Knowledge is your best weapon

Every freelance writer has a horror story about not getting paid; some schlep of an editor printing an article but refusing to cut the check. How can you protect yourself?

Don’t do business with known problems!

Of course, that means you need to know about these people. You should always do the obvious Google check of any client to make sure they aren’t currently in the news for things like impending bankruptcy or on trial for barbecuing ex-writers.

You should also check a couple of websites:

  • Whispers and Warnings from WritersWeekly: In addition to being a great source of new markets, WritersWeekly offers a forum for reporting your problems and checking up markets other writers have had issues with. They also investigate any claims, so you know it’s never just a case of sour grapes.
  • Writer Beware from SFWA, along with the Writer Beware Blog: Victoria Strauss and A.C. Crispin are epic-level uncoverers of publishing scams. If you’re thinking about publishing a book or looking for an agent, check out this website before you talk to anyone.

What are your techniques for avoiding the no-good-niks?

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