When An Assignment Goes Terribly Wrong! My Word of Advice...

When An Assignment Goes Terribly Wrong! My Word of Advice...

Move on!

You've gotten an assignment, great! You worked out a fee and word count, and deadline then after turning in the final article, something goes wrong. Your editor goes quiet.

Or You've been given an assignment, great! Worked out the details. Been given the publicists contact to make arrangements and then the publicist can't be reached.

Or You've been promised an exclusive one on one interview and when arrive, 10 other media outlets are there for the same "exclusive one on one interview."

Or the WORST 

You've been given an assignment, great! Working on a perfect article including images. Your editor loves it! It gets published and shared with all of your friends on social media and invoice the publication with your w-9 and contributor contract. You even get a 2nd assignment within the week! You LOVE freelancing. Then 3 months pass and your editor start to email less and less, eventually goes completely quiet. 5 months go by, still no direct deposit in your bank account. 8 months have now gone by.


As an experienced (over 25+ years in the game) freelance journalist, these types of scenarios happen more times that I care to mention and from reputable magazines. _ some of your favorite brands. It is unfortunately a big part of the business.

Developing relationships are important and knowing when to nag, push into someone's DMs, or even call a corporate office, can be tricky and sometimes damn near intimidating. It's hard to go after your money with some big magazine that you've only known though emails. But remember that you have the power.

9 times out of 10 when an editor ghosts me, I move on to another publication. You never know when someone will pop back up in your editorial life. 

Editors leave jobs and you never know until you feed it in their twitter feed that they now work someplace completely different. Social Media has been key in my research or finding and maintaining my relationships with my colleagues of editors that have paid me and that will pay me in the future.

Most editors have bosses, either Editor in Chiefs or Publishers that they answer and I've never been above connecting with an editor in chief on LinkedIn. It has gotten me paid more than once.

The tip that I want you to leave with is that there are millions of media outlets that are looking for writers like you that will appreciate what you have to contribute to the world. It's YOUR job to find them. When you're able to WEED out the imposters and the publications that treat their writers POORLY, then you've learned a great lesson. Take it and move on.

If an editor ghosts you, take it as a push to find another comparable magazine.

If a publicist is non-responsive, tell your editor immediately before your deadline and get them involved. You and your editor are in this together. Everyone wants a great article.

If you're promised a one on one and unwillingly are included in a group interview, utilize the other media outlets questions and record all of the answers. Write your article as if the interview was just for you and turn in a draft on time. Let your editor know the situation but still hand in an article.

Finally, when you've written an article and are ignored by your editor, go straight to their boss and share that your invoice hasn't been paid. Utilize social media to find their accounting department or accountant and get them involved. I'd start in someone's DM if they don't respond. Well the next move is all on you.

Be as persistent and clear about your invoicing (HOW and WHEN you get PAID) as you are with your pitching.

I hope this helps. ~ Darralynn


Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published