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10-1 Sold Again

(c) 2010, Mona Leeson Vanek

Yahoo! An editor has offered to purchase your article. Today, most major magazines enter into contractual agreements with authors and take all the rights the writer will let them get by with. Before you sign the contract is the time to negotiate rights.

Don't be afraid to negotiate every contract. with vigor. _Know_ what rights you are selling to the first publisher.*(see sidebar on rights negotiating.) Make sure you have the final agreement in writing before the article is published.

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.

Don't chance giving electronic rights to the publisher free by not discussing them just as soon as the editor offers to publish your article. Also, limiting the duration of electronic rights influences reprint marketability.

Whoopee! Your article has been published! You've banked the money and basked in the glow of success. Now what?

To be on safe ground, as soon as your article is published write (or e-mail) the publisher asking him to reassign remaining rights to you. Then you're ready to market again, or sell reprints. Many magazines are happy to publish a reprint if it has had a limited distribution or has been published in a totally different market area (ie. sports magazine versus a nature magazine.)

Go back to your original marketing plan, the one you researched and planned before you sold the article. It's time to start marketing reprints to the remaining markets on your spreadsheet. Searching out markets that take reprints is an especially good way to turn small-potatoes" writing into steady income. It's not unusual for reprints to bring higher fees than first rights generated. These are called second publication rights or one-time rights.

Opportunities exist in other areas, too, for selling reprints. Regional magazines are one type of publication. For example, parenting publications and rural electric co-op magazines are regionals. Regionals will often be happy to reprint articles that other regional publications have already published because, as far as their readers will ever see, it's a first run. Marketing reprints is a potential way to make money from regional magazines, without the work of more writing.

Another good aspect is, once you can tell an editor that x, y, and z regional magazines have already printed it, they are much more likely to buy it from you for their magazine. Articles that have been published in larger magazines are attractive, too, because they have already been honed and polished.

So don't bother reslanting and remarketing for the regionals. Just happily resell your published work in its original form. And don't overlook other genre niches, like trade magazines.

How do you query for a reprint?
First Example:
"Please consider the following articles for reprint in XYZ Magazine. "The (name of published article)" was originally published in (name of original publication) on (Date of publication). One time rights were sold."
Note: Be sure to include all previous publications of the article, not just the original publisher\date.

Second example:
"I am offering to (name of magazine you're offering it to) an article I wrote on (subject of the published article). It appears in the (Date of publication) issue of (name of original publication). (Include URL of web site if applicable). I own the reprint rights to this article. (Or, if the publisher owns them, say "please contact xxxxx magazine for reprint rights. I have copied the article into this e-mail. You'll find it below. My articles have appeared in x x x x x x x and others,
"I look forward to hearing from you. Please contact me before publication to guarantee regional exclusivity."
Third example:
"Please consider purchasing one-time print rights for the following story, (name of story) *Note: One-time rights have been previously sold to (name of other publication that has already bought the rights), but so far it hasn't shown up in print."
Selling reprints brings in money you can bank and lets you bask in the glow of success -- over and over.

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

Next: 10-2, Selling Reprints:

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