Deena from St Ives was torn between joy and distress recently after buying a magazine. She writes: Two weeks ago I went to Asda shopping and I bought a few magazines. I have been trying to write articles for various magazines. When I was going through [name of magazine withheld by me] in the Letter and Tips section, I found my name and the letter I had written. I was happy and gutted at the same time because they did not inform me or pay me anything and they say if they print letters they pay £20. It was just by chance that day I bought the magazine, so I wouldn’t have known otherwise. I’m worried now that they might publish one of my articles without paying me. Is there anything I can do?
Yes, there is something you can do. With regard to the letter that has been published, you should contact the magazine in question, quoting the issue date or number and the page where your letter appeared. I’m sure in this case it’s an oversight on their part and they will be only too happy to pay you the amount stated.
If you discover that a magazine has published an article without paying you then I suggest you make up an invoice and submit it with a covering letter requesting payment on receipt. You can either charge at the going rate offered by the magazine, or you can use the rates outlined by the National Union of Journalists (although it is highly unlikely that you would receive such a rate).