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Permission to Publish Releases

Research sources abound for writers.
  • Historical societies have oral tape recordings, diaries, documents, photograph collections, journals, business records, books, artifacts, etc.
  • Many State historical societies have newspapers on microfilm that you can borrow through inter-library loan to read. (Be sure the library you have them sent to has a microfilm reader that you can use.)
  • Universities have thesis papers on file that can provide excellent material.
  • The Clerk and Recorders office in county courthouses hold many records
    • school district records
    • county commissioner journals
    • births, deaths, and others
  • Your congressman or representative can be invaluable resources. If you state your needs clearly when writing for help their staff can often provide information about things you've never heard of that pertain to your project.
    • They can get documents from the Library of Congress for you.
  • Newspapers will sometimes let you research their morgue (files of old newspapers)
  • State Bureaus, government offices and businesses can provide statistics and out-of-print material.
  • The old minutes books in community organizations hold fascinating material.
  • Old-timers are treasure chests of information.
    • For example -- Over a period of several years I sent a series of thirty-minute blank tape cassettes to a gentleman who once lived in the area that I was researching. With each tape I included a card asking him to tell me about something I wanted to know more about. Within a week or two he’d return a cassette tape, recorded with everything he could recollect about the topic. Through this method I collected information I would never have been able to find any other way.
Bear in mind that many publishers require documentation of published resources, and most certainly will requre permission release forms for using material from oral tape recordings.

Securing documentation and release forms
Use laws or copyright laws apply to just about everything. Photographs, videofilmed images, digital images, music, written words, spoken words, electronic words, etc. Never overlook getting signed releases as soon as possible, and always have a release before you use the material.
  • Don't try to ignore copyrights, Get releases to use any copyrighted material.
  • Get written releases for:
    • all images
    • from people you film
    • to film on public lands
    • to film on private property.
Get written releases to use oral tape recordings, whether from interviews, electronic downloads, or from professional voices you hire for the video.

Oral Tape Release Form should include:

  • Dates of oral tape recordings and number and length of tapes:__________________________
  • Any Restrictions:________________
  • Date of agreement, interviewers name and address.
Photographic Image Release Form should include:
  • Received From: Signature(s) of Owner(s):
    • (address)______ ____________________
    • Date of Release: ________________________
You also should sign and date your signature on the form.

It can be worded: Assign numbers for each negative. (for example: - fill in the blanks)
“I hereby give and grant to _____________________, as a donation, without restrictions, for such scholarly, educational and other purposes as he/she shall determine, the tape recordings and their contents listed below.
Negatives on file: #_______________ #_____________

#_____________ #________________ #____________

The owner(s) of the photographs, or the person(s) you tape record may not wish to give you such an all-inclusive permission.

Donors of photographs or oral tape recordings may stipulate certain conditions.
  • Example: Special Conditions: (Sign only if applicable to your pictures.) Pictures may, on occasion, be used in mussums or other educational programs, but the negavites (you)__________ make cannot be donated to a historical depository.
Substitute, or add words until both of you are satisfied. No matter what the condition is, be sure the both you and the donor date and sign for the special conditions, also.
“I hereby give permission to [you]__________________________ to use the photographic negatives from my photographs that he/she has made. I understand these photographic copy negatives he/she has made becomes his/hers and use will be at his/her discretion. I understand that I waive all title and rights so far as I possess them to these negatives he/she has and to any future photographs he/she produces or has made from them.”
Narrator: ______________________
“I hereby give and grant to _____________________, as a donation, without restrictions, for such scholarly, educational and other purposes as he/she shall determine, the tape recordings and their contents listed below


7-1, Freelance and Security

© 2010, Mona Leeson Vanek

Shortly after I switched from being a newspaper stringer and began selling to magazines the topic of freelance writing and security came under discussing in Market Chat, an online group of professional writers.

The sage advice given then by Phyllis Cambria is still the way things are in the writing business. Phyllis was then in about the same stage of her writing career as I back then. Check out Phyllis' websites to discover how she succeeded.

Let's Sit Down and Talk
(c) 2001 -- Phyllis Cambria

First thing I'd say is NOT to give up your retirement savings. If you have to start digging into your savings for any degree of safety, then freelancing full-time is probably not your best choice. Remember, most of us are only a few paychecks away from living on the streets.

Keep in mind that old saying: Most people don't plan to fail they simply fail to plan.

Remember too that even if you write and sell an article today, there's a strong possibility you might not see that money for four to six months down the road, after it's published. Many markets pay on publication, not acceptance. Even then, a lot of them don't pay until 30 days later.

Think about benefits too, what we used to call in the insurance industry, the hidden paycheck. If you currently have health, disability, retirement, etc. benefits, that could easily be adding $3,000-$6,000 a year in benefits to your paycheck that you don't see as cash, but would cost you a lot of money if you had to pay for them yourself.

