writing/editing on retainer

Subject: writing/editing on retainer
From: Jennie Achtemichuk <JennieA -at- MSN -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 9 Jan 1996 21:00:42 UT

On Mon, 8 Jan 1996, Roberta J. Kirby-Werner mentioned her predicament with
freelancing and asked for pointers on getting a contract or retainer. Here are

* Never start a freelance job without a contract, even if it's a simple
one-page letter signed by both parties.
* Get and read the book by Robert Bly called Selling your services.
* Contact the Independent Consultants PIC if you're a member of STC. Their
newsletter has had specific information in it.
* Contact the National Writers Union. They have contract info, and will help
with conflict resolution if you have trouble getting paid after providing
services or delivering manuscripts. Their phone number is (212) 254-0279.
* Look for a book by the National Writers Union on rates and standard
practices for writers. You can get it at major bookstores.
* Use the information provided by these resources, and don't let your client
convince you that it's unnecessary. For example, often they will insist that
you don't need a contract yet a contract usually requires the signature of a
decision maker (so you're likely to be able to collect money) and outlines the
basic rules of doing business (what you're working on, how long/how much they
can afford, when you bill, when they pay, that you won't disclose information
to third parties, copyright ownership, etc.).

Jennie Achtemichuk
Independent Consultant, help authoring/instructional design
Kirkland WA

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