On March 7th I found two great things in my mailbox:
1. A tearsheet and a check for $30 from a local parenting publication.
2. The March issue of another local parenting publication in which my article appeared.
Where’s the check for the other article, you ask? Well, we never really discussed my rates or theirs. So I sent off a quick email asking what their rates usually are, letting the editor know I’m not trying to get rich and that I’m thrilled to be published in their magazine. She wrote back quickly to say they usually pay 10 cents per word. I ran to my computer to check the word count on what I’d sent them. This was an article I custom-made for this publication and then luckily was able to sell to other pubs before it became a reprint. This article was over 1,000 words. Does that mean a check for $100 is coming my way?
No, because we hadn’t discussed it first. So I did the nice thing and gave it to them for half off, which still seemed like a lot of money to the editor. I don’t know why she thought I’d write a custom-made article for them for FREE.
The lesson: Always talk money upfront. If someone says they want your article or want you to write one, ask their rates or give them yours if you feel comfortable.