Sunday, October 26, 2008

PayPal Invoices

If you've ever sent a PayPal invoice, you might have paused a bit when it came to labeling the request. After choosing the amount of the invoice and the email address that it will go to, PayPal invoices require the one sending the invoice to label what is being sold. The choices are Goods, Services, eBay Items and Auction Goods (non-eBay). The eBay and Auction Goods options are clearly incorrect unless you've figured out a way to sell your writing services through eBay (and if you have- you rock!).

That just leaves Goods and Services. So which one is it? Sometimes I choose one, sometimes the other and for no real reason. I was sending an invoice today and really started wondering about this. Is it really a good or a service that we should be invoicing for? Legally, I'm guessing it's a good, since we are selling the rights to the material. But how do the clients view it? They may feel like they are purchasing our services and expertise rather than just the finished materials.

If you aren't selling the full rights, should you mark it as Services? I know that there are a lot of writers who sell reprint rights often or negotiate for usage rights. In those cases, labeling the invoice as Services might help to remind the client about the arrangement.

I think that after thinking about it way too hard this evening I'm going to start labeling invoices with that mindset- Goods for most items and Services for the very, very, very few times that I sell a reprint of something that I've already published elsewhere.

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