Tips for negotiating a contract with an engager

GET IT IN BLACK AND WHITE: Always sign a contract before you begin work. Document your negotiations and the promises of your editors. It will help ensure you get paid properly in case there are any disputes.

SHOW ME THE MONEY! If you are an experienced freelancer, avoid working for the minimum rates wherever possible. Your fee should reflect your experience and expertise. Remember: a staff reporter for a magazine or newspaper with five years of experience would never work for the salary of a rookie. You shouldn’t either.

IT’S YOUR WORK: As a freelancer, you still own the intellectual property of your material, your ideas. If you must assign or sell your copyright, ensure you receive significant compensation.

IT’S BUSINESS: Selling your work for publication is a business. Treat it that way. If the fee being offered is not adequate, say so. If you are unable to negotiate a higher fee, be willing to walk away. Your time and expertise are valuable, and you may be better off employing it elsewhere. It’s hard to say no, but once you get used to getting a better deal for your material, you and your fellow freelancers will be better off. We really need collective action to push up fees and protect our rights.

Posted on November 22, 2010 at 8:10 pm by editor · · Tagged with: , ,

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  1. Written by Ann Douglas
    on December 1, 2010 at 1:26 pm

    Great advice. I’ve just shared this post on Twitter so that others can benefit from your words of wisdom.

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