Working with a publisher? Got offered a job? Great! Before you agree to take the job, I highly recommend that before you sign anything or negotiate terms you ask your employer a few questions. Don’t be afraid to find out a little bit more about their business, sometimes you may decide that you don’t want to take a job based on what kind of business you’re working for–especially since companies come and go.
It’s important to ask questions to know who you’re dealing with and whether or not the business is on the up-and-up. Most editors won’t mind sharing a little insight, as long as you are polite and stay focused, asking questions relevant to the job.
Depending upon your deadline and needs, examples of questions might be:
* When can you expect payment?
* Will you have to provide tax information?
* How many rounds of edits will the assignment require?
* How long have you been in business?
* Will you receive an author’s copy of your work? If so, how many?
* How long after you submit your assignment will the work be published?
* Will they provide a reference?
* What other titles or publications do they produce?
* Are they owned by a parent company?
* What rights are you retaining, giving up by working on this project?
If you search well enough, you might be able to find invaluable information online. Sometimes freelance authors will step up and be vocal about non-paying companies or services; while it’s good not to get too heavily involved in forum discussions of that type, it can’t hurt to read information from someone else’s posts.
In those rare cases where you do get offered a full-time position please slow down and ask about their benefits program–you don’t want to get stuck having to pay more for health insurance than you take home every day.
Above all, go with your gut instinct. If you feel a company is being honest and professional with you, they probably are. If you’re not comfortable working without a contract or written agreement and an employer won’t sign? Then that company is probably to risky for you to work with.
Remember, being offered a job is a wonderful thing, but you have to be smart about it as well. If you’re not, you may end up putting in more effort than what it’s worth.