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Guest Blogger-Charlotte Hopkins shares some tips for writers!

A Writer's Rights by Charlotte Hopkins 

(This material may not be reproduced without the express written consent of the author.)

When a writer submits freelance material one important aspect of the contract is what rights are available to the writer. Rights can always be negotiated.

The “first time” and “one time” rights verify that it is the first time the story is ever being published or put into print; this includes the Internet. If you write something that you may someday want to have published then do not post it in your blog. Once it is posted in a blog some editors may see it as “previously published.”

First North American Serial Rights (FNASR) and First North American Rights (FNR) mean it is the first time the work is being published in America. FNASR rights also includes Canada.

"English Language Rights" gives the editor the right to publish your work in any English speaking country.

“Second Rights” pertain to work that has been previously published. In these sales the writer is paid $5-$50. There are magazines that do not offer these rights because they do not buy previously published work.

"All Rights" or “Work for Hire” gives the magazine ownership of your work and consent to use your material again in any way they deem without having to pay you again.

"World Rights" means the article is being published for the first time anywhere in the world.

Some writers have tried the "poor man's copyright." A writer mails their work to themselves. When an item goes into the mail it becomes a federal document. The date stamped by the postal worker is most important when trying to prove who wrote “the words” first. If a copyright issue later comes into question, the mailed document becomes the writer's key proof. The only person to open the envelope should be the judge, if it happens to get that far. In some countries "The Poor Man's Copyright" will hold up in court. In the United States it is no longer admissible because courts believe it is too easy to mail an "unsealed" envelope to yourself and seal it at a later time when you need it.

“Non-Exclusive Rights” are when you retain the right to resell the piece. This is typically offered with One Time Rights or First North American Serial Rights.

Subsidiary Rights are secondary rights inside of a book deal that include:

Audio Rights Book Clubs TV Rights Film (Movies/Theaters) Merchandising

Shared Rights grants the publisher the right to publish or republish the work in any form in any country, at any time.

Now that you are armed with your rights; you are ready to tackle the writing market.


Charlotte Hopkins is a freelance writer from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Her writing has been published in a variety of newspapers, magazines and websites. She was published in Chicken Soup for the Soul, Shadows & Light Anthology, and Authors for Haiti. She wrote feature pieces for, highlighting life and times of Pittsburgh. Her first book, “Everything You Wanted to Know About the Heroes in Blue,” was originally released in January 2012. Her article, 5 More Minutes, was a tribute to lives lost on September 11th. In 2005, it was read in a military service for soldiers and their families. She released the first three books in her “365 Days” book series. They are titled: 365 Days of Writing Fiction 365 Days of Writing Nonfiction 365 Days of Family Fun Along with her writing, Charlotte was a Preschool Teacher and Activity Coordinator for more than 10 years. The work she is most proud of is being a mother of two up-and-coming authors.

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