I started writing here in 2009 and have steadily watched the number of folks, like yourself, who read my blog, grow. It has been fantastic to hear from you in emails, read your comments and see you liking the Facebook page.
It is my responsibility to you that I have a blog that you want to come and read. Writing is based on relationships and shared experiences and connecting with one another and I take that seriously when I post. Writing is not my full-time job. It’s not even my second full-time job (mom) or third on my list of priorities (I sit on a few boards and committees) but I love it and that is why I do it.
That is why when a larger media outletcontacted me and asked me to be a freelance writer for them, I got excited. It was a chance for more people to read my writing and ideally comehere to read more about me and my adventures. We agreed to a start date in October but no end date so that I could freelance for them and write as many or as few articles as we agreed upon. We signed the contract, emailed a few times and within a week, I had produced three articles for them.
It was fantastic to see my articlesposted. I emailed my third article on November 1 and asked for more topics to write about. The next day, I got this reply “Great— received, thank you so much! I’m going to look at our conversation spreadsheet, and send you some topics to see if any spark your interest!” I waited. Deer season wrapped up and Thanksgiving came and went. Six weeks after the above email, I reached out again and asked about topics as well as when I could expect to get paid (it was closing in on 60 days since I had sent the invoice.) Nothing. I waited a week and resent the email. No reply. I waited two more weeks and emailed the CEO along with my contact there. I asked why I had not gotten paid when they had used all three of my articles. We had signed a contact and yet they were not following through on their end. No response.
Two weeks later and 2.5 months after receiving my last communication from them, I received an email. They hoped to pay me the follow Tuesday. That was two weeks ago. They continue to promote my articles on their social media platforms and have them up on their website. And I continue to be a little shell shocked at how a company could blatantly lie and cut off communication. I also know that I am not the only person that thishas happened to. It just amazes me and let this be a lesson to anyone who wants to hire freelance writers: don’t piss off people who write and already have a public forum (and readers) because if you can find us to ask us to write for you, others can find us and read about why we are not writing for you.
So, lesson learned and now, I have two simple guidelines for writing:
1. If I can not drive to your office, you pay me a deposit before I turn over my work.
2. I own my content. Always.
I will let you know if I ever get paid by this company but in my experiences with them, I am pretty sure that I am SOL.
Live and Learn