A small insight into how this works. So, read the papers, see if there’s anything being talked about over which one can be a contrarian and thus offer a piece to this or that publisher. Something that, given that it’s me we’re talking about, can be turned into a few hundred words of sneer and bile that someone will pay me for.
Excellent, it’s 08.30 am, three ideas fired off to a publisher. Who says, well, like that idea, yes, that one, but can we confirm at 10.00 am?
Publishers, you see, having been to many a drinks party. You do not pursue, exclusively, the first fit looking bod you see and chat to. Try to place a marker upon, sure, maintain in a holding pattern, but always keeping an eye open for whatever better might turn up. So it is with freelance pieces – who knows who might offer something gorgeous in the next 90 minutes?
This is the way the newspapers work generally on their comment pages. Pitch by 10.30, they have their editorial meeting, come back by 12 or so (before that long lunch with booze that doesn’t really happen any more) to say yes (if it’s no you never hear back) and then please file by 3 or 4.
Which is why I do so little newspaper work. There’s a vast effort that goes into trying to make that pitch with a low expectation of being accepted. The actual return, if published, is good, several hundred quid, but the expected return is very much lower. Because the writing part, to be honest, is easy, it’s getting accepted that’s the tough part.
Yes, I knew you’d be fascinated. And it’s also why I display such bile to those who complain about the gig economy. Or that bint who works freelance and keeps moaning about zero hours contracts. What the fuck it it you’re working to as a contract, honey?