Thursday, April 2, 2009

A Word of Advice for Freelance Writers

As we all know it's rather amazing what we can find out by doing searches on the internet these days. Recently I was amazed to discover two stories I had written nearly four years ago were published---and I had never been informed or paid! It all started when I decided to Goggle my name to see if Hidden Heritage was included in the class-action lawsuit against Google Books. The book cover and information came up, however the contents were not uploaded.

As I continued looking through the list of books that came up with my name search, I found several stories I had written for different anthologies, such as the Cup of Comfort series. Then I noticed two stories that I'd written but as far as I knew had never been published. One was titled, Second Blessings, shown in a book called Blessings for Mothers by Regal Books, and A Guide for Life was listed in The Bad Hair Day Book by J. Countryman, a division of Thomas Nelson. Both had publication dates of 2006.

Needless to say I immediately checked my submission records from 2005 and found both stories had been submitted to a "middle-man" type editorial company that worked with inspirational publishers. From what I could tell he collected and edited stories for a themed project and then sold the entire contents to a publisher as a package deal. I contacted both publishers who directed me to this person. My purpose in sharing this information is not to "bad-mouth" him or his business...I was told he went through a "perfect storm " of changes and events that caused the breakdown in connecting with all the authors. Regardless, it took a full month after my initial query and further prompting on my part to get a resolution.

It's a lesson I think many freelance writers can learn from. Keep good records and take the time to search your name and articles/stories by title. You never know what you might discover!

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