I've been freelancing for a little over a year, I have regular monthly assignments, I have a book coming out this month that I was given an advance on, I also work doing consulting, etc. In many ways, I am a success ... except financially. If I didn't have my husband's paycheck to help back us, I'd be living in a shelter!

Yes, there are people who make a decent living freelancing, but most of them were smart enough to have enough jobs that they HAD to quit work just to keep up with them. The smarter ones, even with the regular accounts, also prospect for new assignments every day.

I know someone who had regular assignments with three big companies that paid him VERY well. He stopped taking other assignments because he was working regularly and didn't think he needed the extra work. Unfortunately, all three clients cancelled their contracts within two days citing business reversals.

He spent three months trying to get new clients and eventually almost lost his house. He wound up going back to work at a day job -- not a writing one -- that he hates, but needed.

This is just my own personal advice. :) But, think long and hard about this one, friend.

Phyllis Cambria

Co-author with Patty Sachs of The Complete Idiot's Guide to Throwing a Great Party,
Miami Wedding Party Examiner,, and Wedding Décor Ideas & Videos,

Chapter 14 - Tending to Business:

Next, 7-2 Infringement and Plagiarizing:


10-8 So You Want To Be a Literary Writer

So You Want To Be a Literary Writer?
© Peggy Duffy

Do not ever send a submission to a lit mag without first checking the guidelines. Not only do editors change yearly for some (college-affiliated, student-edited), but most have specific reading periods and will return submissions unread at other times.

A few pay well -- by that I mean $1000 or $500 or even $250 for a story. Many pay a few cents a word, or a token $10 or $15. All should send contributors' copies of the issue you're in, and this can range from 1 copy. Generally it's 2 or 3, but occasionally more. Most will publish a bio.

Go through the guidelines. More accept nonfiction than you think, but some only about books or authors. Publications which immediately come to mind which take essays are The Sun, (longer, more developed essays; a well-paying, highly respected market), Creative Nonfiction,, and Fourth Genre,

But I cannot overstress the idea that you do need to read the guidelines. The majority of these publications are very specific about length, as well as submission period. Some put out theme issues regularly, some on an occasional basis. Some specify only subjects they'll take; others specify subjects that are taboo.

Be forewarned, response time to these literary journals is extremely slow -- I'm talking months and months and months and even a year in some cases. For that reason, most do accept simultaneous submissions.

Read what you submit to. Most these pubs are accessible online and the majority post a story, essay, poem, or a few of each, to give you an idea of their preferred style. About twice a year or so, I make my way over to Borders, order a large latte, and park myself in a chair beside the lit magazine rack and make my way through, taking notes as I go.

Subscribe to any email newsletters: WritersWeekly,, send a blank e-mail to: FundsforWriters,, and Page One, come to mind, which both list contest information and markets. You can subscribe to The Chronicle put out by AWP,, which has a good list of calls for submissions at the end without becoming a full AWP member.  I wouldn't subscribe only for that, though.

I have had some success with Calls for Submissions in Poets and Writers,, as well.

Literary Journals also advertise in other literary journals, not necessarily calls for submissions, but their next issues. Look them up online.

Marketing for literary journals can be a time-consuming affair.

Chapter 21 - Polish, Sell, and Enjoy Rewards!:


6-6 e-Zines By The Dozen

(shared by Roger Popen)

3:AM Magazine,

42 Opus,

Angigonish Review,

Amarillo Bay,

An+I+Hesis Common,

Angler Press,

Appolo's Lyre,

Banyan Review,

Big Ugly,



Boston Literary Magazine,

Carve Magazine,

Cezzane's Carrot,

Cimmaron Review,

Cynic Magazine,

Eclectica Magazine,


Everyday Fiction,

Exsquisite Corpse,,

Frigg, A Magazine of Fiction and Poetry,

Journal of Microliterature,

Ken Again,

Laughter Loaf,

Limestone Magazine,

Long Story Short,

Memory Archive,


Noo Journal,

Pittsburgh Flash Fiction Gazette,

Poor Mojo's Almanac(k),

Raving Dove,

Rumble Magazine,

Skyline Magazine,

Slow Trains,

SmokeLong Weekly,

Southern Cross Review,

Stickman Review,

Story Glossia, (rights:


The Adirondack Review,

The Aroostook Review,

The Barcelona Review,

The Binnacle,

The Better Drink,

The Café Irreal,

The Cynic Online Magazine,

The Dead Mule,

The Hamilton Stone Review,

The Lives You Touch (Chap book),,

The River Journal,



Underground Voices,


Weird Year,

Wild Violet,

Word Riot,

Chapter 13 - Genre Writing and Writing for Children:

Next, Chapter 14 - Tending to Business:

7-1 Freelance and Security

Let's Sit Down and Talk (c) 2010, Mona Leeson Vanek

First off, do NOT give up your retirement savings, or dip into them!

