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For the last several months, I've had a a professional assignment writing an ongoing series for a well-known website. It was repurposed from a book I wasn't able to sell to a publisher. It's been well-received as a series, so I'm thinking about working up a new proposal for a reworked version of the original book, and shopping it around to publishers again.

It occurs to me it might be a win-win if I could convince the website to co-brand it as "presented" by them. So, it would be the same book, but I'd include some of their branding on the cover, etc. Does anyone have any experience with anything like this? Would I owe them a flat fee, or a percentage, or would that all be a negotiation?

Note: The website only owns first rights, I still have copyright over the source material --which I would probably rewrite in any case.

  • Hi Chris, interesting question. Do you really want to create a new tag, platform here? We already have websites which is fairly well used. We also have blog which may or may not be relevant. I'd also add non-fiction. – Cyn says make Monica whole Jun 12 '19 at 5:03
  • What does your contract with the website say? Do they own the copyright for the material now? – S. Mitchell Jun 12 '19 at 11:48
  • it looks like you are asking about brand leasing: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brand_licensing -- in case, it could be worth updating the title too – NofP Jun 12 '19 at 12:20
  • @Cyn I think "platform" is its own, useful, on-topic tag. "Platform" is anything, not just online, that consistently gives a writer more (positive) visibility, and increases the likelihood that people will buy their book. – Chris Sunami supports Monica Jun 12 '19 at 13:26
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    @NofP - Updating the title of the question? Or of the book? If the second, I would definitely go with something like "X presents Y", where Y is the original title, and X is the potential partner. – Chris Sunami supports Monica Jun 12 '19 at 13:28
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Although I don't have experience working with a publisher, “co-brand,” and author, I did work on the flip side of this as part of the publishing company/co-brand.

We reprinted seven or eight books by an author who had previously printed them thirty years ago with a different publisher. He still owned the copyright and was able to work with us, without informing the previous company.

We wrote up a contract and negotiated how much he was paid for a flat rate, how we now had part of the copyright, and how much we could change based on this newfound copyright ownership. (We only printed KJV Bible verses, but this author used other versions of scripture. Basically, we needed permission to swap to our preferred version which he happily agreed on. Also, we corrected grammar mistakes and spelling just to be professional.)

Because we worked on this agreement with him, he received some money, and we received funding and had our branding as the publisher.

All this to say, if you have the copyright to your work, you shouldn't need their permission to have it printed. If you want them to be the “co-brand,” then they will definitely want their logo included, their name and possible links on the inside, and some profit from it. Considering you have the copyright, a flat rate fee should be plenty for them, but ultimately you must discuss it with the company.

You may even want to find a publisher first and see how much you'd be paying, and how much you'd get paid to have this printed. You'd be splitting it with the co-brand after all if they do in fact agree to work with you.

Just my two cents. Hope this helps some!

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When I wrote this answer, it was borderline a true answer to the question. With a recent question edit, it doesn't really answer it all. I'll leave it up as a legacy answer, unless there's a movement to delete it.


I'm trying to think of any relevant personal experience (or that of someone I know well) I have to share about similar situations, and I don't. Then I thought that the person who does is you. What did you negotiate for the current series (not asking for details you don't want to share)? We know the copyright arrangement. Flat fee? royalties? both? Though I would assume they'd pay you, not you them. Any take (from advertising) would be on their end, no?

One writer I know of who has her own successful advice column/blog who also writes for known online sites is Alison Green of Ask a Manager. She uses the term "brand partnership."

Brand partnership, or co-branding, is a popular marketing technique used to transfer the success of one brand to the partnered brands. With co-branding, one partner offers their branded product in conjunction with another company's branded product, such as a fast food restaurant offering a branded toy with a meal. Co-branding can also occur when the partners physically combined their separate branded products to create a new and unique product shared by the partners, such as mixing a branded toothpaste with a branded mouthwash. The separate brands don't need to be equal in the marketplace, but the relationship should be obvious to consumers.

Some people simply get paid for articles they write that are published online or on paper. In her case, she's collaborating with magazines like Inc. and Slate to leverage her brand and their brand to mutual advantage. I have zero idea of the payment arrangements, but she appears to retain copyright (the questions, but not answers, still appear on her blog).

I can't imagine any site that would charge someone for providing content, with the exception of an outright advertisement. As a website creator, I've over the years received offers from companies to allow them to pay me to put up an article they've written, one that highlights and promotes their product. Because they specifically wanted their article to be on the same level as the neutral articles I wrote myself (or got permission to use from from mailing list users), I always turned them down. (This was before online ads were easy peasy to set up so I did a few manually but really didn't explore my options, much to my regret.)

If you're providing actual content (and the link to your current work confirms it), websites and other locations won't be out to do you a favor. If the content is something they want, they'll "purchase" it. In quotes because most will offer you a big fat nothing, except eyeballs. Publishers in paper will offer you copies. But some will pay. Here's a new online zine with some serious money.

You're the author, you retain copyright unless you specifically sign it away in your contract, and payment can be a flat fee or royalties or both, depending on what you negotiate, but more likely a flat fee.

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  • Thanks, @Cyn. I am currently paid by the post for the series, similar to having a regular column in a print magazine. What I'm proposing, however, is publishing my book, under my copyright, but with their "stamp of approval." – Chris Sunami supports Monica Jun 12 '19 at 14:53
  • @ChrisSunami This isn't clear from your question. I thought you were asking about creating a new series of articles (or unpublished ones from the same collection) and repeating what you've done already. Are you looking for serialization? endorsement? having them publish/co-publish the book? heavy advertising on their site? ??? – Cyn says make Monica whole Jun 12 '19 at 15:01
  • I've edited the original post, hopefully to be more clear :) – Chris Sunami supports Monica Jun 12 '19 at 15:12
  • @ChrisSunami Thanks for the clarification. My answer is completely off now, but hopefully you'll get some direct answers that work for you. – Cyn says make Monica whole Jun 12 '19 at 15:20

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