Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Selling Reprints with Deborah Walker - Part 2

Today we're privileged to have author and long-time W1S1er Deborah Walker back to school us on the wonders of submitting reprints. Take it away, Deborah!

This is the second post on reprints. The first post can be found here. The take home message was more submissions will probably lead to more sales.

This post comes with the same privoso. Every writer is different. You mileage will vary. And if you disagree with me, do feel free to comment, because I'm interested in different opinions.

So after having made 67 reprint sales this year. (Yes, it's gone up from the last post). I thought I'd share my process with you. This is how I make my reprint sales, I hope you'll find it interesting.

Selecting a Reprint Venue

Once you've found your reprint venue, you've got to make a decision where to submit to first. I think about these things when I'm deciding (and probably some more, which I've forgot):

  • Pay* 
  • Speed* of editorial response
  • Acceptance rate*
  • Fit 
  • Reprint rights requested
  • Prestige 
  • Story illustration (I love, love, love someone illustrating my work)
  • Whether or not you've sold there before
* You can sort a Grinder search for these three criteria

On pay

Some writers feel strongly about pay. I don't mind what you do. I say do what you must to keep your writing life happy and motivated. I tend to like to get paid. Exceptions might be when it's for a charity anthology, or for a friend, or there's good art, or its a poem or micro work, or I feel like it.
It's your call.

But my pay for reprints has ranged from 0-7 cents per word or a set amount (f'instance $25 for any story length). 1 cent a word is what you might get paid if you get published in a anthology from a reputable publisher. Personally, I consider 3 cents and above to be a very good rate for reprints.

On fit

One criteria you will probably use, is your sense of how well your particular story will sell at a venue. If you've sold to that venue before, it means that the editor likes your work. So send them so more.
Otherwise, I can offer no help.
I'm particularly bad at judging whether or not my stories will sell. A fact that I find peculiar.
So I'll say this. Of course, send appropriate material to appropriate venues. Don't send high fantasy to a hard SF venue. But  don't self-reject.

If  I see a themed anthology that accepts reprints, I'll often spend some time looking through my list of available reprint and thinking really hard about what might fit. No kidding. It's not always immediately obvious. I've certainly made sales for stories that I've had to think hard about before deciding it fits the theme.

On rights

It's not unusual for a venue to state in their guidelines that they accept reprints but not to specify what kind of reprint rights they're looking for.
When you get the contract the venue might have asked for:

Exclusive reprint rights (meaning that you can't sell the reprint again for a determined time)
Non-exclusive reprint rights. (meaning you can sell the reprint again immediately).

I'm often not in a position to sell exclusive reprint rights, because I'll have sold these with the first sale (some venues take first rights and non-exclusive reprint rights so that they can produce a end of year anthology)

This has happened to me a few times. I've always written back to the editor, explained, and the contract has been amended in an amicable way.


How to Make a Reprint Sub

In the normal way. I prefer to write a very succinct cover letter. Don't forget to add when and where the story was first published and that you own reprint rights.

Submission Strategy Suggestions

Some things you might find useful. Mileage will vary for some of these.

  • Keep good records. I just keep lists in Word document, but other people like databases
  • Decide the number of reprint subs you want out,then never allow yourself to drop below that number.
  • Make reprint submissions frequently, so that you don't miss venues and so that you have to have a whole day subbing.
  • Do your writing first. Make subs when your brain is firing on a less creative setting. 

Here's one I made earlier: 'Sibyl' in Fantastic Stories of the Imagination 2014

And I have more to say about reprints. I didn't realise there was so much to say. 

After a twenty-year period of procrastination, Deborah Walker started to write in autumn 2008. She's managed a few hundred acceptances since then. She writes all types of science fiction, horror and fantasy, poetry and short stories. She currently lives in London with her partner and two lovely, yet distracting, young children. Find her either in the British Museum, trawling the past for future ideas, on her blog or Twitter: @deboree

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Week #42 Weigh-in

The end of Week 42 is upon us!

How's it been for you? Have the words been hotter than Fahrenheit 451, or has The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms gotten in the way? Here's your chance to tell everybody about it, whether you're a weekly or monthly (or anything in between) W1S1 participant.

