Once you begin selling your writing, you have more than just clips, you have reprints that you can resell many times, and for many years!
I began freelancing in the late 90s, and have an arsenal of reprints these days. Reprints are my mainstay, now that I have semi-retired from writing full-time.
At age 71, I decided that it was my time to be more engaged in life, rather than spending most of my time at the computer. But my writing is still out there, being read by many people, and that makes me happy, and I still make a nice, steady income from it. And making a nice, steady, extra income at my age is a blessing.
When you first begin to sell your writing, just make sure you don’t sell “all rights”…unless they are paying you a nice, hefty sum for it, that is. Fortunately, most anthologies, which were always my favorite market, are happy with one time rights, or non-exclusive rights. They don’t care if the piece was published previously. In fact, the Chicken Soup for the Soul series buys mostly stories that have appeared elsewhere, as long as the writer still holds the rights to it.
I have even sold stories to Chicken Soup that had been previously published in an earlier Chicken Soup book. So they reprinted their own reprint, so to speak! And they paid me the same fee that they had paid me the first time they published it. I have a writer friend who was amazed at that.
“You mean they knew they had published it before?” she asked me, incredulously.
“Yes, you always have to disclose if a story has been published before, and name the publication, ” I told her.
I cited an example. My story, A Refugee Camp Birthday, was first published in Chicken Soup for the Christian Family Soul, in 2000. Then, in 2005 they were looking for special stories for Chicken Soup for the Grandma’s Soul, I felt that my story would be a perfect fit for that book as well. So I submitted it under the title “A Grandma’s Gift of the Heart,” disclosing that it had already been published in the Christian Family Soul. They published it again in the Grandma’s Soul book, and paid me the same fee they had paid me the first time. And since then, that story has appeared in several different anthologies as well, and is one of my little gold mines.
Another story of mine that Chicken Soup bought twice was, Discovering the Joy of Giving, which was first published in Chicken Soup for the Sisters Soul II, in 2006, and reprinted again in Chicken Soup for the Child’s Soul a year later! But before Chicken Soup bought that story, it had already been published in one of the Chocolate for Women books, as well as in Whispers from Heaven Magazine. I have another little gold mine in that story. Well, at least I think so.
I have a story that had first been published by Guideposts back in 1999, and that has been reprinted 8 times now, the last time in February of 2008, in Chicken Soup for the Soul, Celebrating People Helping Other People. That story is like money in the bank earning interest! Good interest, at that.
So, keep writing and submitting and building your arsenal of reprints for future use. Clips can be gold mines to a writer!
Renie Burghardt, who was born in Hungary, is a freelancer with many credits. Her writing has been published in many anthologies, including Chicken Soup, Cup of Comfort, Chocolate for Women, Guideposts Books, etc. She has also been published in numerous magazines, like Mature Living, Midwest Living, Angels on Earth, Cat Fancy, Missouri Life, and many others. She has written for many online venues, including Common Ties, Med Hunters, Folks Online, and others. She lives in the country and loves nature, animals, gardening, hiking, and spending time with family and friends. Her blog is at: http://renieburghardtsworld.blogspot.com/