I’ll always remember the first time I experienced the current, nightmarish state of invoicing in the publishing industry. I was an intern at an alt-weekly and pitched the music editor a blog post idea over lunch. He liked it. And because it was technically a different section than the one I was interning for, he offered to pay me a freelance rate.
I was thrilled.
Still in college and eager to rack up bylines in the music writing world, any freelance gig in a publication other than my college paper was big news. The editor offered me $12 for my blog post. This is obviously nothing to call home about (other than maybe to ask my parents for grocery money) but I was excited for the opportunity. I dropped my plans for the night and banged out a draft. I remember the editor cutting out a few jokes he felt were inappropriate -- a standard in my early writing career -- but ultimately posting it to the blog the next day. I couldn’t be more proud.
I waited until the end of the month and dutifully filed my invoice. A week passed. Then a second. Then a third. I reached out to my editor. He was overworked and had lost it in the shuffle. He apologized, and told me to he’d make sure to file it properly next month. “It’ll go through in the next round,” he said. Invoices were processed once a month and always sent out via check.