This Week in Self-Publishing: An Update on the Lyric Licensing Project

This Week

Books sold: 1 ebook (Amazon)

Money earned: $1.71

Money spent: $0


Books sold: 356 ebooks, 147 paperbacks

Money earned (book sales): $1,435.07

Money earned (Patreon): $6,909

Money spent: $4,855.71

I wanted to give you a quick update on the whole “trying to license a Hamilton lyric” thing.

To recap: since licensing lyrics can get expensive, I rewrote all of the sections of Volume 2 that included song lyrics except for one. As I explained in last week’s update:

Whenever I rework a piece of text so it doesn’t rely on a character singing or remembering a song lyric, I do feel better about the text afterwards. Yes, it would be nice if I could write out the actual phrase that is stuck in a character’s head (or that a character is singing onstage, or rehearsing with a choir) but it’s also fun to figure out how to allude to it without quoting it.


But I decided to go ahead with the permissions request [for the Hamilton quote] because I’d never actually sent one — you might remember that I thought about sending out requests for Volume 1 and then ended up rewriting all of the sections — and I wanted to get over my fear of doing it.

So I filled out the request form and very quickly learned that my request had been denied.

I wasn’t expecting this. I’ve licensed cover songs before — like the Gruber sisters, I grew up in a family of musicians — and that process was almost like going to a store: you pick the song you want, select the number of times you plan to license it, and pay the fee. If you sell more copies than you have licenses, you go back to the licensing site and pay them again.

However, if there’s one thing I am used to in this career it is rejection, so I have no problem rewriting the chapter. It’s probably the stronger choice anyway. ❤️

Photo by Valentino Funghi on Unsplash.