Every journalist in accepting a commission from a newspaper or magazine enters into some sort of agreement as to deadlines and fee. Negotiations have to be made as to whether the fee is to be paid on delivery of the article or on the publication of the article. Such negotiations have been and still are very familiar to me over the last decade and a bit.
For example, I have two articles currently awaiting publication one in a small Christian newspaper that has limited space and therefore has to wait until it can publish my article when it fits in with the theme of the month. The other was promised to be in next month but now due to advertising revenue being cut it is currently on hold. Another article is due to be published at any moment. We all have to wait on contracts to be made good for us but for different reasons. To the writer the period of waiting can be hard as his or her income can depend on it, especially if the contract or commission states ‘payment on publication’.
However, I am currently negotiating signing my first book contract. Exciting yes, but also daunting. Signing something without reading all the small print can be devastating, especially as book contracts aren’t just for the period of the month or so before the article appears but can last for years. It’s so important to get it correct and not have your rights taken from you.
I am indebted to another writer who kindly sent me a link to a document produced by the Society of Authors http://www.societyofauthors.org/sites/default/files/Guide%20to%20Publishing%20Contracts_1.pdf
Useful stuff indeed but it has still led me to consider that I need the advice the Society of Authors gives first hand by joining them myself. The advice is brilliant but I still need them to look at my specific contract and assess that. General advice is helpful but specific advice can be invaluable.