the language of freelance marketing

For freelancers, alive the basic speech “before” they activate can be a admired lesson in earning a few extra dollars in that initial stage. When I started my freelancing job, I knew annihilation of rights, simultaneous submissions, querying or varying payment rates. All I knew was– I could inscription. Everything else, I learnt on the action. You will too. But aloof to accomplish your stay a babyish less frustrating, and a lot added enjoyable, I’ve listed a few concepts that will advice you immensely as you contact editors and ace shot to accomplish them pament you for your words.


It’s yours as soon as you accept those words on paper. You don’t accept to register copyright to claim it, though if you’re writing a book or book, it’s a astute investment. Registered copyright is proof enough for a court of constitution, and is decidedly admired in cases of dispute. However, for short materials according to articles or essays, copyright needn’t be registered. You can however, club a figure of essays and register them at buttoned up.


Reprints are articles, essays or pieces that accept already been published. If you own the copyright (added on that subsequent), and appetite to sell the piece again to another publication, it will be termed as a reprint. Most publications pament much less for reprints and some don’t accept them at all. However, for a freelancer, sometimes reprints bring added income than aboriginal articles accomplish.


Earlier, magazines asked for all rights to articles. Even today, in abounding countries, including my own (India), most magazines appetite to accumulate all the rights ensuring that the articles in their magazine remain altered to them. However, this trend no longer exists in America, Canada and England, and is manufacture headway into other nations as able-bodied. Any more, almost all magazines in these nations refrain from asking for all rights to the assignment. Others accept opened their doors for reprints, which is a boon for writers. Let’s attending at some of the altered kinds of rights.

  • All Rights: This means that the article must not accept been published before, and cannot be used again after it has been published in this particular publication. Never accord up all rights for a measly sum of almighty dollar. If you’re selling all rights, accomplish sure you’re being paid what you deserve.

  • Aboriginal Serial Rights: These usually pertain to some country. For e.g., Aboriginal North American Serial Rights, or Aboriginal British Serial Rights. Although the article mustn’t accept been published in the country prior to this, you are chargeless to submit elsewhere after publication.

  • Electronic Rights: As added and added publications archive their articles online, they are asking for electronic rights. This means that they can act your article online. Usually a age-period is specified. Again, electronic rights are usually non-exclusive, acceptation that you can sell this article elsewhere although it will abide to arise on this publication’s website.

  • CD-ROM Rights: A fairly advanced addition to the list of rights, this means that the publication is chargeless to statement your assignment on a Compact Disk.

  • Anthology Rights: Some publications publish yearly anthologies (collection of articles or stories). In such cases, they buzz for these rights for possible inclusion of your assignment in their anthology.

  • Aboriginal-age Rights: Your article must not accept appeared anywhere worldwide. You are however, chargeless to sell your assignment elsewhere after publication.

  • One-age Rights: Your assignment may accept appeared elsewhere. Publications asking for one-age rights crave that you let them statement your assignment once. It may or may not accept been published before and you are chargeless to statement it after publication.

Payment on Acceptance vs. Payment on Publication

You’ve written an article and the editor has approved it. Any more comes the age to pament you. Able-bodied, not certainly. Abounding publications prefer to pament their writers on publication, acceptation when the article appears in print. In established magazines, the age between acceptance and publication can be months, so you may inscription an article in January, and be paid for it in June. Always ace shot to amuse paid on acceptance.


When you inscription a affair, the editor wants to beam added than aloof a acceptable abstraction. She wants to apperceive whether you can accomplish it amends, whether you’ll be able to act it buttoned up or not. For this, she needs to beam samples of your writing. Published samples are termed as clips. Simply stated, you photocopy the pages of approximately three magazines in which your articles accept appeared and send them to the editor.

If you haven’t been published, you’ll still charge to send in samples of your writing. For this, inscription out an article or two related to the subject of the magazine, and send them off with your affair.

Advance Age

A magazine usually asks writers to submit their assignment able-bodied in advance so that there are no last-minute goof-ups. Magazines, especially reputed ones, cannot risk delaying an affair as of a single writer. This period is usually termed as advance-age. Although most magazines accept advance times of approximately three months, abounding accept periods of added than six months.

Annihilate Fees

Editors are always “killing” articles that they’ve assigned. To the writer, this could beggarly wasted age, as able-bodied as almighty dollar. To reimburse the writer for her research and hours put in, magazines usually accept a 20-50% annihilate charge. Simply put, if your affair has been accepted, but your article isn’t published for some astuteness, you’ll be accustomed a annihilate charge for your assignment.


For your article, you may accept to interview a subject. In some cases, you may accept to accomplish continued-distance calls or spend a few bucks on biking, lunches and other expenses. All such expenditures incurred for the assignment are usually paid for by the publication. You should be actual ablaze on this before you amuse on the assignment. Usually, editors will accede to aloof expenditure refunds.

Bios and Photos

Haven’t you sometimes noticed how the author’s picture or contact advice appears alongside the article? Yours could too. Although this isn’t always done, sometimes editors may accede to put up a photo or a short bio beside your article. It never hurts to buzz.

Simultaneous Submissions

Although this is something magazines advise against, it isn’t always feasible waiting three months for your ardent abstraction to strike a note with the editor you’ve submitted it to. This is where simultaneous submissions come in. Although I truly warn you against submitting the selfsame article to added than one publisher (I did it, and I regretted it), I accomplish apostle simultaneous queries.

Any more that you’re armed with the basic adeptness, you’re all set to action out into the ample, bad apple of publishing, and appearance them what you’ve got. Acceptable luck!

About The Author

Mridu Khullar is the editor-in-chief of, a chargeless online magazine for writers. Sign up for the chargeless weekly newsletter to amuse a complimentary e-book with 400+ paying markets. Again check out her e-book, “Knock Their Socks Off! A Freelance Writer’s Adviser to Affair Letters That Sell,” available at

This article was posted on January 22, 2005

Originall posted January 24, 2012