Many writers don’t have a clear idea of what “PLR” is, or how it should be used.
PLR is an abbreviation for Private Label Rights, which is a concept mostly used in internet marketing. If you buy private label rights to a product (which may be an e-book, music, videos or articles) you have the right to use the product pretty much in any way you like (other than selling it to someone else to use however they like). You can use it ‘as is’, or change it so it’s virtually unrecognizable.
PLR can be fiction or non-fiction. Tens of thousands of people buy and use PLR to fill their websites with articles and downloadable e-books, or with training videos.
Some authors (usually those that have spent years honing their skills before achieving publication) get hot under the collar when they hear about writers making money from books written by somebody else. They don’t even like to see writers creating books from outlines written by somebody else.They see it as akin to cheating.
It’s understandable that authors who are passionate about their craft might feel this way. However, publishing has always been a business. If someone sees the potential in creating a series of books that will sell well, do they care if the ideas have come from someone else? Not at all. To them, it’s a business like any other: they simply create the end product after someone else has done the groundwork.
There is a model for this in countless industries. University professors use researchers and employ undergraduates to carry out experiments before they collate the results. Lawyers use paralegals. Many well-known authors use researchers to do the grunt work.
I have been a ghostwriter myself, so I am used to writing a book then seeing someone else’s name on it. I have written books on a range of topics to be sold as ‘back of room’ products for business professionals on the international speaking circuit. One of them told me: “I can give a speech on anything, but I can’t write. That’s your job.” He employed me to write in his ‘voice, so he could make his ideas accessible to others via the printed word. Others I worked for gave me a topic and left it to me to do all the research and writing. That’s business. We all understood it was simply about meeting a demand for a product.
Using PLR for Fiction
There are many reasons why writers might want to use a fiction outline or a story created by someone else.
- It’s usually easier to change/add to an existing outline than to create a new one
- A finished story will give you a sense of how the story should unfold, and how one scene flows to the next
- Beginners will have a model for the creation of their own stories
No. 1 rule is: remember that a lot of other people will be buying the same story or outline. This means that you MUST make significant changes to the work before you can publish it. It should not be recognizable as the same story. As you can see, this means that you will still be using a lot of creativity as a writer.
Amazon has a blanket rule: You cannot take PLR and just publish it under your name. Every story must be unique. This means putting your own special twist on a story, changing the characters, adding new characters, tweaking the setting and adding new twists and turns.
I’ve written an article showing in more detail how you can work with a PLR story outline. To do this, I used PLR created Charity Cason, a writer who is also a successful romance novelist for Amazon Kindle.
Charity has created two sets of PLR stories (10 in each set) for aspiring fiction writers. One set is contemporary romance; the other is paranormal romance. Each idea has an outline written in the form of a short story (so you can see the flow and story development) plus a one-page chapter-by-chapter outline and a few lines about the main characters.
I have taken just one of those stories to show how PLR can be developed into a unique product, or used as a springboard for your own brainstorming.
But first, let’s hear from Charity about why she created this fiction PLR.
An Interview with Charity Cason
You write romance fiction yourself, and you’re a ghostwriter… so what prompted you to produce this PLR for aspiring fiction writers?
I wrote these outlines because so many people on my list were contacting me asking how to come up with plots. While I could explain different ways to come up with plots, a lot of people really needed something more concrete to work from. Seeing an outline also allows writers to see the progression of a story from beginning to end.
What are some of the common misconceptions about PLR?
One of the biggest misconceptions is that you can just use it as is and get the desired effect, but that really is not true. You need to change it up, especially for Kindle publishing. You’ll never build a fan base by rehashing PLR that others have published. PLR is simply meant to be a springboard to better content. It should be a way to get ideas, but not something that you just publish as-is.
Have you had any experiences with people not understanding how PLR should be used?
Absolutely. I used to own a PLR store, and so many buyers would just republish PLR on their sites. If you do that, Google usually won’t rank that content very high because everyone else is using it too. With Kindle, it can get your account terminated. It’s important to change things up and make your content unique.
What are your tips on using PLR for fiction?
I wouldn’t use regular PLR for fiction. However, as it relates to my fiction outlines, the key is changing things – names, places, time periods, events that happen, etc. Make your story unique by following the outline loosely, but never just republish it as-is.
What common mistakes do you see writers making in their fiction?
Grammar mistakes, spelling errors, continuity problems. Also, you need to know your target market and what they like. If you’re targeting 55 year old women, then maybe you don’t want to write about a high school love story. Know your market and write to them.
If people want to develop a career more as a publisher than an author, how do you suggest they use PLR with a ghostwriter?
Make sure that you outsource to someone who has experience actually writing fiction as that is a different animal than non-fiction. Always get a copyright release signed to protect your interests. Make sure the writer understands that they have to change up the PLR to make it totally unique. Always run through Copyscape or another duplicate content checker.
Do you have any further comments or tips for writers?
The main thing is to KEEP WRITING. The more you write, the better your chances of making a substantial income!
Go here for an article showing, step by step, how to analyze and use Charity’s PLR. (One of her story outlines is used as an example).