>Caught in the time warp

>My friend Candace and I labored hard on our articles for the new SeaPort Magazine, which came out over a week late and finally has a website, seaportairmag.com. We each discovered that some of our work didn’t make the final cut. Her time-consuming Seattle events calendar didn’t get in, and neither did my kite-festival masterpiece and my ditty on dune-buggying. Wasting the latter story is particularly frustrating because I could see the editor had assigned too many stories for the space he had. When I suggested I skip the dune buggies, he told me to go ahead. I know how quickly space fills up, so I don’t blame the editor; I blame myself for not asking what would happen if he ran out of space.

These things took considerable work and now they’re dead, at least as far as SeaPort goes. By the next issue, all of the events will be over, including the Lincoln City fall kite festival and “Dune Fest”. I gave up a lot of time and ate a lot of sand for those stories. So now what? Do we get paid for these things that didn’t run? Can we do anything else with them or do the publishers of SeaPort own the rights? Unfortunately, this being a new magazine put out by a newspaper publisher, we didn’t get written contracts, and neither one of us asked all the questions we should have. Actually I did ask about rights before the magazine came out. The publisher/editor hadn’t worked that out yet. Now, we both realize we should have asked about kill fees. Do we get paid even if it doesn’t run? I did get paid for everything on my invoice, but when we last talked, Candace was still waiting for her check.

We’re both hesitant to propose more articles without knowing all the things we should have known before. The moral of the story is: Ask about everything, even those things that seem unlikely when you accept an assignment. Don’t be intimidated and don’t assume anything.

1) How long should the article be, and do they need you to do the photos?
2) What format do they want you submit things in?
3) When is the deadline and does that mean first thing in the morning or any time that day?
4) When is it coming out? Is there a chance it will be later than that?
5) Do they pay expenses, such as mileage, long-distance telephone calls and admission fees?
5) If they need additional art, will they get it, or do they expect you to make the connections?
6) Will they send proofs of your edited stories? (Candace saw hers; I didn’t)
7) What rights are they buying? Is this a work for hire? Are they asking for all rights, first-time rights or what? Is there room for negotiation?
8) Will this be published online as well as on paper?
9) What if they don’t have room for my story? Will I get paid anyway? Do they pay a portion as a “kill fee?” Can I sell it somewhere else?
10) When and where can I get copies of the finished product?

I’m sure there are more questions. Suggestions?

One Comment on “>Caught in the time warp”

  1. >I have one. Can we put a reasonable time limit on when the piece will run and if it does not run by then, will you pay a kill fee? This is based on my experience with a submission to a magazine more than a year ago. I wrote the piece on spec, they sent me a contract, and then….nothing. I've contacted them twice and they still plan on using it, but can't say when.

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