“Someone wants to buy reprint rights to my article…but the first buyer hasn’t yet published it!”

“Someone wants to buy reprint rights to my article…but the first buyer hasn’t yet published it!”

Q –

I sold an article to (name of magazine removed). They paid me and they were supposed to publish it several months ago. As of today, they still haven’t published it.

Another magazine is interested in buying reprint rights and they want to publish it right away. I really need the money and I don’t want to lose this sale. What can I do?

– Liz

A –

This has always been a problem in the industry. Since you already sold first rights, you can’t allow another publication to publish the piece until the original editor has published it.

To prevent editors from holding an article hostage for months, or even years, I recommend writers include a deadline-for-publication clause in all of their contracts. Editors should not hesitate to agree, especially if they’ve already told you they intend to publish the article within a specific time-frame.

“In exchange for payment of $___ for first rights, publisher/editor agrees to publish the article within 90 days. If this does not occur, the ‘first rights’ clause of this contract will revert to ‘reprint rights,’ with no change to the writer’s fee.”


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2 Responses to "“Someone wants to buy reprint rights to my article…but the first buyer hasn’t yet published it!”"

  1. Ruth  January 26, 2018 at 7:38 pm

    This is great advice. I’m going to use it from now on because I was once in this situation myself, although it didn’t go on for as long. I usually use deadlines for all my agreements/contracts but I never considered it for first reprint rights of my articles. Didn’t even know it was a thing I could do until reading this. But now I know.

  2. pamelaallegretto  January 26, 2018 at 1:10 pm

    Excellent advice!