Dipping into your savings for safety is akin to an electrician unbuckling his safety belt when he's suspended to replace an electrical transformer. Don't do it!

If you aren't already bringing in sufficient steady cash from freelancing that you're tempted to dig into your savings, then freelancing full-time is probably not your best choice.

Remember that the majority of freelance writers are only a few paychecks away from living on the streets.

As one professional writer says, "Keep in mind that old saying: Most people don't plan to fail they simply fail to plan."

Even if you write and sell an article or story today the odds are you won't see that money for four to six months; not until after it's published. Many magazines and e-zines pay on publication, rather than on acceptance. And even then, many of them don't pay until 30 days later.

When you're laying out your freelance writer business plan, be sure to factor in benefits such as medical, dental, eyeglasses and disability insurance, and, monthly deposits to a retirement fund; those perks that are commonly called the hidden paycheck.

They could easily be adding $6,000-$10,000 or even $15,000 a year in benefits to your current day-job paycheck, that you don't see as cash, but will cost you a lot of money when you're paying for them yourself.

Writers who've been freelancing for a year or more and have contracts for regular monthly assignments, and possibly have a book or two coming out soon for which they've been given an advance, and maybe even have income from critiquing or tutoring on the side, can in many ways claim to be successful freelancers ~~ except financially.

If they didn't have a spouse's income to back them up, they might be forced to live in a shelter.

Most professional freelance writers know writers who DO make a decent living freelancing; but most financially solvent freelance writers were smart enough to have enough writing jobs that made it mandatory to quit work just to keep up with them.

The smartest ones, even with regular accounts, schedule time to continuously prospect for new assignments.

More than one freelance writer has succumbed to the temptation to stop taking additional assignments, because he or she was writing regularly and didn't think the extra work was necessary.

The reality is, even VERY well paying clients can suddenly cancel their contracts, citing business reversals, leaving the freelance writer out on a limb.

When that happens, most freelancers spend three to six months trying to get new clients. Some do lose their house, and many more wind up returning to work at a day job ~~ not a writing gig ~~ and hating that reality.

Think long and hard, plan carefully and have a contingency plan in place, before striking out on your own.

Don't burn your bridges behind you just because you WANT to be a full-time freelance writer.

Next: 7-2, Infringement and Plagiarizing:

Chapter 14 - Tending to Business:


4-2 Grammar Tutor Online

This excellent material comes from Web School, Pick Your Lessons Online,

Daily Language, provides detailed answers to fifty grammar questions:

Sentences and Their Parts,

Simple Subjects,

Simple Predicates,

Four Kinds of Sentences,

Sentences, Fragments, and Run-ons,


Each of the following are included:
Using Compounds
Synonym Scramble
Antonym Scramble
Present, Past, and Future Tenses
Using the Present Tense
Present Perfect Tense
Fact and Fiction
Factual and Persuasive Paragraphs
More Prefixes
Parts of a Book
Using the Dictionary
Using a Thesaurus
Using the Library
Spelling Verbs
Irregular Verbs
The Verb Be
Words That Describe
Adjectives That Compare
Precise Adjectives
Action Verbs
Linking Verbs
Avoiding Double Negatives
Singular and Plural Nouns
Noun - Verb Agreement #1
Noun - Verb Agreement #2
Noun - Verb Agreement #3
Pronoun-Verb Agreement
More Pronoun-Verb Agreement
Predicate Nouns and Predicate Adjectives
Possessive Nouns
Using More and Most
Using Accept and Except
Using Affect and Effect
Using Sit, Set, Sat
Using Their, There, and They're.

Now you have no excuse for messing up by using improper grammar when good grammar is demanded. ;0)

Next: 4-3, Improving the Query Letter:

Chapter 9 - Querying and Related Issues:


7-5 Publications That Renig on Payment

(c) 2009 by Mona Leeson Vanek

This is probably most relevant for those who write for magazines and such. Writers Weekly has a forum that tracks non-payers. Angela Hoy, owner\publisher of Writers Weekly keeps the site up-to-date.

Chapter 14 - Tending to Business:

Next: Chapter 15 - The Many Facets of Freelancing:

10-3 Publishing and Book Manuscript Format

(c) 2010, Mona Leeson Vanek

If you aren't sure how to format your manuscript William Shunn's site shows and explains how:

Cover page format of the manuscript of your novel
  • first and last name
  • address
  • phone home
  • phone work
  • email
  • [skip space]
  • 100,000 words (round down to next whole number)

UPPER RIGHT OF COVER PAGE (including the agent/agency, is a good reference.)
  • name of agent/agency
  • address
  • phone work
  • email
  • [skip space]
  • A [genre] novel (for example, A mystery novel)
  • [skip space]
  • by YOUR NAME
OR, if you have a pen name - by YOUR pen name. If you're already published in one genre and are now slipping over into another genre, it reinforces that point, which you should have already made in your query.

