When Clients Don't Pay, Pay Late...and Other Anomalies of Freelancing

Written by Melissa Brewer

Continued from page 1

3. Whenrepparttar Client Ignores You Completely: Nudge Harder

What if your client won't return your email or phone calls andrepparttar 129566 Accounts Payable department only has a voice mailbox? (This is a sure sign of trouble!)

Make sure that your contact person is actually in town! I've had editors leave for three weeks without any notice andrepparttar 129567 Accounting department couldn't pay freelancers without approval fromrepparttar 129568 Editor. If this isrepparttar 129569 case, you'll have to call (or leave a message for)repparttar 129570 accounting department and fax them a copy ofrepparttar 129571 invoice and initial contract. Explain thatrepparttar 129572 copyright doesn't transfer to their company until you're paid and thatrepparttar 129573 signature onrepparttar 129574 contract authorizes your payment. (It's a matter of CYA for them...Cover Your Assets)

If you're still being ignored, and it's almost been a month, it's time to get serious. Before you go report them torepparttar 129575 Better Business Bureau, or decide to sever your relationship, make sure it's worth losing their business inrepparttar 129576 future.

Try sending a "friendly" past-due postcard from this collection agency website: http://www.madagency.com/postoffice.html. (I've used one ofrepparttar 129577 "light" postcards twice and didn't lose either client!)

Make sure you note all ofrepparttar 129578 dates and times you've called and keep copies of all of your correspondence. If you work for this client in repparttar 129579 future, make sure that you ask for a larger up-front deposit, just in case.

4. Whenrepparttar 129580 Client Is No Longer a Client: They're a Debtor

Once you've figured out that you're NOT getting paid without some outside interference, don't panic, harass, or spread vicious rumors about your client. There *are* steps you can take, but if you're owed a lot of money, it's wise to tread lightly and remain civil to stay out of court.

If you're a member ofrepparttar 129581 National Writer's Union or another organization for writers, it's time to make a phone call. Your union representative can help mediate disputes with clients. If you're not a union member, you can try contacting Angela Hoy at Writer's Weekly. She regularly "goes after" non-paying clients in front of an audience of 67,000 readers/writers!

Report to Writer's Weekly http://www.writersweekly.com/forms/report.html

If your client is a member ofrepparttar 129582 Better Business Bureau, you can contact their local branch. You may also want to consider hiring a collection agency. If you handled transactions solely online, you can also consider reporting them torepparttar 129583 FBI's Internet fraud department at www.fbi.gov. You can also start sending snail-mail collection letters with 30, 60, and 90 days "past due" notices.

You can download some sample collection letters here: http://www.toolkit.cch.com ools/letter_m.asp

Sometimes, however, no matter what you do, your client won't pay. They may "skip town" or go directly into bankruptcy, absolving themselves of debt. Unfortunately, as a freelancer, you can't write this off as a "loss" in your taxes. What you CAN do is go to court and try to collect what ever you can. As long as you keep records of all of your correspondence, you'll have a decent court case. However, even if you go to court and a judgment is entered against them,repparttar 129584 chances are slim that you WILL get paid.

The only certainty about a non-paying client is that you'll learn from your mistakes. It's a painful lesson, but at least you can go back torepparttar 129585 warnings boards listed inrepparttar 129586 first section of this article, and share them with your fellow freelancers.

Luckily,repparttar 129587 paying clients usually outnumberrepparttar 129588 non-paying andrepparttar 129589 late-paying clients about 30-to-1. And they'rerepparttar 129590 ones who make freelancing worthwhile, anyway.

Melissa Brewer is a full-time freelance writer and author of The Writer's Online Survival Guide, available at http://www.webwritingbuzz.com. She hosts a website for professional freelance writers and she publishes a free weekly newsletter, The Web Writing Buzz, featuring articles on freelancing, writing jobs and publishing news from around the web.

Online Writing and Beyond: Writers Will Lead the Content Revolution

Written by Melissa Brewer

Continued from page 1

More and more websites are creating audiences rather than readers, and writers are helping them through polls, feedback forms, and message boards. However, it seems thatrepparttar web has not completely transformedrepparttar 129565 web into a completely interactive medium yet. Content writers will create a way to forcerepparttar 129566 reader not to be an audience, but a part ofrepparttar 129567 play. As a writer, I think that we'll give audiences more and more room to interact and influence actual events and mediums.

Where We'll Take Content Writing

Inrepparttar 129568 future, I see nonfiction e-books allowing readers to pick and choose chapters based on their skill and knowledge levels. Students will be able to skiprepparttar 129569 grammar review in an online textbook if they feel their skills are up to par or took an online skill test to "test-out". Web designers will skiprepparttar 129570 HTML basics and move straight to HTML 5.0 new features and XML. Writers will be writing both for a general audience and a skilled audience, and readers will participate inrepparttar 129571 process by choosingrepparttar 129572 specific information they need. "Take what you need and leaverepparttar 129573 rest" will berepparttar 129574 new online writing mantra. Contentville.com already did this (although they are now defunct) with a huge database of articles, thesis papers, and other formerly print media that readers pay a small fee to read. Others are following this pattern. This market will expand and readers will only pay for what they get.

Inrepparttar 129575 fiction market, readers will be taken torepparttar 129576 next level of participation by finding not only a choice of characters, plots, and settings through interactive websites and media, but through a Choose- Your-Own Adventure type of structure. Similar to online games, users will be able to choose Jane's physical traits and John's personality, and setrepparttar 129577 story into sequence at a setting of their choice. They will choose their favorite outcomes in their online soap operas. (No more, "No! John! You should have married Mary, not left her for Margaret! She's evil!")

As forrepparttar 129578 writers? We won't have to chooserepparttar 129579 perfect beginning, middle, or end anymore. We won't have to decide on one specific audience. We'll be writing for all cultures, all ages, and all interest levels. Where content is king, we'll berepparttar 129580 knights in shining armor, rescuingrepparttar 129581 reader fromrepparttar 129582 boring, redundant, or irrelevant web reading andrepparttar 129583 writing of yesteryear.

Oh, yeah, and we'll be paid as well asrepparttar 129584 Duke of Earl.

*This article originally appeared in Web Writing Buzz Newsletter in April of 2000.

Melissa Brewer is a full-time freelance writer and author of The Writer's Online Survival Guide, available at http://www.webwritingbuzz.com. She hosts a website for professional freelance writers and she publishes a free weekly newsletter, The Web Writing Buzz, featuring articles on freelancing, writing jobs and publishing news from around the web.

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