As the holiday season approaches, many novice writers are inspired to create stories about Christmas and New Year. Magazines usually start publishing seasonal content in mid-August for their December issues or special holiday editions. It is essential for independent writers to understand the terms of the contract they are signing, as they may lose more rights than they intend to. For example, some magazines may incorrectly claim that First North American Serial Rights (FNASR) includes the right to use the same material electronically, which is not legal according to Tasini's decision.
This ruling states that FNASR only applies to the media specified in the contract. In theory, if a writer sells FNASR for a piece, they can also sell the first electronic rights for the same article elsewhere. In practice, many magazines include electronic rights in FNASR and many writers accept this. Writers can submit their work online and wait for a response from the publisher. Although some writers dream of becoming best-selling novelists, magazine articles are often what pays the bills. The function editor will inform you when you need to send your invoice by email, either when accepting or publishing your item in the account department.
This means that a magazine has no legal right to resell your article in any form or format, without paying you again for the resale. Experienced freelancers can write articles faster than novices, which can lead to higher annual incomes. But are there other benefits? Will writing an article help you get more tasks in the future and build your platform? Will it help you connect with key people you'd like to meet?Most articles have a length of 1500 words (2200 words maximum), so it is important to calculate your revenue per item. If you later sell reprints of the exact same article to other publications, you would be in breach of your contract (and could be sued).
It is best to present your best ideas for articles and check if the idea has been used recently. However, this does not mean simply changing a few words and sending the same article to different publications. Selling a non-fiction item is similar to selling a non-fiction book; you sell it based on its concept and “business plan”. If you are new to freelance writing, you should consider uploading your articles to a free platform that can act as a portfolio of your work. Agencies can help you understand which publications will be most interested in your article and present it for them.
You may need to send consultation letters and create different versions of your articles, such as short summaries and bulleted lists.