The Wonderful World of Work for Hire

Kirsten W. Larson

amicus logo b:w A work for hire book from my publisher, Amicus.

What is work for hire?

Work for hire is when a publishing company develops a book or series idea and then hires an author to write the book. There are many variations on this theme, but here are two of the most common forms.

School and Library nonfiction. Have you ever wondered how all those books about space and dinosaurs get onto the library or classroom shelves? Educational publishers like Capstone and Amicus specialize in creating series of 4 to 8 books focused on a single topic like robots or the Bill of Rights. The publisher drafts guidelines that specify the book titles, page count, word count, reading level, and format of the book. Then they hire writers to research and write one or more of the books in the series.

Licensing. Many trade publishers build chapter books and early readers around…

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