October 28, 2011 12:47 PM Subscribe
I have a day job, and I also freelance as a graphic artist/illustrator. I've only been getting paid for my work for the past few months, and I haven't had a problem getting compensated. Until now.
posted by cartoonella to Work & Money (8 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
For a couple of years I've been posted my art on a web site that connects artists with potential clients. I've been on there without much activity for two years. I'd never had reason to doubt that this site was on the up and up - there are thousands of other artists registered, and they send out a weekly newsletter congratulating this or that person on having scored a paying gig with someone who wanted one of their drawings.
Two weeks ago I got a message from the moderator of the site, saying that a German publication wanted to publish one of my cartoons. I instantly said yes! They asked me to email them a high-res file. They asked for my email address so I can receive payment from them via Paypal. Sounds good to me, though the amount isn't specified.
I emailed them the file. Heard nothing for a couple of days, but figured it's okay - times zones are different. Another email from them: the publisher wants to use my art in a print publication, so they need an even bigger file than what I gave them originally. And they need it NOW.
Unfortunately, this email hits my inbox at 3:00 in the morning, when I'm asleep. I didn't even get the message until 7:00 am my time.
I emailed them again, asking if they still want the file - or did I miss the paper's deadline? Didn't hear anything for a few hours, so I sent them the larger file anyway (went to a lot of trouble to do that, too, since it was on my home computer, not the one at my day job).
So I get a message from another site mod, telling me she's sorry, but I've missed the deadline, and the paper went with another artist. I figure easy come easy go, and that's that.
Days later, one of my fellow artist pals on the site, who lives in Germany, tells me my cartoon was published in a local newspaper there. I'm happy they used it, but miffed that I haven't been paid yet, and never received word from the web site that my art was going to be used after all.
A flurry of emails since then, with promises from three mods so far that I'm going to get paid. It's been two weeks, though, and I figure each day that passes halves my chances of getting paid anytime soon. I feel I'm going backwards by Xeno's paradox-type increments here. Not looking good.
So - I haven't had any problems with the site until now. It's been nothing but a good-karma place for me. I've built up scads of contacts with other artists that have been valuable for me. My work is neatly arranged in an easy-to-navigate online gallery that anyone can access, and I enjoy being a part of their community. But I feel burned, and I'd like to know how to approach this next time (if there is a next time).
If they approach me again with promise of a paying opportunity, I'm thinking I need to make sure of a few things: The name of the publication, the fee they're paying me, and the date I should expect payment. I would also like to ask them for a contact name at the organization, but other artists on the site have said that it's verboten to contact the site's partners. I suppose it would also make sense to simply refuse to send the file until I get something in writing from them. Sending a watermarked file doesn't really do anything for me in this case.
What else should I ask for or make sure of next time? Am I leaving anything out?
Also, I'm unsure how to approach the non-payment issue. How long should I wait before bringing it up again, or should I? I've been on friendly terms with two of the mods, who've asked for my help in translating some of their press releases into English. I don't want to start a fight, but I could use some answers. Any thoughts appreciated.