It all started in October, when I answered an ad for a freelance writer. I was to write articles and blog entries. The pay was alright, $75 for articles and $50 for blogs. The editor had me working daily; I was thrilled. She was full of praise over my pitches and articles, and made comments such as, “Work your magic.”
In late November I received an email saying the quota was full for the year and my services were no longer needed. I was a bit disappointed how fast this so-called long-term position came and went. The first two paychecks came about a month after the invoices were submitted. Considering they came from California to Canada, it was an acceptable time for regular post. I submitted my last invoice for one pitched story along with three articles the editor asked me to write. It was $225 in total.
Over a month went by. In early 2010, I wrote the editor, asking about my paycheck. She said she would issue a kill fee of much less than what we had agreed upon. She stated the publication was going in a different angle, and no longer needed freelancers. Since the three articles were requested with payment quoted, and not upon acceptance, that means I would get paid for my work.
The editor didn’t agree at first. She spoke to her legal team and she sent me an email stating she would pay me $150. I agreed.
When the check arrived weeks later, it was only for $75. Half of what we agreed upon. I emailed the editor and she was downright rude. She sent me a fabricated email in which I apparently agreed to the $75. Little did she know, I kept all our correspondence. My reply was a “nice try” letter, along with the original email where she copied the ‘reply from’ and pasted it in.
The editor ended our correspondence stating we had completed our business and my emails would go to junk mail. It was only $75 but my husband had been laid off just before Christmas. That was a lot to “us.” So I went on a quest.
I contacted Angela Hoy at WritersWeekly.com. I had been familiar with the Whispers and Warnings section for years now. They also have a great selection of writing jobs. Since becoming ill, working outside the home is not an option. I tried using a copy of the last warning letter Angela wrote in one of her articles. It didn’t work.
Angela suggested a site to post my complaint on. When it was listed, she would place a link to it on WritersWeekly Whispers and Warnings. Just after the complaint was filed a light went off in my head. My deceased father’s advice came to me.
“Always go to the top if you want action.” So I did!
I wrote the head of the publication, and explained my story to him. I included a link to my complaint online, and clearly stated my complaint would be publicly known all over the Internet. I told him I would be on a mission until I was paid, ending off with these words: “Where we go from here is up to you.”
I also asked for an apology from the editor for her rudeness, and for fabricating the email.
I received a reply quite fast. He asked me to refrain from writing anything more online until he investigated my claim. Within an hour, the “upper management” wrote me back. They were processing a check and would send it via courier – expedited mail. Nothing was mentioned about the apology. I thought it was only right that she said sorry.
A few hours later I received another email upper management, saying the check was sent and that I should soon be receiving an email from the editor, and I did!
She apologized for the miscommunication and misunderstanding about my check. She did wish me well.
I accepted it for what it was worth….$75!
Thanks to Angela, my mission was completed and with success!
Angie Garcia is a retired photojournalist in print media. She now writes freelance and enjoys her time at home with her 12 year old son, ( the last of six children) her wonderful husband, a cockatiel, bearded dragon and an Iguana. With her love for animals, Angie takes in rescued pets and plans to become a reptile rescue home. “When you are use to a home full of kids and they grow up, and move out, you have to replace them with something! Otherwise the quiet gets to you.”