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Getting More Money From What You Write
by Kathryn Lay
I love getting acceptances for my writing. It’s a big part
of who I am to be a writer, and an important part of my writing
is knowing that editors like it and people will read it. I need
to make money off that writing as well and I’ve been fortunate
in that most of my 1400 sales have come with payment.
But even more exciting is when an idea or a project goes beyond
my first expectations and brings in more money that can help my
When I first began writing, I wasn’t completely savvy about
“rights” and the issues of reselling or rewriting or
redirecting pieces. But when I saw information in Writer’s
Market that some publications bought reprints, I tried it and
it worked. I soon found there were many ways to make more money
from my writing, to double and triple what I was selling and money
I was making.
One of the most exciting ways to make “more” money
from what you are writing is by selling reprints. Often, there is
little to no need to change the original piece. While many large
publications want first rights, there are many mid-size and smaller
publications that accept reprint or one-time rights.
This is especially true with parenting publications, regional publications,
religious publications, and anthologies.
I have had eight pieces purchased and published with various Chicken
Soup books. Only one of them was an original piece written
for that theme. The rest have been published at least once, sometimes
more in magazines and other anthologies.
The majority of my religious essays and articles have sold to a
variety of different denominations. A particular Christmas essay
has sold to publications for Baptist readers, Assembly of God, non-denominational,
Methodist, Presbyterian, and more, as well as several religious
A short piece on my daughter praying to see a frog has been published
over and over, as well as a short piece about the night we celebrated
the news from our caseworker that we had been chosen for a child
And recently, an article that was published in a regional parenting
magazine has developed a new life as other publications have written
to me asking for permission to reprint. I let them know a reprint
fee and most all have agreed on it.
When I sell a piece, I begin making a list of possible publications
that will buy reprints where I can send this piece after it’s
been published the first time. As long as the markets don’t
cross over (same denomination or regional area), then it’s
fine to send out to several places at once that take reprints.
Sometimes to make another sale requires a more extensive rewrite
on a piece to fit it into a specific market. The exciting thing
about this is the opportunity to take a specific idea or situation
and retell it in a different way.
I’ve been able to take different aspects of my daughter’s
adoption story and write and sell them all. I’ve written about
the waiting period, the classes we took and the moment of receiving
the news. I’ve written about meeting a grandmother who’s
grandchild had been adopted to others who overheard our celebrating
our news and said she’d pray for us. I’ve written about
the love of 3 moms for my daughter – her birthmom, foster
mom, and me. I’ve written articles on how to help or minister
to adopting parents during this stressful time. Each one was a different
approach and style on the same subject. Each one has sold and resold
to a variety of magazines and anthologies.
Most recently, an article published in Writing for DOLLARS!
was picked up by Children’s Book Insider. I had to
make a few changes to gear it more toward the children’s writer
market, but it was accepted.
TARGET OTHER MARKET POSSIBILITIES:
Sometimes an idea can be redone for a completely different market.
A travel piece could be refocused for an RV magazine, a children’s
publication, or a family magazine. A piece on dealing with a health
issue can be done as an information piece, an essay, a how-to, a
woman’s piece, and more.
Recently I was assigned to write an article on extroverts and introverts
for a religious publication. My plan now is to rewrite it for a
youth or youth leader publication.
COMBINING MATERIAL FOR A BOOK:
Perhaps you’ve written a lot of pieces on one subject and
had them published. You might consider putting them together as
a book or anthology.
All of the chapters in my book, The
Organized Writer IS A Selling Writer, AWOC.COM Publishing,
were originally articles on writing that have been published in
magazines, anthologies, and e-zines.
Author and speaker Nancy Gibbs has self-published many wonderful
books that are a compilation of her essays that have been published
in her weekly newspaper column and in magazines and anthologies.
Consider taking what you’ve learned in an article or a book
you’ve written and offer a class on that subject. Whether
it’s on being a writer, dealing with a how-to issue, or an
emotional issue, you can probably create an online or continuing
education class that others would be interested in attending.
Writing and publishing is exciting and rewarding, but when you
can find ways to make even more money from your experience, knowledge,
writing abilities, ideas, and published work, you’ve found
a way to strengthen your work and your income.
© Copyright 2007, Kathryn Lay
Kathryn Lay is the author of 26 books for children, over 2000 articles, essays and stories for children and adults and the book from AWOC.COM Publishing, The Organized Writer is a Selling Writer. Check out her website at www.kathrynlay.com and email through firstname.lastname@example.org
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