This time it's different. I phone conversation and e-mail requests have done nothing to speed the large check in my direction. And while the money is important I'm more upset that this time I, as the editor, look irresponsible to all the writers I worked with on this project. (My sincerest apologies to all of the writers.)
But I don't believe in letting a single experience go by without trying to learn something from it. So here's what I've learned from this:
- Never let two full pay periods lapse without compensation, no matter what the client asks.
- Acquaint yourself with a good lawyer. (Even if all they need to do is craft a well-written, legal-sounding letter telling the client to pay up.)
- Introduce yourself to other writers/editors that work for the company. Find out if they have any concerns.
- Do your research - if the company has a lot of failed/folded sites or mags maybe that's a clue.
- Ask questions up front. Why did the last editor/writer leave? How do you pay your writers?
- Sign a contract that details exactly how much you will be paid and when. (Thankfully I did this!)
- Don't put all your eggs in one basket. In case a gig doesn't come to fruition it's good to have a couple others in the works to make sure you can pay your bills.
- If it all seems a little too good to be true - unfortunately, it probably is.
- Be open and honest with those who work with you on the project. That will go a long way if you need to give them bad news.
- Suspect something is funny if the launch date gets pushed back, multiple times.