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The “M” Word – When Should I Ask About Money?

June 11th, 2014

As much as we love reading and writing as a hobby, the purpose of our Comprehensive Creative Writing course is to help you to get published and start a new career as a freelancer. With this in mind, we wouldn’t be equipping you properly to start work if we didn’t occasionally tackle the sensitive issue of payment.

So, you’ve done the hard work. You’ve researched, written your article, edited, edited again and the editor you’ve submitted to has accepted your work. Well done! You’ve done exactly what we hoped you would and you’re on your way to your first published piece. The problem? Your editor hasn’t mentioned payment yet, and you’re wondering if they’re going to offer you a fee, or if they assume you’re offering work for free.

Whether you choose to write for free or not is completely up to you. It’s a personal choice, and if the thought of seeing your work in print means more to you than a pay-check then go for it! It’s a great feeling seeing your work published and it’s true that a job well done is its own reward.

However, if you’re looking at freelancing as a possible career, or even as a sideline to your day job then eventually you are going to have to talk about money. A lot of new writers see this as a taboo and don’t like to bring it up with an editor for fear of a rejection. We ask that you think of writing as a full time job in situations like this. Would you go to work every day purely for the satisfaction? Would you accept a job offer without asking about the salary first? No. So why should freelancing be any different?

When you approach the subject of payment with your editor, there’s no need to edge around the issue. Publishing is a business and businesses pay their staff for good work. Part of an editor’s budget is to pay contributors for good content which, in turn, leads to more issues sold and more money coming in. It’s a win-win situation on both sides, so there’s no need to worry about offending anyone. When you receive your acceptance, if there’s no fee mentioned, just ask!

“Dear Editor,

Thank you for getting back in touch, I’m so pleased you liked the article and would like to print it. Please let me know what fee you are offering.

Best Wishes,

A Writer”

It really is that simple. The worst that can happen is that they respond to explain there is no payment, in which case you can either agree to offer the piece for free, or politely decline. The key word here is “polite”. If a publication doesn’t offer payment for your work, there’s still no need to be rude. Editors talk to each other, and a bad attitude will get you nowhere.

No editor is going to bite your head off for asking about payment or explaining that you don’t work for free, and if they do, it’s probably not a publication you want to be working for after all.



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About The Author: Diana Nadin

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