Freelance writing means doing interviews. It’s just fact. Whether you need to find credible sources or you’re writing about a place or person specifically, you’re going to need to master the interview. You might remember earlier on I wrote an article about interviewing and travel writing.
This article instead looks at what to do when your sources want to read your work before you send it to the editor. Or maybe want you to write about them.
You might find it more common that you think. A friend hears that you are starting out as a freelance writer and wants you to write an article on them. Tread carefully. You never know where something like this could lead. First of all, asking your friend for money or a firm contract might be awkward and they may not want to invest the time or money.
Now, if your friend wants to hire you, that’s a whole different thing. If they have a legitimate business opportunity, by all means, go for it. But just because your friend is really good at this, that, or the other does not mean that a compelling article it will make.
Let’s say you decide to interview a new business in town, or you reach out to a group for a profile on their innovating fitness program. They agree and what’s more, you have a home for the article.
What do you do when your sources want the final say before you send it to the editor?
It depends on the situation and your own personal preference. Having your interviewee look over your final draft could potentially lead to further insights, suggestions, and is a good way to fact check your work. Your source might correct a quote or spelling.
That said, it’s your work. Unless you were hired by someone to write about them, you’re the writer, your editor is the boss. Letting your sources go over your work doesn’t keep it between you and the editor and potentially muddles the whole process.
Here’s my suggestion, just say no, politely.
If a source demands to look everything over before it goes to print, and they aren’t the person who hired you, find out your comfort level with that. If it seems like a bad idea, just say no.
While I appreciate everything you did, letting me interview you and take pictures for the magazine article, I’d like to keep all edits between me and the editor so it is authentic to my own writing style. I assure you I have covered all the topics I approached you about earlier and when it goes to print, you won’t be surprised by the content.
Once the editor has had a chance to go over it and the final draft has been approved, I can let you look it over but I can’t guarantee that any changes can be made.
That way you aren’t outright telling them no. But instead making it known, politely, that it’s your work and ultimately you’re going to keep it that way.
If you don’t think there will be any problem, then, by all means, let your sources go over your article before you send it to the editor. This is just one personal preference, and to each writer, their own.