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I have been working with the same client as a writer for the last 2 years. I had a byline etc, but I only got paid £50 per 600-700 word article in that time. It was for a national paper. About 3 weeks ago, when one of their in-house assistants started asking me to do more work in terms of strategy and development, I asked for a raise in my fee.

After 3 weeks of negotiation, they didn't budge. I also asked them to consider me as editor for the small column, since my articles were singlehandedly propping up the column and they were asking for strategy and development. They told me there was no money, and no promotion because they didn't know what was happening.

I put in a notice of 4 more articles and said I would stop contributing after that.

Then today, I found out they hired a new editor 2 weeks ago and are getting ready to hire more writers. So, clearly there is money! Though they keep telling me they love my work, and that they would like me to continue, my disappointment at the poor fee and no promotion is untenable.

How would you end this; what do you say? How much notice do you give?

How should I handle this?

  • Did they hire others AFTER you informed them of your 4 article intent? – UhlBelk Sep 18 '15 at 23:33
  • If the client hired someone else, it's either because you said you were leaving and they needed a replacement, or they don't feel you are worth as much as you are asking. Either way, they are unlikely to devote more funds to you. – user45623 Sep 21 '15 at 4:54
  • No, they haven't hire the writers yet. They said it was in the pipeline. They hired the editor during the time that I was asking about an increase in my fee though. I don't even know why they didn't tell me this position was being advertised or available. They brought someone in from the outside who has the same experience as I do, and is from a much smaller paper. They are entitled to hire whomever they like of course, but after 2 years of reliable service, and keeping that column alive - I was pretty gutted. But, that's corporates for you I guess. Never again. Learned my lesson. – Marie Sep 24 '15 at 8:41
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Raising this question probably means that you are in a position to leave.

Write down for yourself your minimum requirement in terms of cash and visibility (or any other element that you value, considering tradeoffs), regardless what they say/said.

Then you can attempt a final negotiation and if you can't reach that goal (stay firm), leave and don't look back. (Respecting PeterMV's advice: professionally.)


The information you collected about their hiring of resources is there to help you argue during the negotiation. It is not there to make you lessen your requirements.

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Well obviously the resentment in your grows and being unhappy and also humiliated, I would probably quit working for that client as well.

However, I am not sure if you have some other income besides this job to consider before quitting.

When you quit, respect the golden rule: "quit job professionally, not like a spoiled child". It means that you should inform them that you are quitting because of small fee and if their budget increases any time in the future, they can contact you again.

But even before quitting, maybe you can do what most of us do for small-fee clients. Do them after you do all other well-paid tasks. For example, if a client A pays me 30% less then others, I tell him that due to poor rate I cannot put his work in priority but I will work on his tasks when I am free of all other better paid jobs. So I work on other tasks for 2 weeks, and when I have 1 day without any work, I take their tasks in work.

A few clients rejected this offer and left me, but I still have a lot of them who like my work and are ready to wait instead to pay more.

One more thing occurred to me. If they accept this way of work, you can tell them that if they have an important and urgent article, you can prioritize it, but they have to pay you your increased rate. This way, they will pay you less 9 non-urgent articles, but will pay more for 1 urgent one.

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Thank you for all your answers, perspectives and advice. I really appreciate it.

My resentment was already growing, and I realise that I couldn't do any writing for them at the rate, plus all the politics. I let the main person know, and laid out the reasons for deciding to discontinue. I remained professional at all times though.

I do have other back up plans, income, and contacts so I'm not stuck with them by any means. It's just that it was a very high profile client, but oh well. Who knows. They might just return with better rates and conditions.

I did kind of leave a door open, but not very wide. In my own mind, I needed to move on.

  • Hi Marie, welcome to Freelancing.SE! I fail to see how this is an answer to your question, per se. It's great to let us know how it turned out, but what I see in this response has been said already by the other two answers posted here. – Canadian Luke REINSTATE MONICA Sep 24 '15 at 19:12

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