Clips prep and storage for freelancer
August 24, 2006 3:10 PM   Subscribe

Freelancers, how do you store the original copies of your clips?

Folders? Files? Complex archival systems with multicolored labels?

Related: Most of my writing has been for magazines. Is it pathetically newbie of me to save the masthead and table of contents as well? (I'm going to, don't get me wrong. I just wanted to know how embarassed to be about it.)
posted by desuetude to Work & Money (7 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
I don't list anything on my resume. I like to think of it as my "simple solution".

Seriously though, I don't think this is really "newbie" of you, more like "anal-retentive". I am sure (some) future employers will notice your attention to detail and feel warmed inside.
posted by shownomercy at 3:23 PM on August 24, 2006

I struggled with this same problem for a bit, dutifully keeping clips and/or copies and then after a while just gave up (and yes, masthead and cover too). These days, pretty much the only record I have of what's been published where is a document I keep that records invoicing and payment, along with dates and things like word counts (and also includes unpaid work). If something is for a fancy, good-looking publication, I tend to keep that with a post-it note (to remind me why I've kept it). You gradually become less precious...
posted by jonathanbell at 4:21 PM on August 24, 2006

In a folder in my file cabinet for ones from magazines, and on my computer for the ones that were on websites. That's all.

I don't think you should be embarassed about saving the masthead and TOC, since it gives you some context for your records. Don't let anybody know, though. It'll be our little secret.
posted by The corpse in the library at 4:22 PM on August 24, 2006

I save a copy of the entire publication the piece appeared in—multiple copies (5-6) if it's a free publication or one that offers copies gratis to contributors. I've been lugging around a lot of paper, but to me it's worth it to know that I have the clips if I ever need them. If the piece only appeared online, I usually print out at least one copy and store it in the long, flat box I store my other clips/publications in.

Is this overkill? Perhaps. But I nevertheless plan to continue this practice for the foreseeable future.
posted by limeonaire at 4:51 PM on August 24, 2006

I can't shed much light on the freelance situation, but I can tell you that if, sometime on down the line, you start looking for staff positions, especially at newspapers, having good copies of your clips is essential. In contrast to shownomercy and jonathanbell, I wouldn't call keeping good copies of your published work either anal-retentive or precious, it can be absolutely vital to landing a job or a gig. I've heard many editors complain at length about advertising for a job or a project, and getting poorly-photocopied third generation clips, or (horrors!) printouts of web copies of a print article. To the people reading huge stacks of clip packets, good, clear, well-laid-out copies of clips are often the difference between a closer read and a quick trip to the garbage can.

As for saving the mastheads (and this is from working in newspapers, rather than magazines, but the general advice is the same), I tend to save them along with the clip. That way, when an editor wants clips, you can lay out your clip, with the masthead across the top of the page, and it shows the publication, date, and layout all in one glance. No fussing with a separate sheet or scrawling the relevant details on the photocopy. Plus it's an easy way to remember those details without going back to your records.
posted by Eldritch at 6:19 PM on August 24, 2006 [1 favorite]

I'm a photographer, but it probably still applies. If you don't already to it, you should get a pdf of the entire article. Makes for infinite and good reprints of the clip as it appeared. I write a receipt of a pdf (or something easily-printably equivalent) into my contracts and know others who do, too. All my editors have been happy to oblige. Not sure what to do about web-only stuff, though.
posted by msbrauer at 7:27 PM on August 24, 2006

Hadn't though of keeping masthead and TOC for context -- I was focusing on "Wheee! My name is in print!!!"

I scan the pages for the purpose of distributing clips with future queries.

As for storage, we've got longflatbox and folders. Any other systems? Do you worry about the storage materials being acid-free archival quality?
posted by desuetude at 9:18 AM on August 25, 2006

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