Tag Archives: freelance money

Burned! The Awful Truth About the Rotten Economy and Print Mags

This is a new one for me. A while back I landed a nice assignment writing for a buck-a-word health magazine. I was excited because the payoff was nice, the market is one I’ve been trying to get more clips in and it was based on research I’d already done. In short, an easy score for yours truly.

There were a couple of revisions and when the piece was finally done, I got wrapped up in other work and wound up sending the invoice out a bit later than I should have. No worries though, it happens all the time in the print world. Sometimes the accountant is a bit late cutting your check, and sometimes you get so caught up in other deadlines that you get delayed getting one into the post–especially when it’s outside your normal billing schedule. I fired off the invoice and forgot all about it.

Until today, when an official-looking piece of snail mail showed up warning me of bankruptcy proceedings for the magazine I’d done the work for. Now I was double-screwed. I lost a nice paycheck AND a repeat market for my work in a new topic. Damn it all.

The moral of this story in our sad economy is obvious. Invoice the second you get the piece approved. You never know when your favorite print publisher is going to go belly up. In the case of THIS particular publisher, it wasn’t so much a case of “belly up” as it was “eaten by zombies”. You get the picture.

I will never fail to invoice immediately again. So says I.

Five Years Later…

Angela Hoy is responsible for WritersWeekly.com, a site I visit quite often. As part of her services to writers, she offers a collection of articles on the freelance game available for bloggers to reprint on their own websites, gratis. I love the idea, but even though I prefer to write my own content, I can’t resist linking to Hoy’s great article on pay-by-click content sites.

Folks, this article is FIVE YEARS OLD. The scary thing is, it’s all still just as relevant today as it was the day it hit her website. This business model should have died the death ages ago, but the sad fact of the matter is–it’s OUR FAULT these sites still exist. And when I say that, I am talking about the writing community. None of these sites would be running today if there weren’t writers willing to work under such conditions. We’ve all done it in the early days of our career, and some of us still use such sites to our advantage in sneaky, underhanded ways never intended by the creators.

In fact, that’s the only thing that keeps some of them going, near as I can tell. Read Angela Hoy’s Article on How To Be A Starving Writer and marvel along with me that half a decade later, she’s still hitting the nail directly on the head. Angela, you rock, and shame on the rest of us for helping to keep this drivel alive and well. I know most noobs don’t know any better, but that’s not really the issue for me…read the article to get my drift.

Even More Warning Signs For Writers

I debated on whether to name this piece “Not Getting Paid, Part XIVXXIV”, or “Clown Company Part Deux” or some other clever, pithy title. In the end it boils down to the same thing; writer beware. Some regular readers of this blog have already noticed that of the two contributors here (Catherine L. Tully and yours truly,) I am the one who tends to post in a more reactionary style. Which is to say that when I am going through something particularly vexing as a writer, I tend to rant about it here. I try to stay professional about it, not naming names or giving traceable details.

Some might criticize me for doing this, saying that by not naming names I leave the door open for other writers to find the people I grouse about and become entangled in their shoddy business practices. To these readers I simply offer this; I haven’t got the money for a legal team.

That’s why I write about my experiences in the way I do–if you can spot the telltale signs of a clown company, a bad editor, a shoddy publishing house, you don’t NEED me to name names. You’ll be onto the game quickly enough and can steer clear of these buffoons for future reference. And warn all your friends.

And with that over-long intro, let’s get to my current gripes–er, advice.

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