By Carol J. Alexander
You’ve interviewed your sources, done your research, and worked your tail off to create a stellar piece of work — for a one-time gig.
Don’t settle for that single paycheck when you can sell the same story again and again to the right markets. Roughly one-third of my freelance writing income comes from selling article reprints.
Here’s how I do it:
What you can re-sell
You can re-sell anything you write so long as you retain the rights to it.
When you sell first rights or one-time rights to an article, after the terms of the contract are fulfilled, you are free to sell the piece elsewhere.
Don’t be afraid to negotiate contracts if they ask for more rights than you want to sell.
Where you can re-sell it
Generally reprints are sold to non-competing markets — different audiences, regions, or countries.
If you write “Supplements for the Menopause Years” for a woman’s magazine, a health magazine would have a different audience.
Chicago Parent and Houston Family cover different regions.
Chickens Magazine and Practical Poultry represent similar audiences in different countries.
Where to find markets
Generally publications with a smaller circulation, regional magazines, trade publications, and newspapers purchase reprint rights.
Read a magazine’s submission guidelines online or email the editor and ask if they purchase reprints and what they typically pay. Some publications have a set rate. Some will pay what you ask.
I have made anywhere from $15 to $50 on article reprints in regional markets. That might not sound lucrative, but I have an extensive list of publications that purchase reprints in one niche. If I sell one article 20 times for an average of $35, that’s $700.
If that article already appeared for first rights in a national magazine for $400-$500 or more, then I think pitching the reprint market is worth my time.
How to submit your work
I group potential markets by niche in my email address book.
When I have a reprint to submit, I write a snappy cover letter (email) describing the story, listing a few places my work has been published, and what I’d like to get for this story. I mention that if they are interested in the piece I will forward it as a Word document with an invoice. I then paste the text of the story after the email.
Keep your eyes peeled and continually add to your list of markets. The more publications you have to submit to, the more opportunity you have of re-selling your work.
Have you made money selling reprints? Tell us how — and how much — in the comments below.
Carol J. Alexander writes from Virginia’s beautiful Shenandoah Valley. Her work has appeared in over 30 national and regional magazines, several websites/blogs, and her local newspaper.