Freelance Writer Job Contract: Dos and Don'ts

When you start a freelance writer job you must make sure that your rights are protected and one of the best ways to do this is with a freelance writer contract.  When you have a contract between yourself and the client both parties sign an agreement.  Follow these dos and don'ts to ensure that both parties understand what is agreed upon for freelance writer jobs.

Learn the Law

Most states, regions or districts have guidelines or laws that dictate what is and is not allowed in service contracts.  As a freelance writer you should be aware of the specifications in your area regarding work for hire.

Don't Limit Information

A freelance writing contract should be complete and include all vital information.  The exact details of the work to be done should be included, as well as what is not included. You should also make sure that pay, due dates, and the allowed number of revisions are stated clearly. 

Name Parties Involved

Both your name and the name of the client should be in the contract. Include addresses and phone and fax numbers if they are applicable. Also be sure to state positions and company names.

Don't Rush the Process

The contract may be the most important part of negotiations so do not rush it. Make sure all of your details are covered and make sure that both parties are in agreement. The contract is legally binding for both parties and rushing through the freelance writing contract could cause problems in the future. Take the time to make sure it is accurate and that everyone is protected.

State the Rights that are Offered

When you offer your writing services to another party, you offer certain rights and this should be included in your contract.  There are first rights, which tell the client that the writing you provide has never been published anywhere else. That includes online and print. 

Electronic rights means that your work can only be published online. The one to especially be aware of is all rights. If you give the client all rights they can do anything they want with your work, including putting their name on it. Make sure that you understand the rights that you are selling the client and be sure it is included in the contract.

Don't Sign a Contract Unless you Read It

Before signing any contract, you should read it thoroughly. A contract can have serious consequences if you do not understand the details. There are likely to be terms that you may not understand, look them up before you sign. Make sure that you understand all the material in the contract.  Keep in mind that digital contracts can also be legally binding.

Consult a Lawyer if Necessary

If you have any doubts about signing a contract, do not sign it. If the contract you are being asked to sign is very complicated you should consult a lawyer. Many lawyers have low initial consultation fees. Also, if you are a member of a professional writing organization you may also be able to access lawyers who offer reduced fee consultations for members of the organization.