In a bid to grab the attention of an editor with a hook that would knock her socks off, I pitched an idea involving an international story about cat cafes in Tokyo. I researched it, gathered my information, was sure I had enough to reach the required word count, and sent it her way. “This is just what we were looking for,” she said. I felt a sense of accomplishment until she added, “But, only if you can get photos to complement the piece.”
Normally, the magazine sources the images for their features, so I was at a loss. Photos? I wasn’t about to let this assignment get away so I headed to the Internet. There were lots of images to choose from to complement the piece but I certainly did not want to have any copyright issues arise.
I finally found a cat blogger who had visited the cat cafes in Tokyo, and she had several photos. I emailed her, asking if she was interested. She was but, to be fair, I wanted to try to get payment for her, too. I approached my editor, and asked about a fee for the photos. To my surprise, my editor said they would pay per used photo, and agreed on a generous fee. Feeling better about the win-win situation, I told the cat blogger and the feature was entered on the editorial calendar.
In June 2013, a year later, the piece and three photos made it to publication in the magazine. I was paid, the cat blogger was paid, and the magazine had an international cat story for its readers.
On an interesting side-note, I reside in the Caribbean, the cat blogger lives in the Canary Islands, and the magazine originates in Canada. Now, that’s what I call an international story!
Nadia Ali is a freelance writer born in London, UK, and now living in the Caribbean. Her writing credits include Chicken Soup for the Soul Books, Whole Life Magazine and the Travel Channel.