I have a bone with which to pick.
And just what, you ask, am I picking with said bone? Well, I could go on and on about the importance of maintaining personal integrity in business relationships, but what it will all boil down to is money.
Most things do, unfortunately.
When the plumber repairs your leaky tub, you pay him. When the vet recommends a flea treatment for Snuggles, you pay her. When the DJ spins wicked hot beats at your party, you pay him. When the pizza-faced 17-year-old valet retrieves your car, you pay him.
Paying people for the helpful services they provide is not a foreign concept, and we all fork over the money because consequences will befall us if we don’t.
So, what about creative services?
No doubt, graphic designers who create eye-catching advertisements are paid. Songwriters are paid for the rest of their freaking lives. And writers? Apparently, that’s a gray area. My thinking goes like this: if I do something for you to help you achieve monetary gain, then you owe me something (unless, of course, we’re friends and I’m doing you a favor.) Now, I’m well aware some publications may not pay for submissions from writers who have not been published before. (Painfully aware, actually.) But if a publisher says they will pay you – albeit, a non-exorbitant amount – and that you are doing them a favor by working cheaply, and thanks you for your help… and you have nothing in writing, by the way… how do you ensure she keeps her word? Why on earth should you have to? Nobody works for free.
I don’t have answers. When emails are ignored, and commissions for other services provided (read: your JOB) remain unpaid also, how do you get your money?
Yes, I am in the throes of such a battle, as are others who have briefly worked for and quickly excused themselves from this particular publication. I’m not alone, but I seem to be the only one really looking for action.
So, you tell me. How should I deal?