What Is a Kill Fee

Glossary > Kill Fee

💬 Definition of Kill Fee:

A kill fee is a predetermined payment made to a writer when the publisher or editor cancels an assigned article or piece of work before publication. This practice is common in the freelance writing and publishing industries and serves as compensation for the writer's time and effort.

Related questions about kill fees:

Why are kill fees important?

  1. They protect the writer's interests. Kill fees serve as a safety net for writers, acknowledging their time, research, and creativity invested in the piece. When an article is canceled, the writer is left without an opportunity to publish the work and earn income from it. A kill fee compensates for that loss and ensures that the writer is fairly reimbursed for their efforts, even if the piece remains unpublished.
  2. They support clear agreements. It is essential for both parties – the writer and the publisher or editor – to have a clear agreement in place regarding kill fees before beginning to work on a project. This can be negotiated as part of the writer's contract or agreement and should specify the amount or percentage of the original payment to be received as a kill fee. Having a transparent understanding of the terms surrounding kill fees can help prevent misunderstandings or disputes later on.

What are the factors influencing kill fees?

The amount of a kill fee can vary based on several factors, such as the writer's experience, the project's complexity, and the publication's budget. Generally, kill fees range from 25% to 100% of the initial agreed-upon payment for the piece. 

Kill fees can also depend on the stage at which the article is canceled – higher kill fees may be paid for pieces that are closer to completion, while lower fees might apply for work in the early stages of development. 

By establishing clear agreements and understanding the factors that influence kill fees, both writers and publishers can maintain a professional and respectful working relationship.

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