Thursday, October 15, 2009

Perils of the freelance life

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Stitch was the good news. But there’s bad news, too. I used to be a regular contributor of articles to Quilter’s Home magazine, and several of those articles were stolen.

Many of the articles you read in the magazine over the past year, by me and other writers, were never paid for. Since the magazine’s former parent company, CK Media, was bought out by New Track Media’s Creative Crafts Group, many unpaid invoices have ended up in the hinterland. CCG insists the debts are CK’s problem, while CK really doesn’t exist anymore and what’s left of it is unresponsive—so the magazines can carry on publishing, with debts to contributors vanishing into thin air.

On top of it all, one of my articles is up on the QH website, though I never licensed it for electronic publication, and so far requests to have it removed have got me nowhere.

Freelancers have a hard enough time scraping together a living when our invoices are paid. When they’re not, we have to waste more (unbillable) time chasing them, explaining the situation repeatedly to editors who neither created the problem nor have much power to fix it. Freelance budgets are often the first cut in bad economic times, so I was really counting on the money I had already earned coming through.

Mark Lipinski himself has left the company, so will Quilter’s Home continue at all? Given the uncertain future of the magazine, I strongly recommend you not renew QH if your subscription is ending—you could be paying for something that won’t exist.

Furthermore, I won’t be buying or subscribing to any titles published by Creative Crafts Group. Perhaps you’ll consider doing the same in support of the contributors—writers, designers, photographers—who provided content to the magazines, who made them something you’d want to buy, but who have not been compensated for their work. This means no more Quilter’s Newsletter for me, nor McCall’s Quilting and Quick Quilts, Quiltmaker, Fons and Porter, Sew Simple, Sew News, and on and on… This cuts off a huge segment of the craft magazine market, giving me fewer places to sell articles and designs, but I can’t afford to work for nothing. If you’re a designer or writer, be very cautious submitting to these magazines.

Not all magazines are like this. The Better Homes and Gardens quilting magazines, American Patchwork & Quilting and Quilts & More, have always paid me promptly, as has Interweave’s Stitch. They’re better magazines too—better written, better edited, better designed, printed on better paper, and clearly more professional. So support the good guys.

8 comments:

della stella said...

I'm sorry to hear about this... that's a serious error on the part of Creative Crafts Group! :-/ I hope the time you have spent helps to resolve the situation quickly.

Feed Dog said...

Thanks for the support, della stella! I hope so too, but it's not looking likely.

IamSusie said...

I am bummed for you.. It is true that those other magazines have slipped in recent years. The other magazines you listed really are better. They have more current styles in their patterns.

Ann said...

Big business seems to have earned their terrible reputation.

I have also had problems with Creative Crafts Group - I have been fighting to be removed from an email list that I didn't sign up for and that will not let me unsubscribe. The "customer service" has been terrible, so I will continue to report their emails as SPAM to my provider, hoping to somehow get them blocked.

Karissa said...

Ugh--sorry to hear about all this! I am letting my subscriptions to the CCG mags I get lapse, but I had sent in my Quilter's Home renewal about a week before Mark Lipinski announced he was leaving. So guess I'll be sticking around to see what (if anything) happens to the magazine...

Michael5000 said...

Ew. Bummer.

erin said...

This sucks! Thanks for writing about this. I have written for Sew News before and they DID pay me, ditto with Stitch, but I have never dealt with Quilter's Home. And I was all looking forward to querying them with an idea in the near future...guess I'm going to rethink that one!

<3 erin

Elisa said...

Hi Kevin,
Sorry to hear of your troubles with CK.

I'd like to add to your list of "good" magazines to submit designs to--Quilter's World. I am the new editor. We are a great magazine (often over looked because we don't always pay alot of money to get shelf space, relying on paid subscriptions). I ask that you and your readers give us a try.