I’m closing out the last open invoice I have as a freelancer, after four years of trying to make it work. They promised payment on Monday. We’ll see.
Here’s why I’ll never do it again. It takes me so much time and effort to chase down payment that it’s not worth it. The rates are low, the work is fast turn-arounds and every single publication in the world, it seems, has a complete drunk named Sally running the books, who is so sloshed under her desk that she can’t seem to write checks to pay the bills. Well, except for payroll and their other vendors. But for freelancers? ”We’re behind, I’m sorry. I understand. We’ll get that to you soon.”
Publications pay freelancers late because there are tons of us! And they can burn bridges with us with absolutely no recourse. Don’t pay your electric bill? They shut off service. Don’t pay your printer? No issue next month. Don’t pay freelancers? Get a bunch of increasingly curt emails that end in stupid threats that mean nothing, where you can copy and paste an excuse, an apology and completely ignore. Afterall, there are a 100 people just like us, waiting, desperate really, to not get paid for THEIR WORK.
Finito! I will write for publications again, I’m sure, but I’ll never, ever rely on it as income. Whatever the pay? It’s found money.
It’s really sad and unfair that publications seem to think it’s okay to stretch their budgets and basically borrow a line of credit from the very people who are the least able to withstand payment delays.