Question of the day: I am about to have my first freelance article published -the article will be published in the May issue so it's not out yet. My concern is that I have not heard anything about what I will be paid for this article. I never discussed it with the editor before and I have not heard from anyone else at the magazine about it. Am I being too impatient or does it look like I will not be receiving compensation?
Oh my gosh, this is not good. Writers, please, never find yourself in this situation! Money is an uncomfortable subject to raise, but please, please, please, raise it as soon as you're offered an assignment, if not before.
In this case, I would email or call your editor asap. You should have received a contract for your article, and in this contract, it should state the terms of what you'll be paid. So I would call her/email her and say that you haven't yet received the contract, and can she please send it out asap. THIS IS STANDARD OPERATING PROCEDURE for any reputable magazine, and you should get one stat. I would also ask - clearly - what the per word rate is, and I would make it clear that you have the expectation that there is indeed a per word rate. Though you could perhaps word this a bit more subtly - i.e, "I realized that we didn't discuss payment. I'm was so excited to receive the assignment that I let this important aspect slip by! Can you please tell me what your standard rate per word is and when I can expect a check?"
But in order for them to pay you, they need information from you - social security, address, etc - and I'm a little alarmed that this wasn't asked for and the contract wasn't provided.
Writers CANNOT forget that this is a job, and editors EXPECT to have the money discussion with you! Please, please, please (and I'm saying this so kindly - you can't read my tone here, but I really am) do not let yourself be taken advantage of. Contact your editor NOW and find out what's going on. And in the future, always know that asking about money/payment is simply part of the negotiation process, and you should never feel awkward raising it.
Readers, any advice for this reader?