View Full Version : OT: Anyone ever freelance before?

05-23-2005, 10:36 AM
Say you write a freelance article and you submit it to 5 different publications. If multiple publications decide to publish it, can you get in any kind of trouble? Or is it done by contract (assuming you're getting paid)? So place 1 goes "we'll publish your article and give you $200." You say ok. So at that point if any of the other places come to you and offer to pay you you have to say no, right? Or only if that first deal was an exclusive contract?

I know people who have freelanced before and had the same article published in multiple papers simultaneously, but they didn't get paid so it didn't matter.

Anyone have any experience with this? Care to share how exactly it works?


05-23-2005, 10:40 AM
Hi Ironfist,
My wife writes for INSIDE KUNGFU and she signs a contract before her article goes in. Once a contract is signed, the article becomes sole property of the magazine. Don't know about the other magazines.
Good luck with your writing!
Wang Rengang

05-23-2005, 11:16 AM
So I guess if she signed a contract with IKF and then someone else offered to publish her article she'd have to say "no, I've already signed a contract with IKF," right?

05-23-2005, 12:17 PM
exactly...but she only writes for IKF, so that wasn't an issue for her. Probably if you want the best price just wait to see who all sends you a contract. If more than one answer, then you can bargain among them to see if anyone will up the ante.

MonkeySlap Too
05-23-2005, 03:14 PM
This is way too long of a topic to go into... you can learn all you need to know about freelancing by hitting your bookstore and reading the Writers Market, and scanning other books on the shelf.

If you want to make money, try advertising. It pays better, and you get treated a hell of a lot better than most other industries.

Most MA pubs buy all rights, which sucks. But if you love what you do, you just take the ten bucks and spread 'em.

05-23-2005, 03:16 PM
...that's a sure way to **** off the editors. We don't compete for articles like that. If an author told me that IKF already had the article and asked me for more money - I'd say 'let IKF have it,' and think poorly of that author in future. No article is worth that much in the martial arts field. It's not like there's a lot of martial arts mags and we don't see each other's magazines. And I know my respected opposite numbers from the other mags have decent memories, so it's best to be honest and straight forward as a freelancer. If you play games, we have plenty of freelancers who play straight. Frankly, we won't have time for you. In our writer's guidelines (http://ezine.kungfumagazine.com/about/guidelines.php), you'll notice this clause:
Simultaneous Submissions: Simultaneous article submissions are not accepted. You may submit simultaneous queries. We have had inviduals submit simultaneous articles and actually get published in two magazines at the same time. Those people don't write for either magazine anymore.

Once an article is contracted, you are under obligation of that contract. That's the whole point of the contract. You are required to inform any other magazine that might be considering publishing your work and, at least for our contract, you must stop it. It's a common courtesy. It's always best to stay on the good side of your editors, believe me. ;)

There are guidlines for submission etiquette. My suggestion to you is to consult Writer's Market (http://www.writersmarket.com/index_ns.asp) - that was my guidelines back when I was freelance - and I was freelance for nearly a decade...

05-23-2005, 03:37 PM
Cuz I was thinking when people submit book manuscripts they don't just send them to one publisher...

So Gene, you're saying that if someone subs an article for your mag they can't send it to any other mags until you have told them "no?"

05-23-2005, 04:13 PM
I used to write for three or four magazines at a time. I always kept them seperate. If an article was going out it only went to one editor. I talked with each one and asked what they needed or wanted and wrote that article.

Made them feel better about what they were getting and I stayed busy. Every article ran. Never a problem with multiple submissions or someone feeling slighted by not getting what they wanted because someone else ran it first.

I did have the same thing on two cover shots but the editors worked that out between themselves and I got two covers in two months. ;)

05-23-2005, 04:40 PM
It's always best to start with a query. Think about it - you may submit me the greatest article on why CMA is better then BJJ (just as an example) but unbeknownst to you, I've already accepted another article on the same topic that's currently at press. So, even though your work might be good, it won't work for our publishing schedule. This is true for all mags.

ghost5's advice is exactly what I did when I was a freelancer. I had articles submitted to every magazine all the time, and for the most part, they were articles that I had discussed with the editors. OK, that's not always true, I'd just spring them on editors most of the time, but I knew my stuff and targeted each mag with a certain 'malice aforethought'. I was only rejected once. ;) I did get the same person on the cover of both IKF and our magazine on the same month - with two completely different stories.

