Thursday, January 04, 2007

Freelance Woes



I’m waiting (patiently? not so patiently?) for remuneration for some freelance work. This is a tricky situation. You don’t want to bug or piss off the editors since they are the source of past and (hopefully) future income. Then again, you don’t want to be a wimp and let the matter go indefinitely.

In order not to feel like a wimp, I rationalize waiting before making an inquiry. They’ve always paid before, this is a busy time of year with Christmas, New Year’s, etc. so maybe the Accounting Department is lagging behind and is to blame. Unfortunately, this way of thinking brings me right back to the editors because I don’t know anyone in the Accounting Department to pester — and you don’t pester them, anyway. (Hello, my name is Elisabeth Stewart. Do you by any chance happen to have a paycheque for me lying around collecting dust somewhere?)

So, how long is a reasonable time to wait? I honestly don’t know. Perhaps one day the answer will come to me like a smack on the head. As in — you idiot, don’t let people take advantage of you.

Until that smack arrives with its accompanying enlightenment, I am just going to continue waiting — and thank my lucky stars we don’t rely on this income for survival.

13 comments:

The Guy Who Writes This said...

How long has it been? They may have been waiting for the new year, or they may be dead-beats. How long ago was it published?

Beth said...

oohhh, that's a tough one. But hey, if you worked in an office somewhere or something like that, and your paycheck was late, what would you do? so I say call 'em! I bet they wouldn't want their own paycheck to be late!

The Guy Who Writes This said...

I agree with you, but some places pay before and some after publication. Has it been published yet? If so how long ago?

Beth said...

"guy" - It's a November issue (was on the stands in October and I received a freebie copy in August or September). They usually pay the first part of the next month after publication - which would have been early December. I hope - as you suggest - that they are waiting for the new year. (It's not about the $$ itself, it's about "justifying my existence" - a slight exaggeration there...)


beth - What you say makes perfect sense but I am a wimp. I'm afraid to bother them for fear they won't accept more work. I'm gonna wait until February. You and "guy" turned out to be the "smack on the head."

rebecca said...

If it's late, I would ask right away. I work in an editorial department and the editors wouldn't be bothered by freelancers calling about payment. Obviously, it's not the editors' fault, but they can certainly bug the accounting dept. about it.
Plus, editors want their freelancers to be paid on time so the writers will continue writing. It goes both ways.

Beth said...

rebecca - Wow. A totally different perspective on the issue. Thanks.

one more thing said...

I once worked at a magazine that was always late paying freelancers and it was the editors who were embarrassed whenever a writer would call. We'd have to apologize profusely, then beg our horrible accounting person to mail the cheques. WE felt bad. You shouldn't.

oreneta said...

The husband has done this, some NEVER pay, but really it is so shabby. They should just pay up... some are good folks though and pay right away.

Beth said...

"one more thing" - Thanks. I never thought of the editors feeling badly. (I tend to get caught up in my own little world.)

oreneta - Just when I'm feeling better, you mention NEVER getting paid. Okay, then I would be mad.

patricia said...

Hmmm...I've never thought of editors feeling badly, either.

I feel your pain, kiddo. In fact, I'm in a situation right now where the accounting department has insisted that they paid me in September, where I know that no such thing ever happened, and in fact, if they check the accounts, they will notice that no cheque was ever cashed by me. And yet, I feel guilty, too, for bothering them about this, and wonder if it will be the last time I ever deal with them, because I'm being such a pain.

This biz can drive you nuts!!

Beth said...

patricia - wow, your situation is worse than mine. How do you force Accounting to check their records? (See the other comments.) Perhaps you could check in with the editors, the higher-ups?
The fear of "bothering" these people can be numbing.

The Guy Who Writes This said...

Beth, with the publication that long ago, you should call and ask. It may have been lost in the mail.

Beth said...

guy - Jeez, yet another scenario I hadn't thought of. Thanks.