If you don’t ask, you don’t get

As a new member of London Freelance Branch I attended the seminar by Humphrey Evans and Phil Sutcliffe on negotiating better deals with editors.

I have been writing features for a US-based magazine for over two years and felt it was about time I had a pay rise. Unfortunately, the English psyche is such that for some, and I'm one, talking about money, or even worse, requesting a pay rise, does not come easy.

Recalling the contents of the seminar I approached my editor reminding her of the quality and reliability of my writing and research. My next feature has earned me substantially more than previous work.

I got out there and did it

I can really recommend the new "Pitch and Deal" course. I probably wouldn't have bothered if I hadn't won a free place in the Oncourse caption competition: I had to get up at a quarter to six in the morning to get to London from darkest Somerset. But having spent a thoroughly productive St Patrick's day learning from Phil and Humphrey, I can honestly say it was well worth every penny it didn't cost me.

It was high-powered and full of hints, tips and very constructive role-play exercises. Best of all was the underlying attitude which we couldn't help absorbing: normal people pitch and deal; editors expect you to pitch and deal: you're supposed to pitch and deal, so get out there and do it.

I did. I spent the next day pitching everything I'd got at every outlet I could think of, then sat down and wrote some more and pitched that. And when all those editors get back to me trying to get away with offering some measly sum for all rights, I'll be a much tougher nut to crack.

  • The next course is on 13 July, and there's a Getting Started as a Freelance course on 14 May. See www.nujtraining .org.uk for details and to book.
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