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Old 01-25-2016, 10:24 AM
gatitosmommy's Avatar
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Default Need advice on emailing a client

Individual #1 posted a job offer. I submitted an article and was 'eventually' paid for it. When I submitted two more articles, the person said they were backlogged with material and mine would be paid for in what amounted to a couple of months. The individual then vanished.

Individual #2 came into the picture, tried to assist in contacting the first person, could not find him.

Individual #3 started by saying he'd let me know when the site was back online, but didn't. I only learned it was back online because I checked.
I approached him again and asked what happened to my material. He said an editor would be coming in after the holidays, and that I'd be first in the queue.
Perhaps people may have different definitions of what 'after the holidays' means, but this is near the end of January and I've not heard from them.
In addition, as far as being 'first in the queue,' 4 new articles appeared on the site, and none were mine.

My tolerance for aggravation has totally bottomed-out. I've been jerked around and left hanging by one individual after another with this company, and wonder if anyone here might have advice on what to say in an email?
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Old 01-25-2016, 11:38 AM
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Not sure if this is the best approach because it's negative, but here's my suggestion.

======
Tell him the world of online freelance writers is small. They do a lot of communicating back and forth.

As a freelance writer and a social media manager (fudge on that if necessary), you are in constant contact with others in the field.

It would be very bad for this person's reputation if the word got out he was a deadbeat.
=======

Again, it's negative. On the other hand, you've been patient and positive and they are still stringing you along.

Good luck!
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Old 01-25-2016, 01:51 PM
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If they didn't use it and didn't pay for it, then the content still belongs to you. Do you have anywhere else you can sell it? I would just tell them that you are taking the content back and they do not have permission to post it any longer, then cut ties with them. Though I guess it would depend on how much money you're talking about... If these were long, in-depth articles worth a hundred dollars or more each, then that might be a different story. For two articles totaling $100 or less, I would just take them back and try to sell the work elsewhere at this point. The suggestion by WritingFun might also work... depending on the dollar amount, it might or might not be worth it to you to pursue it past another email, you know?
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Old 01-26-2016, 08:36 AM
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WF & BP:

Thanks for the advice. Not sure which to follow, though.
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Old 01-26-2016, 10:19 PM
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First I would do a search on some of the key phrases or sentences in your content and see if it is up anywhere. If so, I would email the company and demand payment immediately, letting them know that if it was not received in full by XX date, you would notify the clients or sites that it was your work, that you own exclusive rights, and that it has been used without your permission.
If it has not been used, I would send an email notifying them that you are withdrawing the work from consideration due to excessive delays in payment and that you will be submitting it elsewhere. I'd also include the bit about if they wish to purchase it, payment in full must be received by XX date. And then make good on your promises.
I wouldn't bother with threatening to ruin their reputation, they seem to be doing quite well at that without your involvement. I would just state the facts - if they passed your material along to clients without paying you, you will be paid or rat them out to the clients. If they didn't use your work, then be advised that you will be selling it elsewhere and it is no longer available to them.
IMO, by leaving emotions out of it and sticking to nothing but the facts, it seems more professional and less open to them stringing you along further. I know we all fret about burning bridges, but what good is a bridge that has already failed us? Can we ever completely depend on it again? Will it let us down when we really need it? No one needs that kind of stress and uncertainty, especially in this business.
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Old 02-02-2016, 06:58 PM
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I had a similar situation last year with a 50k ghostwritten ebook. I tried multiple times to get my money, and wasn't paid. I sent a demand letter that basically said:

To Whom It May Concern:

You hired me on X date through X platform. I have all the emails / documentation / payment agreement to define this as a paid assignment requested by you. I've requested payment on DATE, DATE, DATE. As of (today's date), I haven't received what I requested of you.

If I do not receive full payment by DATE, I will retain the rights to this work. If you use it at that point for any reason, it is theft. I will pursue whatever legal remedies are necessary in order to secure my rights as this is my intellectual property that you neglected to purchase.