Basically, if you have something you want to submit to our magazine, let me know. If you want to submit to the others, then don't bother me. ;) Seriously, as a freelancer, you should know the difference between us, IKF, BB, ad nauseum, just like a free-lancer of old knew the difference between the different fiefdoms that might hire him. You want the best audience for your work, just like you'd have wanted the best war for your hired lance. If you've got some great judo article in mind, you're not going to sell it to us, no matter how great it is. When I freelanced, I knew which exactly magazine was right for each of my submissions. In fact, as I wrote them, I had a specific mag in mind. If you want to play the field, play it with queries. But when you submit, just submit to one of us. It'll actually make your life easier.

norther practitioner
05-23-2005, 04:48 PM
You may submit simultaneous queries.

Um, I think he already answered your question.

05-23-2005, 05:09 PM
Interesting. I was just asking in general, hence the "OT."

Now that I think about it, the one article I've had published (not MA related) I did discuss with the editor beforehand.

Cool. Thanks.

05-23-2005, 05:24 PM
You know IronFist, I think your topic is more OT then a lot of posts here. How martial arts articles really get published is important. You don't know how many people seem to think we have this stable of reporters that we can send on assignment anywhere in the world. The truth of the matter is that no one can really support themselves as a martial arts reporter/writer - there's not enough money in it, frankly. And no martial arts magazine can really afford to keep full time writers beyond the editors. We can have columnists, which are really just contracted freelancers, and I assure you that they all have other modes of income.
That being said, if you're interested in submitting an article, let me know. Email me your query at gene@kungfumagazine.com. :cool:

05-23-2005, 06:49 PM
Each mag has its own emphasis, interests or targeted audience and market.

There are so much stuff to write about. If you like to submit to many mags, you may submit different articles.

If you do a good research and write them out in your own words plus your own views of them. The readers and the publishers will respond favorably.

I was solicited to write. I never have the time to get to it. I need a whole block of time to be used for writing only. In my work schedule, that is not gonna happen.

I was a regular writer for several mags before in Taiwan.

Best of luck in your endeavors.

There is not much money in writing for MA mags.

But if that is what you want to do; to publish and to share your views with the readers. Absolutely.


MonkeySlap Too
05-23-2005, 07:20 PM
I can't get lunch on what they pay.

Despite this, I'm about to launch a good couple pounds of articles later this year. That's what happens when you are injured... :D

05-23-2005, 07:20 PM
Wait, OT = off topic, right?

05-23-2005, 08:46 PM
Cuz I was thinking when people submit book manuscripts they don't just send them to one publisher...
That's not entirely true. Some publishers will accept simultaneous submissions, some won't. You have to find out a publisher's requirements before you submit to them.

05-24-2005, 03:26 AM
Man, you guys are right about the money. I was a feature writer for one magazine, meaning I had an article every issue, as well as writing for the others when I had something to publish. I did not make anything worth talking about off of that work. If it weren't for a real job it would have been bad.

If anyone thinks they can make a living with nothing but magazine articles I hope you have more money coming in than I did 'cause it sure didn't pay many bills around here.

05-24-2005, 04:21 AM
So how much do you get payed for an article? Is there a standard price or does it depend on the quality, lenght and amount of pictures?

05-24-2005, 09:38 AM
Yeah, it would be supplemental income, until I get famous and everyone wants me to write for them and they compete over my salary.

05-24-2005, 12:40 PM
First step to making a living off writing - learn to live cheap. Second step, wrtie outside of the martial arts. On average, martial arts pay around a $100-$300 per feature length article. We pay $125 for 2K+ words, less for less words. Nowadays, you can submit digital photos via the web, so you don't have to deduct the cost of developing film and shipping. However, if you write for other mags, like say Playboy, which is one of the highest paying mags out there, you can live for a month or so off one article. Writer's Market has us all classified and martial arts mags are all $ (while Playboy is $$$$) $=$150/article. $$$$=$1,500/article. (note that these figures are probably a little dated since my Writer's Market is old - like I said before, I haven't freelanced in about five years now). That being said, I did the bulk of my publishing in the martial arts, mostly because that's where my passion is. I wrote for the love of the research of the art, still do in fact, not so much for the money. For some of us, we have to write. It's somewhere between a calling and a therapy. ;)