Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Getting Paid

"If you kept up with my blog, you'd understand."

I sold some cartoons to a client. I emailed the finishes to the editor and invoiced him that day. (The above cartoon is not one of the cartoons. It was bought by a very good market that pays consistently on time. I'm just using it as an illustration.) This client is supposed to pay within 30 days.

Over a month goes by, no payment.

I sent a friendly reminder email last week and then, yesterday, I left a phone message. "Hi, uh, it's Mike calling. Just want to know if there's a check in the mail. It's my rent time. Ha, ha." (That's not a joke, really. I do have to pay New York rent, which is NOT CHEAP.)

No answer.

Now, it's my personal rule not to let things get behind. Sometimes there are good reasons why I don't get paid. Not all the time, but some times. I'm open to there being a problem on their side. And I want to be civil and friendly. No confrontations. Regardless, I'm frustrated that the editor won't contact me.

So today I checked out the site for the magazine. This is a national mag, on newsstands from coast to coast. The site was there, operating just fine. So then I looked at this feature called EDITOR'S BLOG.

One of the topics for the blog: "Freelancing has never been an easy way to make a living. Is it getting harder?" And there's a place to MAKE COMMENTS.

The editor won't return my call, but he has time to blog. Hmm.

Like I said, I'm not making this up.

Hmm. Is freelancing getting harder?

I immediately thought of Al Jaffee's Snappy Answers to Stupid Questions.

"No, it's not hard since I've given up eating."

"It'd be a lot easier if you'd just PAY ME."

"My mom is gonna call your mom and then, oh boy, you're going to be in a lotta trouble."

This isn't the first time that it's happened to me. I just try to be persistent and nice. "Is there anything else that you need? Can we go over my contact details again? Can you Fed Ex a hand-written check?" And if I get a non-responsive person on the phone, I counter with, "What would you do if you were in my situation?"

Well, I won't post a comment on that mag's blog. I won't say what magazine it is. Hopefully, it will work out. Especially if I'm persistent about it. I suppose there's a chance of the editor somehow seeing this blog and -- BOOM! -- no more business from him. Ah well.

The darn thing is, it's such a small bit of money to the corporate world. It's a plane ticket. It's lunch for board. It's a car rental.

Besides my sweet big cat Roo getting in my way as I draw, this is another time drag; another reason I don't produce more cartoons! Too much time spent in the Mike Lynch Accounts Receivable Department.


This has been an encore presentation of the Mike Lynch Cartoons blog. The above appeared in its original form on March 2, 2006.


Nancy said...

At least you can pay someone to get them to pay you, eventually. It's even more fun when they offer you a chance to *maybe* get paid by creating new art/films/animation for a 'contest'. Animators get this sort of exploitative thing all the time.
And I only freelanced for people who paid up quickly and reliably.

John R. Platt said...

I think it's gotten even worse since 2006. Some companies hold off paying as long as they can. Luckily, for every company that holds on to every nickle, there is another that pays on time and deals with freelancers fairly.

Jeff P said...

Hey, Mike, if this happens again, let me know. I have this friend, Guido, who might be able to help.

There's a magazine that's used my work frequently that used to pay in 30 days. Then it went to 90! Now it's back to 45, and I'm supposed to be grateful.

Brian Fies said...

So did you get paid?

Mike Lynch said...

I agree that things have gotten worse.

Thanks for asking, Brian. I did get paid.

The challenge now is finding companies that have taken my cartoons without my permission and demanding payment.

It's a sad state of affairs.

david Jacobson said...

PUt sugar in his gas tank, Mike.
And yes, things have gotten worse.
They always make you feel like you're begging.