If you write articles for print and online publications, don’t get trapped by greedy editors who demand exclusive rights to an article but aren’t willing to offer anything in return.
If you give an article to a big-name publication that wants exclusive rights, you can’t offer the same article to anyone else. So you might be shutting yourself off from valuable venues where thousands and maybe even millions of other people could read what you’ve written.
I know because it happened to me a few years ago. Hoping to catch the attention of executives who read a prestigious real estate magazine, I offered to write two freelance articles. The editor said yes. But she wouldn’t pay me. She refused to print my website URL. Even worse, she demanded I quote multiple sources and follow a long list of writer’s guidelines. She even insisted on exclusive rights as well as the
copyright. And she wouldn’t let me post the article at my website.
Grumbling, I spent more than three days writing and researching the articles, and foolishly turned them over to her for nothing more than a byline.
The result? Not one lead from either article. Not even a thank-you note from the editor. The ultimate insult came a few weeks later when the magazine tried to coax me into paying for expensive reprints.
Intellectual property attorney Patricia Eyres says I could have negotiated things such as who owns the copyright, reprint rights, the kill fee, the price of reprints, and the ability to post the article
at my website. But I was in such a big hurry to get into the magazine, I never stopped to think about that. Patricia also says Publicity Hounds who write articles for other publications can find themselves
in a heap of legal trouble if they don’t understand exactly how they can use reprints, and when they are infringing on copyright.
She explained those and many other issues during a teleseminar last year called “Legal Issues You Must Know When Writing Articles.”