CONTRACT. Sign one once you have agreed on a price. The bigger publications will provide one that is pretty complete, but make sure that there is a KILL FEE (usually two-thirds of the price agreed upon). If you aren’t presented with a contract, send them one yourself with these things. Important: Always have a contract, whether you are new to the company that you will be writing for, and especially, for friends. You can leave a lot of money on the table if for some reason you can’t finish the assignment and then realize that you didn’t have a contract with a kill fee.
FORMS. You’ll need to fill out a W9 form with your Social Security number. This is so they send you a W2.
PRICING. Start high and end in the middle — $2 per word; $1 per word; 50 cents per word.
INVOICE. The bigger companies will have you fill out forms and will give you a vendor number. If not, use your Social Security number as your vendor number. Send an invoice immediately after your story has been published. It can take months to receive payment, and it isn’t unusual to hear “the check is in the mail.”