more war stories from professional ghostwriter Barry Fox

more war stories from professional ghostwriter Barry FoxDoes “Now” mean today, tomorrow or never?

A company has asked me to ghostwrite a book for them.

I’m dealing with a nice guy at the company, who invited me to submit a proposal with my terms for payment, due dates for blocks of chapters, etc. Nice Guy looked my proposal over, told me it seemed fine, and passed it on to the Legal Department for incorporation into their standard contract.

I just received the contract, which faithfully incorporates my terms – with a little change that has made me wonder: When is after?

In my proposal, I had divided the total fee into five payments

The 1st payment was to be given to me upon signing of the contract; the 2nd payment upon delivery of the first set of chapters; the 3rd payment upon delivery of the second set of chapters; the 4th payment upon delivery of the final set of chapters, and the final payment when all the edits had been completed and the company had approved the final draft.

As I eagerly flipped through the contract they sent, I saw that the Legal Department had changed “upon” to “after,” as in, the writer will be paid “after the first two chapters are submitted on…” and “after the final two chapters are submitted on…”

I’m not a lawyer, but I believe I know what “upon” means

It means as soon as I give them some chapters, they give me some money.

Simultaneously. At the same time.

Sure, sure, allow them a few days to locate their checkbook, a few more to write the check and still a few more to find an envelope and stamp, but otherwise, pay me now.

But “after?” What does that mean?

Does it mean that they pay me a few seconds after the chapters are submitted? A few weeks? Years? Presidential election cycles?

If I agree to “after,” will I ever-after be wondering where my money is?

I’m Barry Fox, a New York Times #1 bestselling ghostwriter. I help executives, entrepreneurs, philanthropists and top professionals create top-notch memoirs and business books. I can also guide you through the self-publishing process. Call me at 818-917-5362.