Freelance Writers Subcontracting Letter Of Agreement

by Anne Wayman

The story of how this contract came to be.

Letter of Agreement With XXX XXXXXXX

The Goal: To finish two workbooks with the working titles of  XXXXX XXXXX, aka Workbook 2 and XXX XXXXX XXXX aka Workbook 4. It is anticipated that the finished workbooks will be about 25 pages of a word document.

The Method: XXXX XXXX has already provided Anne an outline of the workbooks.  Anne will use these outlines plus any other information XXXXX  has to complete the workbooks.

Ownership Rights: Anne acknowledges that the workbook is being written for XXXX who will in turn hand it over to an unnamed client. Anne retains no rights to the material or to the workbook in whatever form it ultimately takes.

Anne has signed a non-disclosure agreement with XXXX and this letter of agreement is bound by that non-disclosure agreement.

Cost & Deadline: XXXXXX agrees to pay Anne a total of $xxxx for the completion of the two workbooks. Invoice for the work is to be provided on or before the 20th of (month, year); payment will be made to Anne some time during the first two weeks of the following month.

XXX and Anne have agreed the workbooks are to be completed by midnight, (Day, date, year).

Additional Responsibilities: XXX acknowledges that Anne is not a copyeditor and that XXX will be responsible for the final copyediting of the manuscript.

Both parties recognize that this is a personal service contract which can be canceled by either party. They also acknowledge that they are dear friends and the friendship comes before this or any other agreement.

Revisions: Anne agrees to one revision of these workbooks to be turned around within 72 hours when the revision information/edits is given to her.

contract-signitureAnne Wayman

(Date of signature)

[sig]

Image from http://www.sxc.hu

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Ron Lewis October 10, 2009 at 11:00 am

Hi Anne, I definitely agree with the concept, and please excuse the critique — law school made me a stickler for such things — but you seem to be missing my points. Whether this is a contract or memo of understanding, it should be clearly stated, but it’s not. And since it’s an agreement to perform writing services, I would think, one should be even more careful to represent yourself professionally.

Come on, Anne, making a basic “which” for “that” mistake? That’s junior high school writing. And all the commas missing?

To have an understanding with your dear friend, shouldn’t you be able to understand it? Will the workbooks be about 25 pages, or are they 25 pages of a longer document? By leaving the commas out of the second sentence under The Method, I can’t tell what you’re trying to say. By using the singular “it” in “whatever form it ultimately takes” do you only refer to the workbook(s)? I would think you mean to include the “material” as well.

When you say, “and this letter of agreement is bound by that non-disclosure agreement,” aren’t you, in fact, breaking that NDA by sharing this agreement with us? I doubt that’s what you meant, but you should state it differently.

It’s just a mess and should embarrass you to post it. But worse, it could lead some other junior high school student to embarrass him/her self by using it.

Most of the freelance job boards (at least the two I use) provide sample agreements that are much better. I’d recommend those.

Keep writing – we do love that you try, bless your heart.

r

Reply

Ron Lewis October 9, 2009 at 3:00 pm

Hmm, the link you provided is the same URL as this page, and I don’t see any story here.

It wasn’t that you referred to Helen, it was that neither Helen or Anne are defined, as they would be in an enforceable contract.

I agree with what you say, Mark, and your description of this document as only a memo of understanding between friends is more accurate, but if so, what value does it offer any of the writers here? It would be a disservice to readers if any assumed this was a good sample agreement they could copy.

Perhaps, the answer is in the story behind this agreement, that I seem unable to access. Regardless, I would still be embarrassed, even if only communicating to a friend, to have all those grammar errors in an agreement for writing services. It reminds me of an old comedy routine I heard on the radio as a teen — a guy pretending to be advertising speedreading courses, except that he could only read the cue cards real slow – “You will learn to read faster with the Evelyn Wood speed reading class.”

So, maybe that’s the story — was this all some funny joke?

