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question mark

I read some news about a local writer who published a few articles in a regional magazine. I dropped her a note to congratulate her. When she responded, as you’ll read below, she is just beginning to navigate her opportunities with freelance journalism and wants to get started with re-prints.

Here’s a basic question-and-answer on managing re-prints as a freelance journalist, starting with my initial email:

Hope you’re well! Short note to say congrats on your new magazine gig. I saw it on LinkedIn. Great to hear! 🙂 Chat soon.

Email I received:

Thanks for the encouragement, Tara Lynne.

It’s only a few freelance articles, but it’s a start. Funny, but last week I thought of you when the article came out. I’ve heard that a writer can submit an article to different publications, even when it has been published, and I was going to consult you about the truth in that. I’m guessing that means a query letter must be written (have never done one yet) and that some percentage of the work must be altered.

Would you mind sharing if this is correct? The article, for your reference [redacted]. 

All the best.

My response:

It’s a great start. Good consistency and wide topics. Yes, you can submit (and get paid for) an article sent to multiple publications. A few things to note with that: Consult your contract if one was provided, or ask the publication what rights they acquire upon publication. Print magazines might default to acquiring one year print rights, then you have the option of pitching/selling re-print rights to other markets after that time expires. I’ve included a section about this in my new book, a guide for freelance journalists. If you like, I’ll mail you a copy. Let me know the best address to send it.

Writer’s response:

Thanks, Tara Lynne.

No contract or paperwork whatsoever with the local magazine. I write articles and sell advertising for it, but it’s all 1099 work and verbal. So if there’s no written agreement, then I should be free to query the state-wide publication. I’ve looked through their contribution guidelines page, yet have not even seen a “if pre-published” condition addressed. But, to make sure, I’m guessing I should ask them if they carry any restrictions.

I’d be honored to receive a copy. My address: [redacted]. And please sign it, if you’re so inclined. 🙂

My response:

You’re welcome. I’d still be leery about reusing content without the express permission of the initial market. I’ve published articles (gratis) with some publications where I had no contract and they still acquired one-year rights. It’s important to ask and get their answers in writing.

You’re on my list and I will mail you a copy. 😀 I’ll sign it too, thanks for asking.

Writer response:

OK, good advice on the one-year rights issue. I see the publisher tomorrow, so I will ask and request it in writing.

Have questions about the query process? I join agented author Lyn Fairchild Hawks this March for a half-day query intensive. Lyn will answer questions and present on query letter best practices for pitching literary agents, and I will cover everything related to magazine queries. Everyone who attends get their query letter critiqued by both of us! Join us in Chapel Hill, North Carolina on Saturday, March 24th. Register here.