How to Sell Your Play Script for Maximum Profit [2023]

Old script carved into stone on a building in Bhaktapur, Nepal

Are you a playwright looking to sell your stage play script but unsure how much you could realistically make? Look no further than our expert guide on selling play scripts for maximum profit. Our team of experienced teachers and educators at School Play Scripts™ have compiled a comprehensive list of tips, tricks, and advice on how to sell your play script for the highest possible price.

Where to Sell Your Play Script

Traditional Methods

One of the most traditional ways to sell your play is through theatre or production companies. Theatre companies typically review plays during a certain time of year as they plan their upcoming seasons, use this time to network with artistic directors and literary managers. To send your play for submission, it’s best to follow the submission guidelines from the theatre company’s website. Many theaters only accept unsolicited scripts at specific times of the year.

Alternatively, literary agents can be a good choice as they will have the contact details of the right people who would take interest in your play. However, commission percentages can be lower, so it’s best to research an agent and choose the best fit for you and your work.


The internet is a useful tool for playwrights hoping to sell their work. Some sites or companies that sell, produce and license play scripts online are:

  • Dramatists Play Service: They list plays in their catalogs, they can help publish your play for amateur or professional production.
  • Playscripts: Directly sells plays to individuals as well as institutions.
  • Stageplays: This site is a theater marketplace, where people can buy or sell a wide variety of scripts.
  • Theatrefolk: They frequently produce new plays and pay royalties to the playwrights.

Writing Contests

Playwriting contests can help get your name out there and potentially win some money prizes. Watch out for contests and awards given by prominent organizations, foundations, and institutions.

Whether traditional or online, it is important to research and understand the terms and conditions of a potential deal. Negotiate the best deal including the initial fees, rights, royalties, and buyout options if any.

How Much Can You Sell Your Play Script For?

The payout for selling your play script can vary. A play written for schools, and small performances, with budgets under a certain amount offer smaller royalties per production. Larger productions like Broadway shows offers a higher royalty payout, called "gross percentage". This royalty amount is a percentage of the gross box office, set in advance during negotiation as a flat figure. The fee can range from 6% to 10% of gross box office sales and is typically distributed between playwrights and other people involved in production.

The amount you can make depends a lot on how well your script is received, but the average playwright might make earnings anywhere from $100 to $25,000. School show scripts selling at an amateur level might earn between $50 and $100. Educational publishers websites or websites who list them, sometimes offer royalties for script publishing.

Quick Tips and Facts

  • Playwrights who have agents earn more.
  • When approaching theater companies, research and follow submission guidelines.
  • It is customary to offer 10% to 20% commission for literary agents.
  • Don't stop writing plays.

How To Market a Stage Play Script?

Marketing is crucial to the success of your play. Ensure that you create a good working relationship with all theater companies, literary managers, and agents who work with you- they might recommend your next production or script to others in the industry. Networking is key.

Creating a website and online presence to showcase and sell your script will actively help to advertise your work. Social media can be used to promote your work by sharing links to any reviews or interviews while using relevant hashtags.

How Do Plays Make Money?

There are a few different ways playwrights can earn royalties from their work, such as:

  • Licensing fees, which allows organizations to perform a certain play.
  • Amateur theatrical productions and school productions.
  • Professional theater productions.
  • Edited publications like anthologies or collections.

Plays can make money if they are produced and well-liked, or if they are licensed and sold to theaters and schools.

How Much Are Rights to a Script?

The cost of the rights to a script depends on how the script is going to be performed, how many performances will be held, and the size of the audience. Rights for theater companies and school shows who produce amateur performances are lower, only between $20 – $100 per performance, or less. Additionally, each playwright or literary agent has their own negotiation rate.

Pros and Cons of Selling Your Play Script


  • You can potentially make a large amount of money from selling your play script.
  • The average earning for a playwright from royalties is between $100 to $25,000.
  • Being well known in the playwriting world can make other opportunities, connections, and invitations.
  • You could inspire and influence people in the theater world.


  • Playwriting is very competitive and it may take months to even find someone interested in your production.
  • You may not even receive compensation for your effort.
  • You may need to put a greater deal of time and money into promoting your script in order for it to succeed.


How Do You Successfully Sell Your Play Script?

To sell your play script successfully, follow the many traditional and online steps mentioned in detail above. Make sure to research potential theater companies, agents, and contests to submit your script to and negotiate a good deal. Promote your work and create an online presence via a website and social media presence.

How Do Plays Make Money?

Playwrights make money primarily through licensing fees and royalties for their work. These can be offered by theater companies for amateur and professional productions and through edited publications.

How Much Can You Make By Selling A Play Script?

The payout for selling a play script can vary greatly and depends on the success of the script. A playwright might make anywhere from $100 to $25,000.

How Much Are Rights To A Script?

The cost of the rights to a script depends on the number of performances held, audience size, and how the script is being produced. The rights for amateur productions and school shows are typically lower, while the rates are negotiated between each literary agent and playwright.


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