Sometimes, things just don’t work out.
This is a story on the then-new Qatar Digital Library that I researched in 2014 and 2015, and wrote in 2016. Shortly after I’d filed, the editor who commissioned it apologised and said things had changed: he could no longer publish it.
What hardly ever happens, though, is what he did next. He paid me in full.
Usually, in these situations, you get a ‘kill fee’, a proportion of the agreed fee to ‘kill’ (or ‘spike’) the story – that is, abandon it. Sometimes, people try to get away with a 10% kill fee. I’ve had 50% kill fees.
In this case, I’m very lucky to have a long-standing relationship with a relatively well-resourced editor who is in control of his own budget.
I left the story with him for a while, hoping he might change his mind and run it anyway, but now he’s given me a definitive no.
So I’m publishing it here.
It’s old now and needs an edit, but I enjoyed writing it, and I’m happy I can give it an airing.