Sincerely,

Name

(read receipt and delivery receipt requested)

Then, if they don't pay in full by the date (do NOT give them any wiggle room - they've jerked you around enough), you send an email that says something like:

To Whom it May Concern:

I emailed you on DATE and demanded full payment. Since you have not remitted it, you do not own TITLE / TITLE / TITLE. I retain all of my rights to my intellectual property. Should you use it in any fashion without my permission (and you do NOT have my permission), I will be forced to take legal action.

Sincerely,

Name

When it happened to me, they came back about 2 days after the deadline and offered me less than the agreed price. I told them to kick rocks.
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Old 04-06-2016, 09:53 PM
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Update:

Well, I sent a polite email to individual #3, who appears to be the head of the company.
He said my patience shows I'd be an asset to their company as an ongoing writer ( ).
And he said it'd probably be taken care of in 'a month or so.'

If that's all there was to it, I'd be satisfied. And grateful. However- there's always a 'however' - it wasn't. He added whether or not I'm paid for those two articles depends on whether or not the editor approves them. I didn't know how to reply, as individual #1 who accepted the articles in the first place told me they would be paid for- he did not say yet another person had to approve them.

So- 'a month or so' passed, and after TWO months passed I sent a brief email to the editor. Another week has gone by, and she hasn't answered.


The heart of the problem, though, is this is the kind of experience I've had whenever I've tried to obtain a side (personal/private) client. Although others did not leave me hanging for more than two years like these folks are doing, it seems being disorganized and unreliable is like a fact of life these days- and I don't know how you guys here who have multiple GOOD clients have been so successful with it.
I've been freelancing for more than 9 years, and for the last couple of years I've been working solely for one content company, because I cannot for the life of me find other clients who are reliable.
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Old 04-07-2016, 04:41 AM
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Now it's time to get paid or get the articles back, period. I have had this happen once (it was a now-discontinued magazine). I followed this advice and got paid promptly. The difference is that my articles had already been published in the actual magazine issues, but I think a tweak or two would work in your case. This is from WritersWeekly's Angela Hoy:

Deadbeat Editor Giving You The Run-Around? | WritersWeekly.com

Quote:
Tell them that you’re tired of their lies and that you have composed a letter to send to WritersWeekly.com (the largest freelance writing ezine in the world), to the major freelance writing watchdog groups and websites, to the National Writer’s Union, to the Better Business Bureau in (insert name of their state here) and to the (insert name of their state here) Attorney General’s office.

Tell them you’re going to mail those letters in 10 business days if you haven’t received payment by then.

If they don’t respond, follow through on your threat. Report them to WritersWeekly’s Whispers and Warnings Forum here: WritersWeekly.com ? Index page.
As for getting the good clients, I'm not sure... are you charging enough? I will say that the ones who are willing to pay professional rates tend to be more professional in general, and that includes paying on time or as agreed. Also, I do not hesitate to bill individuals or small companies in advance... and I have had one client (who later turned out to be a slow-payer) balk. In hindsight, I should have simply said "no content for you," but this was pretty early in my career and I got jerked around for months over a few hundred dollars. I definitely take more of a no-nonsense approach now! Be sure to make your terms very clear: "I will send you an invoice now, and once that is paid, I'll begin working on your project," or "Payment is due within 10 days of invoice. I will send you the invoice on May 15," or whatever.

One other suggestion that seems to work for me and a few others is to talk to potential clients on the telephone. I know, I know... we're writers and we don't want to talk on the phone! But seriously, if you have their cellphone numbers and you have actually spoken to them, I think that alone shows that they're more serious than your average non-payer. Always take notes, then follow up all conversations with a recap via email to make sure you're both on the same page and to help you both remember the details. This also gives the client a chance to say, "wait, no, I meant to say yada yada," before you begin the work.

Good luck!

Last edited by beanandpumpkin; 04-07-2016 at 04:43 AM.
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