Extensive guidelines for preparing a wide variety of manuscripts can be found at The Online Writing Lab (OWL) at Purdue University, Use the links to  find some of the best writing instructions you'll find on the web!

Good guides for formatting e-mail submissions can be found at flashquake,

Chapter 21 - Polish, Sell, and Enjoy Rewards!:

Next: 10-4, More Useful Links to Markets:


8-1 Negotiate Your Contract

Writers! Dig in Your Heels! Negotiate!
(c)2010, Mona Leeson Vanek

BOOM! Hey, got your attention, did I? Look at the small print in that contract! Now, before you sign it!

Do you see those little words, 'electronic rights in all medium known and unknown'? Or perhaps there are other far-reaching clauses? Do you have any idea what rights you're signing away?

The time to negotiate rights is before signing the contract.

Today most major magazines enter into contractual agreements with authors taking all the rights the writer will let them have, with clauses covering audiotape, microfilm, microfiche, CD-ROM, and broad electronic rights like database.

Many magazines have electronic versions and print versions. Some offers say, "Buys one-time
serial rights, including the right to reprint in the magazine for 50% of the original price."
Today's contracts at major as well as small-circulation magazines include the words 'and for electronic rights in all media known and unknown.'

Freelance writers may still strike everything beyond use in a single print edition by insisting on 'First North American Serial Print Rights Only -- all electronic rights excluded,' or ask for more money.
A writer has to negotiate these rights.

Rule 1: a contract is ALWAYS negotiable and the publishers almost always start with the most in-their-favor contract they think they can get away with. Many of them actually have two "standard" contracts, one they send to new unagented authors and another, more reasonable one they send to agents or to authors who obviously know the ropes.

Rule 2: the more rights you license, the more a publisher pays.

When you receive a contract you're not prepared to accept, write back and thank them for sending the contract and that you'll have your attorney look it over and get back to them ASAP.

Now they're on notice that you're not accepting ridiculous terms. Since it's always legal to act as your own attorney, and you ARE going to be looking the contract offer over very carefully, you're not lying.

Publishers generally are more receptive to a request to change their contract than they are to accepting another different contract. They feel that they're winning some and losing some, rather than losing their entire contract and having yours replace it.

Make the changes to their contract by highlighting the unacceptable sections and inserting notes. Or, or send a separate letter that references each section by number, with your suggested changes keyed to them.

If an offer lower than you like is made to you by an editor on the telephone don't be bashful about replying, "Well, I had in mind xxxx amount," upping the ante to reflect what you think your work is worth.

Even with successful negotiating, freelancers are too often finding themselves inadequately protected. For instance, when a writer negotiates electronic rights it's important to try to set time limits and to only sell one-time rights with archive-able reading option. ASJA advises writers to spell this out very clearly.

If you see one vicious clause, that boils down to 'rights of the purchaser to secure copyright as proprietor', or in other words, gives the publisher the copyright, always excise it. Also, the state where disputed issues will be heard is another important item.

Know what rights you are selling to the first publisher
  • Become familiar with rights, their terms and what they mean.
  • Ask the American Society of Journalists and Authors (ASJA) if you don't know, or do a search on the web and do your homework before you sign over to the publisher any rights you want to retain.
Don't presume that marking your manuscript with only specific rights, such as 'first periodical' or 'first North American Serial' reserves any rights to yourself. Make sure the information is in your contract.

Don't be afraid to negotiate every contract with vigor. Remember that asking about rights and kill fees marks you as a professional. Ask the editor to send you a contract reflecting the price, rights and conditions you discuss. Show that you value your work.

When the editor of a magazine says, "We can't change the contract," what is meant is "We won't change it for you."

After your article has been accepted and is scheduled for publication, make sure you have a copy of the final agreement executed in writing before the publication date.
  • If the publishing company delays until your accepted article is already in the pipeline, your position becomes stronger as the publishing date nears. Replacing it will be more difficult, and you have the editor's written or verbal agreement to purchase.
Be sure to contact the accepting editor periodically, jogging them that the contract hasn't been executed. Until it is, the manuscript remains yours to sell. On occasion, instead of signing a contract I objected to, I have provided my own contract which the publisher then executed before going to press.

There are, however, still many publications that don't use contracts.
  • According to US law, if there has been no discussion of rights, one-time rights or first rights are assumed. This is currently true for paper-print publications, but electronic rights are still, legally, far from being clear and are being influenced by many factors.
The Credit Union magazine guidelines provide insights:

Contract help is available from the following

Chapter 15 - The Many Facets of Freelancing:

Next: 8-2, Collecting What's Due You: