Publish date:

What Are First Serial Rights (or FNASR)?

What are first serial rights (or FNASR)? And what do they mean for writers? If a writer sells first rights, can they still resell to other venues and/or collect in a book form? Get the answers here.

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, you’re free to resell it to another medium or to package a collection of your work into a book.

(Can I resell an article that's already been published?)

Rights can be sold geographic-ally, as well. It’s not uncommon to see article submissions with “offering first North American serial rights (FNASR)” written in the top, right corner of the first page. This limits the buyer’s rights and gives you the opportunity to sell the article in other locations outside the U.S. and Canada—such as England, Russia or Madagascar.

What Are First Serial Rights? | Publishing FAQs

Reprints of your work that previously appeared in another publication are considered second serial rights. These rights are nonexclusive, meaning the author can sell the piece to many publications at the same time.

In the online world, you can sell the electronic rights to your piece. These rights aren’t as clear. While they cover most of the same rules as first serial rights, the ever-evolving technology can cause some discrepancies between yourself and the publisher—like whether it can archive your work, place it in a database and let young punks download it to their PCs, MACs and iPads. This process is the least defined, and you may want to specify each right you license to the buyer.

Other rights to consider are simultaneous rights (giving you the ability to sell work to publications that don’t have overlapping circulations) and all rights (which means you sell all the rights to your work to the buyer, and you never get another dime for the piece, no matter how many times they publish it).

And remember, it never hurts to have someone familiar with freelancer contracts glance over your contract before you sign.

*****

Pitch an Article

Improve Your Pitches!

In today's competitive marketplace, it's important to catch an editor's attention. It all starts with a pitch. Learn how to improve your pitches with Writer's Digest University's Pitch an Article: Write for Today's Marketplace course. Writers will learn how to mine for ideas, avoid rookie mistakes and editor pet peeves, show you have a platform (and/or create one), network your way to assignments, and more!

Click to continue.

    Laura Davis: On the Story That Begged To Be Told

    Laura Davis: On the Story That Begged To Be Told

    Author and writing instructor Laura Davis discusses the process of starting, stopping, and starting again with her new memoir, The Burning Light of Two Stars.

    From Our Readers

    Which Writer or Work Made You Think About Point of View in a Different Way and Why?: From Our Readers (Comment for a Chance at Publication)

    This post announces our latest From Our Readers question: Which writer or work made you think about point of view in a different way and why? Comment for a chance at publication in a future issue of Writer's Digest.

    4 Tips on Research for Writing Novels and Stories Beyond Getting the Facts Right

    4 Tips on Research for Writing Novels and Stories Beyond Getting the Facts Right

    The kind of research you do can make or break your story's authenticity. Author Blake Sanz offers 4 tips on research for your novels and stories beyond getting the facts right.

    writer's digest wd presents

    WD Presents: Annual Writing Competition Early-Bird Deadline, Seven WDU Courses, and More!

    This week, we’re excited to announce the Annual Writing Competition early-bird deadline, seven WDU courses starting this week, and more!

    3 Big Tips for Writing a Children’s Picture Book Like a Pro

    3 Big Tips for Writing a Children’s Picture Book Like a Pro

    Small but mighty, picture books help raise children into lifelong readers. Children's book author Diana Murray offers 3 big tips for writing a picture book like a pro.

    5 Things I Learned About Writing From Watching Soap Operas

    5 Things I Learned About Writing From Watching Soap Operas

    Lessons in writing can come from various forms of art or entertainment. Author Alverne Ball shares 5 things he learned about writing from watching soap operas.

    From Script

    Writing from an Intimate Point of View and Adding Essential Elements to Solidify Your Screenplay (From Script)

    In this week’s round up brought to us by Script magazine, TV writer Kate Sargeant shares a first-hand look on her new digital series that was a life-changing experience. Plus an interview with filmmaker Mia Hansen-Løve, a new installment from ‘Ask the Coach’ and more!

    Writing Mistakes Writers Make: Collecting Advice but Never Writing

    Writing Mistakes Writers Make: Collecting Advice (but Never Writing)

    The Writer's Digest team has witnessed many writing mistakes over the years, so this series helps identify them for other writers (along with correction strategies). This week's mistake is to collect writing advice at the expense of actually writing.

    The Benefits of a Book Coach for Writers

    The Benefits of Having a Book Coach for Writers

    What is a book coach? How could they help authors? Award-winning author and writing instructor Mark Spencer answers these questions and more in this post about the benefits of having a book coach for writers.