People often ask me how it’s possible to earn a decent income with freelance travel writing,
…when pay rates for magazines are all over the map (sorry, pun).
One technique that freelancers use to increase their income is to sell the same story more than once. It’s important to know how you can get paid multiple times for the same article.
How do you do this? One way is to look to the overseas market.
Here’s How I Do It
Once I’ve prepared my query letter, I send simultaneous queries out to editors of magazines in other English speaking countries. It’s all income – whether we’re paid in US dollars, British pounds, or Australian or Canadian dollars. So I look for opportunities to sell my work internationally.
If editors in two different countries want your article, you can sell it to them both at the same time as long as their circulations don’t overlap. You don’t have to wait six months after it’s been published in one country before it can be published in the next. Your article can even be published in the same month in both countries – although this scenario is unlikely.
You might be wondering, what if you sell the same article to a U.K. editor and a U.S. editor? Do you need to tell them?
I don’t bother telling them. As long as the magazine’s circulations do not overlap, then the editors wouldn’t care anyway. And if the magazines are in different genres, they’d care even less.
Here’s an example: I once had an article about preventing skin damage from outdoor sports published simultaneously in a golfing magazine, a tennis magazine, and a triathlon magazine. No one minded – different genres, no overlap.
Is there a time when you cannot sell articles simultaneously? Yes, and it’s very important to understand this part.
First, you cannot sell your articles simultaneously if the circulations of the magazines overlap – whether in the same country or different countries.
Secondly, you cannot sell an article simultaneously anywhere if you sign over “All Rights” to a magazine.
Signing over “All Rights” means that you will not be able to sell the story to anyone, ever again. If a magazine owns “All Rights,” it is now their property.
Most veteran travel writers try to avoid selling “All Rights” unless it’s to a prestigious, high paying publication. If you’re being nicely reimbursed for your article, then “All Rights” is ok.
From my experience, it’s unusual for a magazine to purchase “All Rights” and most editors don’t request it. But always be certain, before signing a contract, that you’re not giving away “all rights”.
Freelance writing is a business, so it makes sense to squeeze as much money from every article that you can.
My most effective strategy is to get paid several times for each article. And one way to do this is by selling my articles around the world.
In this post I address the questions I hear most often from writers who want to sell their articles overseas.