Well, reprints have been on my mind lately. You see, once you publish a story in a magazine or anthology, you have sold either your First North American Serial Rights or First World publication rights (based on the contract you sign). If that magazine paid 8 cents a word or even 2 cents a word, or you sold the story for exposure, once the rights to your story have reverted, you can sell your story again; however, that’s only if the next market accepts reprints. If that’s the case, the industry standard is you’ll be paid a penny a word for reprints, though, I have started to see some offer 2 cents a word recently (competition in the marketplace in action, I guess).
A few months ago, there was a call from an online SF magazine seeking only reprints. I submitted one of my old stories and they accepted it – at a penny a word. The contract stated there may also be an anthology, and in that case, the story would earn a bit more. Being able to sell a reprint is nice, just not very profitable.
Something else to consider, if you publish a story on the Internet, publicly, that story is considered a reprint. What did he say? You heard me. If it is available publicly on the Internet it is instantly a reprint as far as the next market is concerned.
Okay, so how does that effect what you’re writing on site’s like Writing.com, where writing hone their stories, getting comments from other members? If you limit your stories to members only — it’s not officially already been published publicly. Working on a story which is changing? Selling a story that’s substantially changed will make the final version an original, not a reprint. Perhaps the story you want to submit is a lot longer than what you published on your website or in a blog – that, too, makes it an original never published piece (since the published part is only a small part of the whole).
One author I know has been repackaging stories she’s previously sold, making significant changes to them, and telling the editors that’s precisely what she’s done. They’ve accepted those stories as original and paid accordingly.
So, why have reprints been on my mind lately? I’m concerned about sales (as I’ve found that pretty much every published writer is, too) and I’m going to a convention in six weeks or so. Having a wider variety of stories to sell can help me market to a larger audience, who may not be interested in my epic fantasy novels, but science fiction — and I’ve sf novels, too I’d like to see introduced to potential new fans.
I’ve a number of old stories, whose rights have reverted (to which I’ve never “accidentally” sold my rights – I read my contracts very carefully – and are original works of mine) that I can monetize again, by, at this point, offering them in a collection. (A collection represents work from a single author, while an anthology offers works by multiple authors).
I’ve a short story that people ask me about that was published several years ago. By incorporating a collection of some flash pieces I’d published in on the Internet for blogger book fairs and exposure; stories I’d published in an ezine; and including some articles I’ve written online, I’ve enough to publish a short collection. Thing is, I can offer it at a better price than one of my paperback novels and still catch some more attention by those passing my table in the Dealer’s Room or a book festival, and offer it as an ebook at a great price, too.
My editor’s on board and my cover designer’s excited… Though, I’m concerned that like an anthology, a collection normally won’t sell as well as a novel can. So, I’m doing what I can to keep my costs down on this one. I’ve chosen one original story to include, but it’s part of my epic fantasy series. That story’s a perfect hook for a fan of the series, looking for more – or a good introduction to someone new. Of course, publishing it will make it a reprint. Then again, I’m likely to incorporate it into a future novel, so it’s a good choice to include.
So, there are things you can do with a reprint. Also, if one of your stories ends up in a pro level science fiction or fantasy magazine, you may get requests for it in anthologies soliciting it – at better than the penny a word rate. I know someone that’s happened to a number of times for just one of their stories, which has just kept earning them money without them having to submit it for consideration.
But being forewarned about the meaning of “reprint” is forearmed, which why I’m sharing this with you today. When you sell a story, be sure to read your contract to see when your rights revert or if they never do… It’s important. Being a writer isn’t just about writing, it’s about earning money so you can buy groceries, pay the rent, etc. (Which is why so many writers have day jobs, too). If you’re like me, looking to make a few more dollars isn’t a bad thing and may help you build your brand and sell more books at the same time.
D. H. Aire has walked the ramparts of the Old City of Jerusalem and through an escape tunnel of a Crusader fortress that Richard the Lionheart once called home. He’s toured archeological sites that were hundreds, if not thousands of years old… experiences that have found expression in his epic fantasy series with a science fiction twist, Highmage’s Plight and new Hands of the Highmage Series. In May 2017, he released a new short story collection called Crossroads of Sin and Other Stories.
An Author of eleven fantasy and science fiction novels, including those in the urban fantasy Dare 2 Believe Series and the space opera Terran Catalyst Series, Aire’s short stories appear in a number of anthologies, including in Street Magick: Tales of Urban Fantasy. A native of St. Louis, Missouri, Aire resides in the Washington D.C. metropolitan area.
This article originally appeared at dare2believe.