Friday, November 28, 2008

An Addendum

I wasn’t honest in my post about not feeling the pinch of the awfully bad economy. I left out the story of a magazine here in Milwaukee that hired me to do a couple brief restaurant reviews. The editor contacted me back in July and I completed the assignment in mid-August. Two reviews, for a total of 500 words at .10 a word, a disappointing rate, but one that pays, and so, a rate that does set itself apart from most writing gigs out there.

The magazine also offered to pay for my dinner; they covered Kate’s as well. At the first restaurant that wasn’t a problem, but we went to the second restaurant before the editor could arrange payment for our meal. We agreed that I would send them a receipt for the meal and they would reimburse me for the cost. We had a wonderful meal and I finished both reviews later that week.

Prior to finishing the assignments I signed a contract that stated the amount I was to be paid and for what I was being paid. I still have a copy of that contract, but I don’t plan on using it to take the magazine to small claims court because they have repeatedly ignored my attempts to contact them, asking about when I can expect a check. They clearly aren’t going to pay me and this became only more obvious upon visiting their website, seeing that it hadn’t been updated since the summer 2008 issue.

I still don’t feel the pinch, but apparently a company, that has most definitely felt the economic pinch, once employed me. I don’t plan on calling and emailing them once a week about receiving payment. Including the cost of the meal, it is $100, but really just $50 because the second restaurant is one that we would have likely visited in the month of August anyways.

The freelance writer has very few options in this type of situation. Option 1: Pester the magazine with constant questions about payment without promise of success. Option 2: Give up, entirely, the pursuit of payment and violate the terms of the contract by self-publishing the piece on a blog or sending the piece to another publication, hoping they might publish. Option 3: Take the magazine to small claims court for a whopping fifty bucks.

I am going with option two. I might be violating the terms of the contract I signed with this magazine very soon by posting the reviews on this blog for what they are worth. At least they will be somewhere. 

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