Dealing with Editors

Can I Resell an Article That's Already Been Published?

Q: When submitting an already published article—which carried one-time rights—what information do I owe the new editor?—Jack C. A: You need to tell the new editor the name of the publication and the issue date in which your article first appeared. Also, make it clear that you sold them only first serial rights, and...

What Should a Short Bio Include?

Q: I have an article being published in a magazine and the editor e-mailed me asking for a short bio. This is my first time being published. How long is “short” and what should I include? —Robert K. A: Congratulations on your first publication! Typically a short bio consists of one to two sentences...

Does Selling All Rights Mean I Can't Use the Same Topic Again?

Q: If a magazine buys all rights to a non-fiction article I wrote about my granddaughters’ medical problems, can I have other articles or a book published which would include the same information? I use the same description of the disease for everything I write about it.  So far I have only published articles...

What's Considered a "Clip"?

Q: Many times publishers indicate they want “published clips” along with a query letter. What exactly are they? —Diane H. A: Published clips are any articles or stories that have been printed in magazines or newspapers. So, if you wrote “How to Train Your Husband-To-Be” and it was printed in the latest issue of...

What is a Hard Copy?

Q: What does a literary agency mean when it requests a “hard copy”? —Ivy A: While many terms in the literary world can be metaphorical or abstract, the phrase “hard copy” means exactly what it says—the agent wants a hard copy, or printed version, of your work. (Thankfully it’s not metaphorical, because that term...

What to Charge for Online Writing

Q: Do you have any suggestions on compensation for writing online? –Jillian L. A: Unfortunately, there’s no easy answer for this question. While there is pay for online writing, there isn’t much. Worse yet, it’s often hard to come by unless you are an expert in a field that lacks experts or you’re writing...

What Should You Include in Your Bio for Agents?

Q: I’ve recently finished my first novel and have begun searching for an agent to represent me. Some of the agents ask for a writer’s bio. Could you please tell me exactly what information I should include in this bio? What should be left out?—Terrie Smith A: Writers are often advised to write bios...

Two Pitches, One Magazine

Q: I’ve written two travel articles about two separate areas in a certain Canadian province. Should I mail them together to editors since they would go well together, or do they need to be mailed separately?—Sharon L. A: First thing you’ll want to do is send a query letter to the editors of the...

Should I Use The Chicago Manual of Style for my Book?

Q: In my writing I strictly follow the rules in The Chicago Manual of Style. For example, in a sentence joined with an “and,” I place a comma after the last word before the “and” when the first part of the sentence is a complete sentence. I have received a rejection with the first...

When Editors Add Typos

Q: I want to get paid for my writing, so I signed up for a journalism workshop at my community college to attain some clips. I’ve written articles for the school paper, but the “editors”—many just out of high school—have added typos to my articles. Can I still use these as clips? Do editors...

How Do I E-mail Clips?

Q: When a publication requests e-queries and clips, how do you e-mail the clips?—Nannette Croce A: Sending clips via e-mail can be difficult. You can try scanning the images, but that sometimes blurs the words and makes the piece illegible. You can copy text into a word processing document and send it, but that...

What Are First Serial Rights (or FNASR)?

Q: When working out a contract with a magazine, what are first serial rights?—Anonymous A: When you sell first serial rights to a newspaper, magazine or periodical for a piece of work you’ve written, that media outlet has the right to be the first place to publish the article/story/ poem. After the piece runs,...

Conflict of Interest

Q: I volunteer for several organizations that have newsworthy projects. I’d like to write news articles (not press releases) about them for our town’s independent newspaper. Can I sell an article that has to do with a group I’m involved in, even if the organization isn’t paying me?—Lisa Angle A: Conflict of interest is...

Dealing with Late (or Missing) Payments

Q: If a writer has jumped through all the hoops (finished the assignment, submitted a proper invoice, etc.) and is not being paid, what steps should he take before resorting to having a lawyer write a letter or taking their case to small claims court, etc. —Anonymous A: Always contact the editor first (second...