The one thing all writers want and how to get it.

I was backstage at a Broadway house on my very first show, when an ol’ vet came up to me and said, “Kid,” (yep, he really did call me “Kid”) “You’ll know you’ve made it in this business when you get a check and you don’t have to show up for half hour.  Now, go get me a coffee.”

I trudged out in the cold to get him a coffee, (no Starbucks in those days) and thought about what he said the whole block and a half there.

What he was talking about was a revenue stream that you hear in other industries all the time . . . passive income.  It’s a very simple concept.  You create something.  You put it out into the world, and people pay for it without you having to do anything.

Music, books, movies . . . all of these forms of entertainment have passive income built into their business models.  It’s harder on Broadway because live entertainment requires people, and a lot of people, from actors, to stagehands, to musicians, and yeah, even producers, and writers (checking up, casting and recasting, and more) to show up in person to keep that live entertainment going.

But we do have a source of passive income that every writer I know dreams about.


You know what licensing is, don’t you?  It’s what happened when your high school did Greaseor Oklahoma!  They licensed the production from the rights holder’s representatives by paying them some money, the bulk of which trickled all the way back to the Authors.  And, honestly, the Authors probably never even knew the production even happened!

Is licensing what every writer wants?  Well, duh, passive income, of course. But even more importantly, when a show is licensed it means that writer’s voice and the message of that play or musical is being heard all over the country world.  Licensing is the ultimate amplifier for an Author.

And, also, that passive income part is really, really important . . . because it could keep an Author paying their rent while she works on her next play.

Licensing (or Publishing, as it’s also called) is one of the most important components of the theatrical business model for writers AND Producers . . . yet it’s rarely talked about, because everyone wants to focus on the bright lights of Broadway.  But licensing is where you can have the most success!  (Did you know that My First Time, one of my micro Off Broadway shows that played just a couple times a week here in the city – has been seen in over 20 countries around the world?  When times have been tough, My First Time, helped keep me afloat – and they are tough for everyone at some point in this biz.)

That’s why I created my online workshop, How To Make A Living Through Licensing.

The workshop talks about all of the above plus . . .

  • Who are the major and minor players in licensing and how do you get to them?
  • So you get licensed . . . what does the deal look like?
  • What do you do if your show has never played New York?
  • What can you do if you can’t attract a publisher (I’ll tell you exactly what I did and how it worked)?
  • What licensors look for in shows.

Want to watch this online workshop on demand?

Join TheProducersPerspectivePRO, my membership site that contains 20+ hours of on-demand workshops like this one, as well as tons more info for Producers, writers and anyone interested in the business of the theater, including live networking opportunities, and a monthly newsletter with exclusive articles by me on raising money, marketing, live monthly Office Hour Calls with ME (reg. $750/hr), and even a few juicy rumors.

To get instant access to The Producer’s Perspective PRO for just $27 your first month, click here.

I look forward to helping get your show licensed.


(Got a comment? I love ‘em, so comment below! Email Subscribers, click here then scroll down to say what’s on your mind!)

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Interested in learning more about topics like this? CLICK HERE to join The TheaterMakers Studio, an online community, certification training program, and resource for playwrights, producers, directors, actors, and theater makers of all kinds!


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Ken created one of the first Broadway podcasts, recording over 250 episodes over 7 years. It features interviews with A-listers in the theater about how they “made it”, including 2 Pulitzer Prize Winners, 7 Academy Award Winners and 76 Tony Award winners. Notable guests include Pasek & Paul, Kenny Leon, Lynn Ahrens and more.