Quick reminder before we slide into a holiday weekend: My ebooks about freelance writing are still for sale! And people keep buying them. Thank you – and hooray!
Anyway! I got a follow up question regarding the last newsletter, about what to do when an editor ghosts you. I focused on what to do if they haven't officially assigned anything yet. A reader asked: what do you do if an editor ghosts you after you turned in an agreed upon assignment?
That's different, because if you reach that point, you have entered into a contractual agreement with a publication, and part of that agreement is that once you complete the work, they pay you. If an editor ghosts you, and continues to ghost you after multiple follow up emails, that means they're not holding up their end of the deal.
I offered two suggestions:
- Call the editor. Yup, on the phone. Most of us here are journalists, and we talk to people for a living, so we should be able to talk to an editor. If you're nervous, write out a script, including what you'd leave in a voicemail if they don't answer. If you don't have their number, call the main number at the publication, say you submitted an assignment and haven't heard back, and what's the best number to reach the editor at? If your editor is not working, or has left that role, you'll also find out if you call the publication's main number.
- Go over their head. There could be a zillion reasons why this editor is not getting back to you, but none of that matters when whatever the reason means you're not getting paid. So email their boss. You don't need to be mean, either. A simple: "Hi X. I was assigned Y by Z, which I submitted two months ago, but I haven't heard back. What's the next step?"
Think about it this way: if a plumber did a job at your house, and you kept ignoring the bill, what would the plumber do? Not spend hours trying to think about why you're not paying. They'd demand payment.
Be a plumber. You did the work. Now go get paid.
What I'm Reading
Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
What I'm Watching
- Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. Exactly worth the $8 I paid to see a Tuesday matinee.
- Howard. I don't know if you've been following the agita about streaming services dumping content, but Disney+ is about to take a bunch of stuff off their platform (which – is it the Disney vault all over again? Another thought for another time). This documentary about songwriter Howard Ashman was initially on the reported delete list. That seemed foolish, especially right before the release of the live action Little Mermaid featuring his songs, and Gay History Month. Whatever the reason, it's not going away. I watched it anyway, and highly recommend it. It's poignant and sad (Ashman died of AIDS) but still lovely.
And with that, I'm off to wrap up the week before I skedaddle on Friday. And let me give you permission to not work a holiday weekend if you don't have to. The point of this whole self employment thing is to work when you want, and take off when you want. If you can, I hope you enjoy a long weekend.