Lemon Run, Florida, is smack in the middle of it. She's being interviewed while all trussed up, lying there in the stark white room with a bandage on her head. She knows all too well the dirt road she took to get down so low, but she takes the long way around in the telling.

Liam Donell is the new detective in town. His partner is on vacation so he has to handle all the dirty work. But this Rita chick is pretty cute. He's not making the best decisions regarding the case, then it turns real ugly.

An unlikely couple, Rita and Liam try to make the best of a bad situation. With hot, hilarious, and surprising results.

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  1. Great post on revisions, congrats Mickey!

  2. That's quite a story. I'm really glad you and your lawyer were able to show them the error of their ways.

  3. Ooof! What an outrage! I'm so glad you could sort it out! It's always a risk isn't it?


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