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Asking for Map Royalties

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#1
TomR

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Hello All-
Given a situation where you've done quite a bit more project management and cartographic work on a retail map product than your job description states (also at the same hourly pay rate), what is the etiquette for asking your supervisor for a small, say 10%, cut of net profits (i.e. a royalty)? This is given a small-cartography-company environment.
Thanks in advance.
Tom

#2
natcase

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Hello All-
Given a situation where you've done quite a bit more project management and cartographic work on a retail map product than your job description states (also at the same hourly pay rate), what is the etiquette for asking your supervisor for a small, say 10%, cut of net profits (i.e. a royalty)? This is given a small-cartography-company environment.
Thanks in advance.
Tom


Royalty arrangements are a pain in the kazangi to manage (more accounting than most people want to deal with). How about leveraging your work on the project to an upgraded job description (i.e. "if I'm going to be doing the work, I'd like to be paid proportionally for it"). I'd give better odds on that approach.

And if they say no, you have a nice portfolio piece to look elsewhere with.

I was hired by Tom Hedberg as a store clerk sixteen years ago, and started making a map on the side for the store. Sixteen years on, here I and Tom still am. So look at it as an opportunity, not a rip-off (unless that is clearly your employer's attitude...).

Nat Case
INCase, LLC

Minneapolis, Minnesota USA
maphead.blogspot.com



#3
MapMedia

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Maybe a year-end bonus, based on tally or map sales? Your on-occasion production quality map projects could yield Christmas bonus checks.
As for etiquette, I would create an opportunity to talk about the map, and ask if he/she is satisfied with the map. Wait for the compliments. Then say how much
work went into it, more than one realizes etc., then 'Since you like the final product and seeing how I might do this on occasion, I wold appreciate an end-of-year royalty, based on year end sales.
Does that sound fair?'

I think you should cobble together your own words of course, but I think you don't need too much etiquette other than a pleasant, logical chat. Good luck.

#4
rudy

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I've got a number of cartographers working with me. Some do more than others. Royalties would never be an option - they get paid to make and produce maps, after all - but certainly the effort people put into their work gets considered at the end of the year when it comes to determining raises. Keep track of the work you do and remind the boss when it is time to discuss compensation.

#5
MapMedia

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Tom, what is your job description at present? Sounds like you were not brought on to make maps, but have developed into it.

#6
byzantium

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This royalty idea seems like the greatest bit of envy that some journalists I know imagine are available for the asking in the map making world.

Unfortunately they do not seem like a possibility unless you are the Larry 'Emerald City' of negotiation. I have made many a map and never gotten a penny from royalties. In fact, the degree of ownership of the copyright in my recent projects is going the wrong way... out of my hands. Really makes cartography look like something almost as rewarding financially as a teaching job.

And even if you were the snake oil salesman of mapping, think about this: when everybody gets a % share of the profits from a creative work, expect Hollywood accounting rules to suddenly become the norm. That is, suddenly there would be a loss even on a fantasticly great selling map.

My opinion: few managers would be receptive to asking to change the terms of employment or financial renumeration after the work is done. Just not kosher. Of course part of that is that companies have a lock on the balance of power between management and workers.

b

#7
MapMedia

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Those may be some brass tack generalities, but I believe it is possible, as any negotiation comes down to the personalities at the table (corporate structure aside). Call me an optimist.
Anyway Tom, if anything comes of your maps, you will likely be rewarded in future evaluations/negotiations ('Are we negotiating? Always.')

#8
byzantium

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I was referring to the situation in the USA with respect to balance of power. Have no idea exactly how it is in the EU--but I'm sure it is different in say Germany or Sweden.

I really think that the best time to bring up royalties is before the job starts. I don't think you'd be fired or laid off for bringing it up then. And a lot of this depends on the corporate culture. Every once in a blue moon (1 in 100 companies), there'll be a culture that is flexible enough to be able to deal with an honest exchange of information without the threat of retaliation.

Getting to specifics, I can tell you if I suddenly brought up royalties for my creative works after they were done at any of the companies I've worked for in the US, I'd be put at the top of the "dump this person as soon as possible" list. Most employee agreements stipulate that the company owns (or has the right to declare ownership of) every original idea you come up with, even in your spare time. So if you invent a better mousetrap on your weekends, the patent you file will most likely be judged to be ownable by your employer. The vaunted values of Freedom and Liberty are pretty much lip service only in the US corporate world.

b

#9
TomR

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All-

Much thanks for the insights. I was hired on as a GIS Manager, with some cartographic tasks in my job description. Cartographic finishing was left up to my supervisor, but I've picked up and applied a good number of AI/Mapublisher styling skills in the year and half since I started.

Anyhow, sounds like the bonus and/or salary increase angle is worth a shot, especially given the informal, small business environment I work in. Hope this helps those positioned similarly.

Regards,
Tom




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