This isn't near enough money to make me think I could write creatively full time, but it's nice to have a little cash coming in.
But more importantly -- I made sure I retained the rights to the story.
Spent a few hours Tuesday at the studio of my good friend Russ in Cedar Rapids. Russ is both a commercial and creative artist who earns much of his living designing logos for businesses large and small. In order to simply survive, Russ often has to offer his services for well below his established rate.
Far too often, when he's done, he gets paid the price and that's that. Never mind that his logo is a huge hit, and gets put on T-shirts and coffee mugs for the next 25 years. The company will pay the T-shirt maker for more shirts, and they'll pay the mug-maker for more mugs -- but Russ gets nothing for the use of his design.
Carolyn Davidson, graphic design student at Portland State University designed the Nike "swoosh" in 1971. She was paid $35. And that's all she got, even though her design became one of the most recognizable in the world.
There is a happy ending to the story. About 12 years later, Nike founder and CEO Phil Knight gave Carolyn a gold "Swoosh" ring with a diamond, and also awarded her an undisclosed amount of very valuable Nike stock. So I am guessing she is doing OK financially. I believe she retired from graphic design a decade ago.
Knight did this out of the goodness of his heart -- he was under no legal obligation to do so. It was excellent public relations for him and his company. It was also the exception -- most artists never see a dime after the initial payment for their work.
This is why I advise all artists and creative writers to do everything you can to keep the rights to your work, whenever you can.
When you're fortunate enough to get an offer right now, of course you're thinking about the money you can make right now. But take some time to think about the money you can make in the future as well. And also -- think about how bad you are going to feel when SOMEONE ELSE is making a fortune off your work, and you'e making nothing.
And also, as playwright J.E. Franklin once told me, "When all is said and done, your words are the only things you have that belong to you and no one else."
She was right.
READ KATIE-LOU AND BUZZY-BLUE HERE.
READ MORE POETRY AND PROSE BY IOWASCRIBE HERE.
FIND SOME OF MY FRIEND RUSS'S ARTWORK HERE.