Now that you’ve submitted your perfect proposal, you’re presented with a contract. Congratulations! If you’re like many designers you fire off a “yes!” right away regardless of the terms. But, did you know that you can negotiate? You don’t have to say “yes” to everything that’s offered.
The first thing most people think about is money. What are they offering? Is it reasonable for the amount of work this project is going to take in the amount of time it’s going to take? What is reasonable anyway?
You’ll want to check out the site Who Pays Knitters. This might give you a general idea of the publication/company and what they pay for the type of item you are making for them. If the company is giving you a lowball number, don’t be afraid to ask for more.
Be polite and suggest a higher number. Try something like, “I’m thrilled you want to publish my design. However, $X seems a little low, would you be willing to pay $X instead?”
Sometimes this isn’t adjustable, but it doesn’t hurt to ask. If you need more time on something, especially if you know you’re going to be pressed for time, it’s always best to ask upfront. Usually magazines are less flexible than yarn companies because of publication and photography schedules.
Keep in mind that if you ask for a new schedule it’s imperative that you are on time. Don’t be late! If you ask for more time and still don’t meet the deadline, you’ll end up looking unprofessional and the company will probably not want to work with you again.
Rights are another negotiation point. Does the company keep all rights forever? Do rights return to you? These are questions that you should have answered in the contract and if need be, negotiate to your liking.
Most companies want some period of exclusivity and then some portion of rights return to the designer. Not all companies work this way, but most have turned to this model. Make sure you know and agree to terms before signing any contract.
Designer Jen Lucas shared her great tips for negotiating magazine and yarn company contracts on her blog; be sure to check it out!
Remember, if you’re offered the contract, then the work is good; don’t be afraid to advocate for yourself. If the terms aren’t acceptable, take your work somewhere else.