One Writer’s Journey

August 8, 2014

Problem Jobs: That’s Not What I Agreed to Do

Filed under: Uncategorized — suebe @ 1:07 am
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ContractI very seldom take writing jobs outside of the publishing industry, but when I do, I make sure that I get a contract that spells everything out.  The things that I include are:

  • The scope of the work.  What will Ido for them?
  • The deadlines.  When does it need to be done?
  • Format and delivery?  Do they want text files or do I need to do book design?  And do they want print copies or an electronic file and in what format.
  • Termination date.  When does the contract end?

It sounds overly particular, but sooner or later, every freelance writer ends up with a problem job.  I had one client try to double my work load.  I also had a client come back to me after 12 years and try to get me to update a job for free.  I originally delivered text and they hired someone else to do the book design.  They want me to “update” my files to reflect her design and update the information as well.

If you are going to do any type of business writing, be sure to spell everything out in the contract.  It protects you from unreasonable demands.  It also helps them know that you understand what they want.  If something hasn’t been communicated, it can be cleared up at this early stage rather than later.

It is just as vital to have things in writing when dealing with an editor or someone in the publishing industry but, for whatever reason, misunderstandings seem to come up more often when I work outside the industry.  In part, I think this is because my clients don’t speak the language of publishing.  A contract with specifics can help you avoid misunderstanings and hurt feelings.



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