Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Contract Gripes

Ok. First, a warning: I'm a little hot under the collar. Second, this has nothing to do with my current contract. Third, this has to do with Canadian freelancers in particular.

There are some crappy contracts floating around in some of the media organizations in Canada. They suck. There's no way around that. They are "rights grabbing"... asking for everything they can get including all rights, moral rights and no extra pay just to pour some salt in that wound.

(You know, the one you have from opening up a vein on the page."All you do is sit down at a typewriter and open a vein." Red Smith)

But here's the thing. Or, rather, here are the things that are in my craw:

a) It's business. No business in their right mind seeks to pay more if they don't have to.

b) It's up to you as an individual to not sign it and not sell your work to that publication if you want to erradicate the contract.

c) No one is forcing you to sign. Nope, no gun to your head.

So what's a writer to do?

One word: DIVERSIFY.

Write for other markets, do different types of writing (ghostwriting, corporate, magazine, book), learn a supplemental trade (editing, desktop publishing), be smart with your money (plan for feast/famine) and stop whining.

Yes, you heard me. And don't go making that face because one day the wind will change and your face will stay that way!

These contracts are out there because there are writers who will sign them. Become a writer who will not sign them. Be smart about being a business, because as a writer, you are a business. You can't wait for the environment to get any friendlier for you because it won't. The strong survive here, baby. Deal with it.