Getting The Details Right After Your Article Proposal Is Acceptedby noid (English | Writing | Craft/How-to | Non-fiction)
At last, after sending your article proposal to a number of international publications, you finally get a yes! One of the publications’ editors e-mails a reply, and tells you that they love your feature idea.
Now what? What do you say to the editor? What are the things you have to keep in mind when negotiating with her? Well, as a guide, I made a checklist of the things to consider once your article query is accepted.
Oftentimes, the payment rates are already included in the publication’s submission or writer guidelines which might be found in their web site or an online writing market directory. Sometimes, you have to e-mail the prospective publication –- usually the managing editor –- to ask for their payment rates. Editors usually are very prompt in replying to these types of inquiries. New writers mean new content for their publication, which means an easier job for them.
At any rate, after your proposal (also called pitch or query) is accepted, the editor will most likely give you an offer, like how many words she wants and whether she would like photos or not. If she doesn’t mention, or if she forgets to tell you how much you will be paid, then you should ask her. In your reply, you may want to ask indirectly, by asking something along the lines of, “By the way, what are your payment rates?”
If you’re just starting out as a freelance writer for foreign publications, you may want to accept the publication’s first offer, sort of notching this assignment to experience and to your resumé. Later on, you can leverage this experience in negotiating for higher compensation.
Clarify too whether the payment is for outright sale of the photos, or for one-time use only by their publication. Try to negotiate for the latter so you can still use the photos for other assignments.
However, from previous experience, this claim is debatable. There was, for example, this regional editor of an online publication who totally ignored me –- as opposed to worked with me -- after I sent him my article. I didn’t hear from him for a month, and only got a reply when I wrote to his senior editor. The regional editor said that the article was not what we agreed upon (well, he could have said that after I submitted the article and we could have worked something out!) At any rate, the point is that I was left with an unpaid article, and I couldn’t find another publication to publish it –- perhaps because of the specific nature of the topic. (Although I’m not losing hope!) But the moral of the story is, it is better to have all your bases covered and ask for a kill fee. Usually, this is 50% or less of the agreed-upon payment.
Dino Manrique is the owner/publisher of FilipinoWriter.com. You may reach him at filipinowriter (at) gmail (dot) com.