Payment Chronicles

My latest addition to the Resources page on this blog will be about freelance rates. Some of you will know that I am a freelancing artist so this issue is personal to me but so are many of the issues on the Resources page not personal in an in my feelings way, but in that they deal with issues I’ve stumbled across in my time as a writer, as a freelancer, as an author seeking to get published, as someone on the hustle, as a published author.  I just wanted to use this posting as a reminder to you that that page exists (I add links to it as I can) and to do the following PSA (speaking as an independent artist and freelancer).


We need to be paid.

We need to be paid on time.

Not being paid for any use of our time affects our ability to pay our bills.

Not being paid on time for any use of our time affects our ability to pay our bills and sets us back in unpredictable ways (yes, even when you allow yourself a financial cushion which you should try to put in place when money is flowing and hope it doesn’t empty out before things unblock).

We all have bills to pay, not just people with 9-5s.

Unlike people with 9-5s, our next cheque is not guaranteed.

Think about this the next and every time you ask an independent artist and/or freelancer to do something.

Yes, this includes brain picking.

Think about it before you approach them.

Keep thinking about it until they are compensated. Every freelancer and many artists (I won’t say all because some are not working independently) have had issues with payment and/or timely payment. It affects your ability to sustain yourself and retain whatever goodwill you’ve built up.

Stop acting like a grown adult who needs to be paid for their services doesn’t care about their community; many have the receipts of community involvement to show, but the banks and the APUA don’t care about that.

So, pay and pay on time.

Just be fair.

This, of course, does not negate and/or preclude trade exchanges, community service, mentoring, or favours where one is able to do any of the above but these cannot be the default options. Do not…stop…do not say the word “exposure”. I told you not to say that word. Yes, doing it for exposure is a thing, but it’s not the only thing and after a time it’s not enough.

Pay artists.

This PSA is not directed at anyone in particular (though I have my share of stories) but the new link on the Resources page prompted some reflections on this vexing issue. And it is a vexing issue.

The post though is not about not getting paid but the not unrelated issue of rates. I thought it a necessary share because of complaints I sometimes see related to rates and the posting of rates. I’ll excerpt it but it’s worth reading the whole thing.

‘Rates change per industry, company, writer, location and project (and many other variables) …When asked the question “How do you charge?”, freelancers overwhelmingly responded that “it’s a mix – it depends on the client.” In fact, nearly 60% of respondents vary their rates based on different clients, while 12% charge per hour, another 12% by word, and nearly 16% charge by retainer (or per project). This is good news for brands, as budgets and payment terms vary from business to business.”’

I myself have to consider the particulars of each project and estimate (based on my experience of past projects, what this particular project needs, my best guesstimate of how much time it will take to serve the project and the client fairly and thoroughly, what is the value of that time and/or the value of the time lost, what value I bring to it, industry standards v. what the market can practically allow, client size vis-a-vis individual budgets, and other variables). It sucks when after all of that and bending over backwards to deliver, you’re once again feeling around in the dark re pay. It ripples in to your ability to keep up with your obligations or even get ahead of them. So that was the trigger and the connection.

The link will be on the resources page and I encourage you to check that out because feeling around in the dark can be a lonely thing. I’ve learned some things in hard and soft ways, in some ways I’m still learning, and in more ways than I’d like I’m still feeling around in the dark, but I try to light a candle for someone else when I can (consider it part of my service to my community…if you want…either way I’m doing it).

But here’s the link, directly, as well.

As with all content on, except otherwise noted, this is written by Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight 10th Anniversary Edition and Other Writings, Musical Youth, With Grace, Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure, and Oh Gad!). All Rights Reserved. If you enjoyed it, check out my page on Amazon, WordPress, and/or Facebook, and help spread the word about Wadadli Pen, my books, and my freelance writing-editing-coaching-workshop services. You can also subscribe to the site to keep up with future updates. Thanks.

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