Reply

Anne October 10, 2009 at 10:17 am

Ron, I’ll answer part of this… I posted it because I’ve found over time it helps to have some sort of written understanding – with a client or with a subcontractor or when I’m subcontracting. My goal isn’t for the Letter of Agreement or Memo of Understanding (Mark’s title and one I will use in the future) stand up in court, but give the two of us a place to go back to if things start to get weird. It’s my personal opinion that any writer working for/with someone, client or other writer, should have something in writing that represents what the parties thought they were doing in the beginning. Often the project stays the same and, when it’s done, matches the original idea. Often enough, however, particularly if the project takes days or weeks or months to complete, it changes and it’s helpful, or at least it is for me, to be able to see what we intended in the beginning.

I’ve been known to generate memos along the way as the project changes.

Works for me, might work for others… if it doesn’t suit you, ignore it please.

Reply

Mark Keating October 9, 2009 at 2:36 pm

Ron:

Perhaps “contract” is the wrong word. Having the responsibilities spelled out in some form is always valuable, perhaps doubly so when working under a tight deadline. Given Anne’s reference to the other writer as a dear friend, I think it’s understandable that they work under a memo of understanding, rather than more rigorous (and time-consuming and expensive) format of a true contract.

Mark
.-= Mark Keating´s last blog ..Where The Green Jobs Are – How to Find Them, How to Get Them =-.

Reply

Anne October 10, 2009 at 10:11 am

Thanks Mark – you’ve got it exactly. Appreciate it.

Reply

Anne October 10, 2009 at 10:12 am

Thanks Mark, you’ve got it exactly.

Reply

Ron Lewis October 9, 2009 at 11:40 am

Oh my. Well, the link still seems to be broken to me. I’m guessing it tells a story of someone threatening your life. That’ s the only reason I can think of that would make you sign that contract. From a legal perspective, it is a minefield of vague, subjective, ill-considered, and undefined terms.

1. The Goal – this implies that you hope to deliver something that meets the intended purpose. Goals are what you strive for, they are not necessarily what you achieve. Perhaps, titling this section “The Deliverable,” or some such definitive term, is more appropriate. I assume the missing commas in the next sentence result from your hasty redact for this column; however, the assumed acronym, “aka,” is not a legal term and should be defined. The paragraph’s ending clause, “will be about 25 pages of a word document,” sounds to me as if there is a longer document involved, of which this work is but a part. I would want that undefined document better identified.

2. The Method – the parties are not defined, so legally, Anne could be anyone. Hope she agrees to help and share that information. The comma missing from that second sentence renders it indecipherable.

3. Ownership Rights – hmm, it seems there’s only one workbook now. Interesting that the employer is handing it over to someone else; however, I’d include that tidbit in their biography and not this agreement. It’s irrelevant. Last sentence in that first paragraph is vague – to what does “it” refer – the material, workbook, or both? Does the comma key work on your keyboard?

4. Cost and Deadline: OK, we’re back to two workbooks again, but who is this “Helen”? Is it a coincidence that she has the same first name as the buyer? A lawyer could certainly argue that. He’d claim it is no more far-fetched than the fact that the other person, this “Anne,” also shares her first name with the other signatory. Wow, small world.

5. Additional Responsibilities: “copyeditor” is undefined, so that disclaimer is almost useless. Dear friends don’t let dear friends misuse “which” instead of “that.”

6. Revisions: cool, this Anne person agrees to one revision – and you’ve not even written it yet!! I looked up “turned around” in Black’s and can’t find a reference. Oh well, I’m sure a jury can figure it out. Since you don’t say when them “edits is given to her,” I’m going to recommend that you move to transfer any lawsuit resulting from this contract to Kentucky, Tennessee, West Virginia, or other parts of Appalachia, so that a translator won’t be required.

I will say, Anne, that if you can get someone to pay you for writing after submitting that contract, you’re a better salesperson that I ever was.

Reply

Anne October 9, 2009 at 11:56 am

Refresh your browser Ron… if that doesn’t work http://www.aboutfreelancewriting.com/2009/10/freelance-writers-subcontracting-letter-of-agreement/ probably will.

Thanks… I thought I got all references to Helen out… now I think I have. And yeah, it should be either one workbook or two…

A

Reply

Lisa October 8, 2009 at 9:19 pm

The link to how it came to be is broken.

Reply

Anne October 9, 2009 at 10:09 am

Lisa, thanks… I fixed it ;)

Reply

Leave a Comment

Current ye@r *

CommentLuv badge

Previous post:

Next post: