Ghostwriters: Run From Clients Who Offer Shared Royalties

Hi everyone! Wanted to reach out to my Ghostwriting Cash students today because someone sent me an email that I need to let you learn from, too.

The ghostwriter was on Elance when she was invited to bid on a project. I’ll change up the details to protect identities, but basically (this is common) – she was offered a VERY low up front payment with a percentage of the future earnings of the product. The project was HUGE too. So it basically boils down to earning about $1.33 per page – for GHOSTWRITING, not PLR.


I hate reading these offers. I remember them from my days on Elance. They’re common. Chances are, someone has offered that deal to you – or they will. 

Here’s why I get annoyed with this:

Nine times out of ten, this is someone who has been “taught” by seedy gurus that they can weasel their way out of freelance fees by offering this kind of deal.

They have zero intention of paying you a fair share of the earnings.

YOU have zero control over whether or not they properly promote the product. What if they launch and no one buys? Enjoy your $1.33 per page then.

Do you have money for a lawyer to draw up paperwork for the legal arrangement? Do you have money to sue if they violate the agreement – or ANY way whatsoever to check on the sales in the first place?

Probably not.

This is WAY more hassle than it’s worth – and it’s most likely just a way for a cheapskate to get some cheap writing. But unfortunately, many of these guys make themselves look like proper marketers – or companies with lots of books on the market. Unless it’s a household name like Harlequin or something, SAY NO!

Saying yes? Well, you might as well find a barrel, bend over it say, “Okay I’m ready!” Because you are about to get screwed royally.

So here’s what you say instead:

“I’m sorry but I don’t bid on projects where shared royalties are involved. There’s no way for me to monitor and ensure proper product promotion, and it requires a lot of legal paperwork to set things up. I only work on an upfront per page basis. But thank you!”

Save yourself a lot of time, energy and frustration. Wait for clients who have money to pay upfront. And one more thing – many of these guys are just testing you. If you’ll go for it – they’ll LOVE to pay you some crappy amount for writing. But if you say no, IF they really want to hire YOU specifically, they will reply with, “Okay we can do that – go ahead and bid for the full project!”

If that “company” or “marketer” is so successful as they’re probably claiming, then they WILL go ahead and pay upfront. If they offer shared royalties, it means they’re broke.

…and THAT’S that you want to take a chance on?


Hope this helps you guys protect yourself. I hate seeing my GWC students get offered deals like this.

Tiff 😉

17 Responses to “Ghostwriters: Run From Clients Who Offer Shared Royalties”

  • Lilian says:

    Tiffany, it’s good that you warn others about these offers! Can’t say that they(the people offering) are bad since we hardly know them, but it’s better to keep it simple and not get lured into these ‘attractive future’ promises. Pay now and get the writings. Too risky to bet on the future.

    Also seen something similar in the programming/coding work where people were not paid but offered a share of this ‘future’ startup company. Once the software gets sold/be the next FB etc, they get rich,… and THEN you get a share of the profit as what you’re supposed to be paid for the software.

    • Tiffany says:

      Right I’m saying 9/10 probably don’t have good intentions. There’s that ONE – but he’s rare like a unicorn.

  • I still get offers like that. It’s almost always one of two types of people:

    1. Someone who is planning on scamming you to get work for next to nothing.
    2. Someone who can’t afford a writer.

    If they can’t afford a writer, it means likely means they don’t have an audience already and they don’t have money to invest in other aspects of the project like graphics. It’s just no good all around.

  • I know! I have had similar “invites” LOL! Frankly, I don’t like Elance or any other such auction sites. They act as the “middleman” and on top of it, you have to fight off the scummy offers from so-called top-notch marketers who are lurking in the corner to catch a poor soul who’s just started! Better keep some cash aside and put an add in the WF hire section! This is how I started! I am not feeding others EVER AGAIN! After a while, they’re easy to spot though, even when you run your own site! I get offers from people asking me “HOW CHEAP I COULD BE?” because he is just starting his business and doesn’t want to pay much but doesn’t mind if I write for nothing! Thanks, but I am not Mother Theresa! She would have declined too, I am sure!

  • Mary Kathan says:

    Good tips – I have not seen this yet but it sounds like I will!

    Mary Kathan

  • Bonnie Gean says:

    I can’t believe people actually approach others with a “deal” such as this. Go bark up somebody else’s tree to get the goods for zilch!

  • hagar says:

    I have gotten a LOT of these offers; usually from the guys who offer “lots of work”. If they have no paid contracts, ten offers open, and want you to go to Skype to “discuss terms” – DON’T.
    You won’t get paid, and you WILL miss other contracts that WOULD have paid you – except you were too busy to take them.
    If you have a steady client that wants to negotiate a side deal – different story. But a first-time client who wants to “take you offsite to pay moer money” – remember the rule; “A con can’t work, if you don’t think you’re putting one over on someone by taking part”.

    • Tiffany says:

      Oh yes LOL! The “I have lots of work” offer. Guaranteed to make a ghostwriter’s eyes glaze over and drool to start pouring out of their mouth.

  • sam says:

    Great advice here. Don’t do this sort of thing. It is not to your advantage. Sam

  • that is so true, Tiffany, Back in my guru.com days I used to see those kinds of offers. I usually avoided them because I’d rather have the right money in my hand straight away. But I had a bit of knowledge about book publishing, that many article writers may not have.

    btw. I did wonder where you had got to, too. Glad you are still around, lol

Free Gift:

Interview of my mentor who got me to a six figure level!


Recent Comments