Thursday, 3 February 2011

Payment on acceptance or publication?

There's a good topic for conversation going on at womag's blog : should writers receive payment on publication or on acceptance? Personally, I expect to be paid on acceptance...or do I? How many other products or services would you not expect to pay for until you've used it?

Anyway, I can't say a mag's preference for payment has ever influenced who I send my work to. According to comments, Bauer seems to be at the top of folks' list for complaints when it comes to late payment, but I've never been kept waiting too long after publication and maybe it's just me but I quite like wondering whether my 2000 words have been stretched over 4 pages with the accompanying larger fee.
And before you ask, I am not a *hobby writer. I do this for a living...well, hardly a living wage but you know what I mean. I have bills to pay (on time) like most of you.

As for upsetting an editor and being black-listed if I should complain, I doubt this would happen, unless I was awfully rude and then I've only myself to blame.

I've been sending to the womags for more than 10 years and have always found editors to be great people, if sometimes haphazard with their slushpile, but with tight deadlines and thousands of submissions to plough through each week, you can't blame them for sometimes getting it wrong. On the whole my experience with editors has been a very positive one and I've only come across one (overseas) editor in all that time who I'd gladly slap on the nose with a rolled up copy of her own magazine if I ever met her/him! And no, I ain't spilling!

Or maybe I will....see, she/he bought the first story I ever sent for consideration. Great! A new market for me!
So I sent more over the coming months. I was asked to edit 4 of these stories she/he wanted to buy. Yes, she/he did say 'buy', not 'interested in'. Without question, I did as asked, sent them off quickly and efficiently, then sat back and heard nothing for over 9 mths.

I don't generally like chasing stories as I know if I've heard nothing it's a 'no' but as he/she'd asked for re-writes I emailed and politely asked did she/he approve of my edit? Nothing.

A year later I decided they weren't going to be used after all, so I sent a completely different story for consideration. Again, nothing. And still nothing to this day. Not an acceptance or a rejection. Ever the optimist, I still send stuff. And yes, I do send to the correct email address etc. Maybe my address is in her Spam filter, who knows?

You think there's more to this story? Why would an editor behave in this way? Well, yes, there is a little more. See, I was so frustrated with her/him, I sent my stories a 'Happy Birthday' email at one point BUT WITH a note saying I meant it in fun but obviously he/she has no sense of humour so, yes, editors do black-list you if you get up their nose!

Oh, I just remembered, an American editor once told me I wasn't up to womag writing standard. This after I'd just had my 200th sale. I've blacklisted her!

*Hobby writer - I suspect some will take offence at the term. Feel free to black-list me ;0)

PS. Photo of wad of money used in this article is not indicative of any womag writer's fee. If you know different, please leave me your editor's number.

PPS. If the editor in question recognises herself in this post, I promise not to carry out my threat of physical abuse. Call me. Lets meet for coffee and maybe you can cast your eye over my recent manuscript. You can pay me on publication, I don't mind.

PPPS. (Sorry this will def be the last)
Since writing this post Dianne Parkin ,editor and freelancer, has had her say on the matter and its well worth a view. Thank you Dianne for writing it up.