writing/editing on retainer

Subject: writing/editing on retainer
From: "Roberta J. Kirby-Werner" <rjkirby -at- MAILBOX -dot- SYR -dot- EDU>
Date: Mon, 8 Jan 1996 12:47:14 -0500

Greeting, techwhirlers. My guess is that this question targets the
freelancers on the list, but I welcome anyone's input. I'd like to know
if any of you write/edit on retainer, and if so, what terms you use to
establish that professional relationship in a contract. Specific
examples would be appreciated.

Here's my situation:

I'm drafting a proposal to work with a group of engineers in the
automotive industry to write and edit technical papers for the Society of
Automotive Engineers journal and conferences. I've worked with this
group in the past and had one exceptional experience followed by one
dismal one. The more recent experience involved being hired "verbally"
to assist four teams of engineers to produce their papers but actually
doing nothing because the engineers made so little progress on their
writing for me to intervene. I turned clients away for two-months,
waiting for these people to get their acts together, and got burned in
the end because the group resigned themselves to writing the papers
themselves under very tight time constraints. (Tsk, tsk.)

In December, the manager who first hired me as a consultant asked me to
work with the engineers in his division again this year, but I insisted
that the terms be very different if I worked for them at all. He
acknowledged the error of his group's ways, wants to restore our
professional relationship to what it once was, and is willing to hire me
on retainer, *but* I've never done this before. Consequently, I would
appreciate your advice, warnings, and any other valuable information you
might share with me. I need to finish the proposal by the end of the week,
so please reply quickly.


rjkirby -at- mailbox -dot- syr -dot- edu

Roberta (Bobbi) Kirby-Werner

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