Pay on Publication or Pay on Acceptance?

Be sure to check out the current post on The Renegade Writer, where Linda Formicelli has reprinted her Writer’s Digest article, “Waiting for Dollars: Pay on Pub vs. Pay on Acceptance.” It’s a must-read for freelancers, whether you write fiction or nonfiction.

Linda gives both sides of a situation that writers face every day — whether to write for magazines that pay on publication or for those that pay when an article is accepted. It’s a fair and balanced piece, and I found it enlightening that editors revealed why they pay on publication or why they do not. Despite what many writers may believe, paying on publication is not always an arbitrary decision.

On the writer’s side, Linda includes responses from current and former freelancers and representatives of the National Writers Union and the American Society of Journalists and Authors, in which they share their views about accepting assignments from pay-on-publication magazines. Sometimes writers must wait six months or more to be paid. What’s more, writers can’t even sell reprints of their articles until they have actually been published, limiting their ability to make money on their work.

Linda’s article offers negotiating tactics and ways writers can lessen their risk of getting burned when magazines go out of business, plus advice on how to play it smart and profit from writing for pay-on-publication magazines.

Everything Linda writes is first-rate and this article is no exception. After you read it, please let us know about your experience with (and your thoughts about) pay-on-publication and pay-on-acceptance magazines.

Please leave a comment.

©2007 by Laverne Daley
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4 Comments on “Pay on Publication or Pay on Acceptance?”

  1. chocmoon says:

    Thanks Laverne. I will check it out. I still need to buy that book . . .

    I agree that writers have to wait too long to see their work in print sometimes. That is one reason I like the Web right now.

  2. ldaley says:

    Thanks for the comment, Chocmoon. I think you’ll like Linda’s article. BTW, I enjoyed your guest post on tree hugging family. Good job! Laverne

  3. I love Linda’s book and always recommend it highly when I teach my Succeeding as a Magazine Writer class online.

    This is a great, easily understandable, definition of the pay on acceptance vs. publication and the pros/cons of each.

    I would add one thing. I recently had a friend w/the situation where she had a pay on acceptance contract–and almost didn’t get paid. Normally she’d turn in an article under such a contract, the editor would read, send her any corrections to make, it gets resubmitted and (because my friend’s a pro) the corrections and the new version are accepted and she gets paid within 30 days of that final submission.

    But this time, her editor was delayed in reading the draft. So she turned in the article on time, let’s say in mid-March…and then didn’t hear a word. Contacted editor, who apologized, said she’d get on it 10 days….and then nothing again.

    The good news is when my friend waited 60 days and resubmitted invoice, even though the editor hadn’t had a chance to read she decided not to delay my friend’s payment. But the fact is she COULD have. That editor could have kept saying, “Well it’s not accepted yet”…and strung out final approval–and the payment–indefinitely.

    I’ve never known this to happen with a professional group…but it could. (And there are enough unprofessionals many smaller writers fall across that could stiff them this way.) So some of us are talking about a creating a different term then pay on acceptance. Maybe Pay on submission, indicating, “Author will be paid within 60 days of submission” or “by 30 days and no later than 60 days of material’s submission”.

    Think about. I’d suggest folks submit their idea here and also on the Renegade Writer site that’s mentioned above. Also don’t forget various LinkedIn pages.

    • ldaley says:

      Great comment, Wendy. Thanks for sending it.
      I really like your suggestion about a substitute term for pay on acceptance, which could work, I think, for professional writers whose work is known to editors they are submitting to, although there might be a problem with other writers trying to use it. I hope other professionals will comment on this.
      Thank you for your insight,
      Laverne


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