Low budgets bringing out bad behaviour

WE HEAR via an email network used by freelance editors and authors, including NUJ members, that "some funny stuff going on out there": - low budgets are bringing out some dodgy behaviour so we need to be on our toes.

One incident involves a packager (sub-contracted by a publisher to deliver a book to a certain format) who one member of the network helped to do a lot a bit chunk of "complicated" work on material last year, for which they were paid by the packager. The packager then invoiced the publisher for the complete material. Meanwhile, the publisher who commissioned the book "package" has had a change of personnel – the new incumbent has made it clear to the packager that a change of "direction" means they have no intention of paying for what their predecessor commissioned. They made it clear they wouldn’t be getting any more commissions if they made a fuss. (Packagers often have only a very few clients, and can't afford to upset them.) This is of course a breach of contract.

In the same sector, a writer had earlier turned down an offer of appallingly paid editing work. They were recently asked by the same publisher to "rescue" the appalling half-finished mess the writer they eventually commissioned had produced, adding the bits the writer had left out, re-organising the text and so on, but the money offered was still rubbish and they said no.

Last modified: 30 May 2015 - © 2015 contributors
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