There’s currently a very interesting debate on some of the ‘Writerly Blogs’ about getting paid (or not!) for published articles and stories (see the Womag blog here if you want to follow the thread and all the links) and I thought it was about time I added my two pennies’ worth:
Firstly – and this is something that no-one else seems to have said – Woman’s Weekly rates as a ‘good ‘un’ as far as I’m concerned and therefore shouldn’t be bracketed with all the, ahem, ‘slow payers’.
When WW accept a story, they ask me for an invoice, (which I email) and hey presto, within a fortnight (and often several weeks before the story is actually published), the cheque arrives. Simples. (Why can’t the others do that?!)
The Weekly News, on the other hand (and yes I know Jill Finlay, the fiction editor, is lovely and has had problems with her computer recently, etc etc but aren’t we trying to be professional here? None of the editors or accounts departments of magazines care if we are lovely or not, or whether we have technical problems!) …anyway, where was I? Ah yes, The Weekly News, is a slippery customer, at least in my (admittedly fairly limited) experience , of 2 stories accepted.
My first one went through without too much problem, but the second story, which was accepted back in September 2010, was published in December 2010 (I only found out because a friend spotted it) and I still haven’t had an official copy of the story in the post or been paid (although I’m chasing it and Jill is helping!).
I’ve never had anything accepted by Take A Break but I must admit, all these tales of having to chase payment is putting me off submitting to them. We all know, it’s hard enough to get a story accepted, by any of the magazines, without then having to spend time and effort to get our hard-earned money!
I think part of the problem is:
1. Most people writing for the women’s magazines are women – and we are, sometimes, not as assertive as we should be! (NB: Assertive doesn’t have to mean rude and aggressive – it just means standing up for yourself. As women we are often conditioned to put others first!)
2.Some of the people writing for the women’s magazines see it as a ‘hobby’ and are just thrilled (and grateful) to get their name and story in print. They see payment as a ‘bonus’ – while for others (me included), it’s actually part of our living! (Although of course, if anyone from the magazines is reading, I am still thrilled and grateful…!)
The magazines know these things and use them to their advantage.
I absolutely agree with recent advice on the blogs that, even if the publication doesn’t request it, you should send an invoice when your piece is accepted. (You should be doing this anyway, if you need to complete a tax return each year).
It’s also vital to keep accurate, up-to-date records, so you are absolutely clear on what you’ve been paid for and what’s still outstanding.
I had a query with a publication recently: they thought I was owed for 2 articles, I was adamant that it was 3 and because I could immediately email them the relevant part of my spreadsheet, (which confirmed that I keep good records, with dates, invoice numbers, etc) – they paid up without any further question. Which is just as it should be!