These Terms and Conditions apply to hiring me to work for you. Please note, the Shoot the Writer website also has its own conditions for users, set out under ‘legal’. (In short, please don’t nick stuff off the website!)
In this document:
“I”, “me” and “my” means Michelle Strozykowski, writer/proofreader
“You” and “your” means the client to whom I shall provide my writing/proofreading services, whose name is set out in full in any accompanying quotation and/or service agreement.
What You Need to Know:
I can be many things to many people – writer, editor, proofreader, blogger, super helpful business marketer – but I can’t be all things to all people. So to help out with what’s expected on both sides, I have set out the basic remits here in the Ts and Cs.
For the sake of clarity, and so we don’t fall over each other with mixed messages and good intentions, I will always provide you with a personal client agreement before getting started. This must be signed and dated prior to work commencing. It is our opportunity to hammer out the individual details of the project, and agree on time scales and prices.
It is your responsibility to provide me with information sufficient that I can give you what you want. It can be a written or a verbal brief, but I encourage you to be as detailed as possible. Please bear in mind that a verbal only, or very vague brief, may contain ambiguities. Now I don’t mind working from the ground up, it can be quite good fun to jump in with both feet, but I advise you to exercise caution. It is up to you to accept responsibility for any such ambiguities that might arise from sketchy directives, and also any additional costs incurred in copy re-writes.
If you change the nature of the brief after work has commenced you must inform me as soon as possible and be prepared to adjust the budget to accommodate an increase in time spent on the job.
I will provide written content and/or edited and proofread documents to you in a professional and timely manner, as we will have agreed previously. They will be delivered as Microsoft word documents, and in the case of proofreading will have the track changes feature enabled so you can accept or reject any changes made.
Every effort will be made to ensure copy is mistake free, however the final responsibility for checking spelling and literals (misprints) is yours, and you indemnify me against any costs incurred as a result of the appearance of such errors in the final published form, whether or not the errors appeared in any draft copy supplied by me.
All costs will be agreed in advance, via my quotation. Acceptance of my fees will be shown through your confirmation email and/or the service agreement we both sign. Most fees are agreed on a by-the-project basis, but depending on the nature of the job it may be possible to quote on a daily or hourly rate. We can agree this between us. Other costs, such as time spent on research, telephone calls and fact checking, will be included in the prices quoted.
My payment terms are as follows:
- Costs are split over two payments
- An initial down payment (retainer) will secure my services.
- A final payment of the remaining balance is due once the work is completed.
Settlement of the final invoice is expected within 30 days. However, if you are a business customer working to a Net-60 turnaround that’s okay. All we need to do is agree the schedule in advance so everyone knows where they stand. Delayed payment options are also available dependent on the size of the bill. (The larger the bill, the more flexible the payment schedule is likely to be.)
I’m not registered for VAT.
I accept payments by electronic funds direct to my bank account or by paypal. Details will be supplied to you on the service agreement and invoices.
Cancellations and Kill Fees
If you change your mind you can cancel the project by providing me with written notice (email).
If you cancel before I’ve started work on your project you will forfeit 50% of the initial deposit. (After all, I may have had to turn other work away in order to schedule yours.)
If you wish to cancel our agreement at any other time, I will retain 100% of your down payment, and you may be required to make an additional payment to cover any other work I’ve done.
Effectively this is what’s known as a kill fee, and it means I have completed work, as asked, but for whatever reason you no longer want to publish the finished article. Additional fees may be required in these circumstances, and will be based on the percentage of the project I’ve completed. Any material that has already been submitted to you, for example in previous drafts, will no longer be usable by you for any purposes whatsoever. I will retain the copyright on the draft material and can use it however I see fit. (It’s genuinely hard to think of circumstances where this might happen, but just in case it ever did, those are the accepted rules governing kill fees.)
Make sure you contact me in the first instance if you want to cancel, so fees can be minimised. And please do have a chat with me first. It could be that we just need to switch focus, or amend the timescale to make it workable for you again.
Drafts and Revisions
If you are hiring me to write content for you then this is the way it works:
- I will write the entire piece and send it to you as a full first draft.
- I want all my customers to be happy with the content they receive, so my fees include all reasonable edits and amendments. (2 rounds of changes and final tweaks is usually enough*.)
- I will also happily review website content once it’s loaded on your site, as sometimes a few final tweaks make all the difference at that stage.
* In the unlikely event that we find ourselves at an impasse, or if focus has shifted significantly, I reserve the right to charge for the extra editing time, or re-quote for the project.
A quick note on copyright:
I own the copyright and intellectual property rights to all of the content I’ve written right up until final payment and all associated costs have been paid in full. At that point you will automatically be granted a perpetual licence to use the copy produced for the purpose it was written. (You don’t have the right to use the copy for any unauthorised purposes, or sub-licence it to a third party.)
If you supply me with copy written by someone else, for instance as a guide to what you are looking for, I shall make all reasonable efforts to ensure that I do not breach the original author’s copyright. However, you agree to indemnify me against any action (costs, liabilities, damages, expenses) that arises from use of this copy as reference material.
If you are supplying me with work you have written yourself, for example a screenplay you want me to proofread, the copyright is and shall always be yours. (Well, right up until you sign it away to that mammoth Hollywood studio for a gazillion bucks anyway!) Any additional content created by me as part of the proofreading/editing process will switch to you once payment is received.
A Note on Business Clients
If you are instructing me to work for your company, your written instructions to me warrant that you have the capacity to create such a contract.
The work may be for a client of yours, or for your employees, but the contract you enter into is between us. Regardless of where the work finishes up, the contract is between me and you, not your individual agents or employees.
To enable me to perform my obligations you shall also co-operate with me and provide me with any information reasonably required. This includes any necessary permissions and consents required before the commencement of work.
I reserve the right to display and link to your completed project as part of my portfolio.
This should benefit both parties (me and you), but if, for any reason, you do not want me to link to your work just let me know. If the project is of a sensitive or confidential nature then, of course, I won’t link anyway. Speaking of which:
Anything you tell me about your business or work that is commercially sensitive will be kept confidential.
In addition, I value your privacy and promise to keep your personal information private. I will not share your name, address, phone number or email with other persons or companies.
A Note About Style
When writing/editing work my first choice is always to use British English (colour), but I will default to American English (color) if the piece demands it, or if it is requested.
Different publications have their own style guides, which I’m happy to adhere to if directed to do so. Otherwise, I go by the guiding principles of New Hart’s Rules: The Handbook of Style for Writers and Editors. I also regularly consult the Guardian’s style sheets if working in British English, and the Chicago Manual of Style if working in American English.
I take all reasonable steps to perform my obligations under these terms and conditions. My liability to you for breach of such is excluded to the fullest extent permitted by law, and you will indemnify me against any costs, liabilities, damages, expenses or losses incurred as a result of civil claims or proceedings brought against me based on any work prepared for you and approved by you.
This agreement is subject to the Laws of the UK, and the parties agree to submit to the jurisdiction of the courts in respect of any dispute or difference arising under the agreement.