Writers: whether you are writing copy for an ad agency or an article for a magazine, when you are first contracting to provide writing services, your contracts should include:

  • the nature and description of the work you’re writing,
  • how much you expect to be paid for your work and when you expect payment,
  • deadlines (drafts, final copy) and format of submissions,
  • assignment of rights (copyright, right to publish),
  • how you and the client will deal with changes/edits

Find the right document for the job. Say a client wants you to write some copy for their website extolling the virtues of their product. When providing content for a client, a Work-for-Hire Freelance Writing Agreement will maximize your autonomy while providing the client with the rights to the work after submission. Copywriters, check this Freelance Contract for web content writing. For the ghostwriter, this Ghost Writing Agreement is another way to get paid for conveying stories (and all the rights to them) to the client.

Tip: You can choose the contract template that best fits your needs, and you and your client can customize and easily and legally sign it online using Docracy’s Super Signing feature

If you’re planning on writing without a formal contract, make sure that you create a paper trail detailing your understanding of the agreement. This letter of agreement, from the American Society for Journalists and Authors, is essential for freelancers working without a contract.

If your work requires interviews or materials from third-parties, you may need to get the rights to that content. A Consent, Release, and Non-Disclosure Agreement will provide you with the consent of the third party, guarantee your rights to use the materials they give you, and ensure that the third party won’t disclose to others any details of the project you’re working on. If you’re developing a book or a screenplay based on the life story of another person, use this Life Story Rights Acquisition Agreement to procure the exclusive right to use and profit from the story.

For authors, a Publishing Agreement is great for getting your original work printed, published, and paid for. Detailed to include manuscript deadlines, advertising rights, royalty rates and profit-sharing schedules, this contract contains the essentials for a novelist. If someone wants to publish a piece you’ve already written, look at this Anthology Article Contract, which assigns the rights to publish and republish between you, the publisher and the distributor, as well as sets the fee you will be paid.

And if you’re having trouble getting pen to paper or fingers to the keys, this Writer Agreement is a neat way to make sure you get in the habit of writing every day.