Abandonment: “Even with a great long-term writer/publisher relationship, the best assignment can come to a surprising end.”
As writers, we are always proud to write our best for the best. How many times have you wished for those plum assignments, or received requests for high-end quality content?
Let’s suppose you have received them, written well, and been paid handsomely.
Let’s go all the way — the dream assignments, a series, repeat requests for titles and articles. Dozens. You have the topics nailed down, style-perfect. You’re batting a thousand. The niche is yours.
“This is almost as good as having your own web site.”
Let’s dream on further. It gets even better with the ultimate freelancer prize: the steering wheel itself; you now have the freedom to design your own content within the niche site, freedom of direction, choice of style, graphics, photo content and deadlines. This is almost as good as having your own web site. The world is your oyster — and the site, open for all to enjoy, is ‘looking great!’
Then doomsday arrives. You seem to be abandoned.
First, let’s take a look at why the ride has been so attractive, and coincidentally, why you did not expect it to end.
- Money: While many ‘crowd-source’ publishing sites pay only residual pennies and minimal up-front payments, you have become used to better-than-average writing income.
- Ego boost: The publisher raved about your articles, without fail. He or she offered great feedback. You responded with pride and enthusiasm.
- Referrals: The publisher seemed to happily recommend your services and skill set to other publishers. That’s a great vote of confidence in my book.
- Quick fixes: Problematic issues were always quickly and easily resolved with timely and excellent communication.
- Low stress: There are fewer headaches when dealing with the same publisher — rapport was established; and ongoing deadline flexibility was offered. Perhaps you were even a few weeks ahead. Everybody was happy.
Then comes the pitfall: Abandonment.
Even with a great long-term writer/publisher relationship, the best assignment can come to a surprising end. Silence. You attempt to contact the publisher, without success. Nothing happens, and the plum job fades into the past. Moving on eventually becomes the only choice.
Was it sudden, or did the arrangement and communication just slowly and painfully come to a grinding halt? What happened? In retrospect, were there warning signs your sweet deal was about to end?
- Unwarranted criticism started appearing out of the blue. Your once-prized content was questioned, style criticized and unexpected requests for change began to arrive.
- An element of general discontent began to surface with negative comments.
- Payments, even for approved articles, were delayed or ‘forgotten’ — requiring reminders.
- The website became neglected and new articles submitted remain un-posted. No further postings, comments, or modifications were being made on the site you have been creating content for.
- Communication dropped off gradually to the point of silence. No response was received from direct inquiries.
You waited, and waited — perhaps for months — and finally gave up.
So, what happened?
There are several possibilities which include:
- A change of management. You are no longer the favored writer of the manager in charge. The new manager may have arbitrarily changed to his own favorite supplier and neglected to inform you.
- A change of focus occurred. Your content is no longer relevant or needed. Yes, they should have contacted you, gave you fair warning, and terminated your services in a civilized fashion–but not surprisingly, failure to practice civilized business protocol happens increasingly.
- A new company policy was made. No favorite writers allowed.
- Your potential revenue-sharing agreement or other arrangements may have been quashed, re-thought, or abandoned because of legal issues.
- The primary mover has been deceased and the web site is left an orphan. This is the saddest possibility, and something beyond your ability to control or remedy.
What can you do if your pet project is abandoned?
If the web site owner is deceased, or the company is no longer in business, what else can you do but move on?
If the company is still functioning but under new management, put your best foot forward with a query and offer samples of your writing. Perhaps the old plum will surface again under new management.
Let your quality content speak for itself. Meantime, start accepting other assignments, begin blogging, and keep those creative juices flowing. Try writing fiction. Try different genres, explore the development of your own web site using your extensive base of knowledge. Keep growing.
The best response in the book as a direct answer for abandonment?
Be versatile, get back to it, and never quit.
»photo credit: Pink Sherbet Photography
Raymond Alexander Kukkee writes short stories, children’s literature and poetry, but his favorite genre is fiction. His eclectic blog Incoming Bytes encourages readers to think for themselves. He will soon release his new YA novel, Fires of Waterland.
What’s the best Freelance gig you ever had? Is it still going strong? If not, did it end well?