High Pay From Unsolicited Assignment! By Stacy Harris

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Several years ago, having cornered the then-limited market for country-music journalists as a freelancer, I had come to an acceptance of the going rate for my work being rather embarrassingly low.

I queried better-paying, national, mainstream publications from time-to-time, but none were interested in a Nashville-based country-music reviewer, nor her interviews with country-music artists.

I was stuck. Then, one day, I received a call from a major New York-based publication, one of the few I had not queried.

The conversation began with the editor, evidently familiar with my work, identifying herself, specifying an assignment she had in mind, the deadline and the payment. She wanted to know if I was interested.

The pregnant pause that followed was a reaction to the amount of the proposed payment. Conversational pauses are uncomfortable, especially for the persona initiating a phone conversation, so the editor’s response was to immediately add “I know the payment is less than what you’re used to, but we’re having to do some budget-cutting.”

The reality was that the dollar figure was more than I had been paid for any similar writing assignments to that point, hence the pregnant pause.

Thank goodness the editor couldn’t see my facial expression!

Somehow I was able to play it cool, indicate that I understood her position, thank her for the opportunity to add the publication to my list of credits – and accept the assignment!

The lesson here is obvious: Never overlook an opportunity to make your own luck!

Stacy Harris is the Nashville-based publisher and executive editor of Stacy’s Music Row Report, music industry professionals’ most widely-read source of industry news and informed opinion. An internationally-known country-music historian, music industry and popular culture analyst, columnist, broadcast journalist, feature writer, public speaker, pundit and arts critic, Stacy is the sole author of three published books and a contributor to several others.

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