If you've managed to write a story and submit a story, shout it from the rooftops. Yahoo! If you've had something W1S1-related accepted, tell us so we can add you to the Write1Sub1 Hall of Fame. But if stuff has interfered with your writing and every reply has been a rejection, let us know that too so we can commiserate. We're all in this together.

This year, we have cool forms for reporting our acceptances and paid publications. (Thanks to Jeff Chapman for keeping us organized.)

Please report ONLY accepted/published stories that you wrote as part of your participation in W1S1 (2011-2014).

(Please note that reports will not immediately appear, as they must be verified/processed by the weekly moderator) 

While W1S1 continues to encourage all avenues for publication, we want to especially highlight those stories and markets that help to put protein-rich snacks in a writer's fridge. 

Even if you have no acceptance or publication news to report, please update us on your week's progress in the comments. Successes and failures, triumphs and disasters, brilliant ideas and insane dreams: we want to read all about them.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Selling Reprints with Deborah Walker

Today we're privileged to have author and long-time W1S1er Deborah Walker school us on the wonders of submitting reprints. Take it away, Deborah!


What's a reprint?


When you sell a short story to a venue you'll usually sell first rights with or without a exclusivity period. This means that once any exclusivity period is over, you're free to sell the story to another venue as a reprint. Between zero and 12 months are common exclusivity periods.

Occasionally a venue will ask for all rights. That means you won't be able to resell your story as a reprint. That's your call. But remember that you can negotiate. I know of one short story publisher who requests to buy all rights as as standard, but who will immediately offer a first rights contract if the writer queries.

Once the period of exclusivity is over, you're free to sell your story again. Now the fun begins.

How to Sell Reprints: What do I do?


I used to think that reprints were a hard sell. I'd send out an occasional reprint submission, get rejected and wait a few months before I sent another. But this year I've made 64 reprint sales.That's about double the amount of original stories I've sold.

These two blog posts discuss how I make reprint sales. Every writer's different. But I hope you find it interesting to read a jobbing writer's process.

So, how do I do it? I make a lot of reprint submissions. That's the take home message. More submissions means, for me, more acceptances.

Following a submission challenge from writing group I've upped my number of subs this year. At any one time I've got out 40-50 original stories on sub and 40-50 reprints.

You know that every writer is different, right? I'm prolific. I have a big bag of stories to offer as reprints. But if you have less stories, fret not. There are still things you could do, particularly sending to non-English subs where you can send the same reprint to more than one market. I'll do a case study in part II.

You can't sell if you don't sub, except when you:

Sell without Subbing

  • Editor request: Sometimes editors will contact me and ask for a reprint. For pity's sake make sure you have contact information on your blog so that an editor can contact you. (I speak from experience here) A bibliography with links is nice, too.  
  • Count everything. Sometimes I'll sell a story and the venue will request non-exclusive anthology rights. I always count these. That's your call. It motivates me to tally up the number of sales. 

What kind of story sells as a reprint?

  • I don't know. I only know what I've sold. That's: science fiction, horror and fantasy short stories and poems, drabbles and tweets, stories at flash length <1000 words, and at short story length (in my case 1-5K)
  • Test assumptions. I recently heard a writer say: 'Reprint flash is an extremely hard sell." And I thought: Not really. Most of my reprints sales have been flash.
  • Once I've found a story that sells at reprint, I tend to send it out again. My story 'Unmovable Sky' f'instance has been sold around half a dozen times (podcast, English language and non-English language venues, science fiction and literary venues, sold as part of a gallery show). The fact that I've sold it as a reprint before doesn't seem to stop it selling again #nojinx

Finding Reprint Venues 

  • Submission Grinder is my first port of call. You can search by reprint markets. A search on SF reprint paying token rate and above gives me 44 results. But I'd also suggest that you:
  • Check guidelines. Sometimes the information on reprints is incorrect on Grinder, or has been supplemented, or has changed. If I find incorrect information, I'll drop Grinder a note.
  • Sometimes Grinder states that a venue doesn't take reprints because the venues guidelines don't mention them. In which case I'll drop the editor a polite e-mail and ask. Then I'll drop Grinder a note.  
  • Consider also going outside your genre. I've sold genre fiction sales to literary and to general reprint venues.
  • Consider podcasts.
  • Doug Smith's Foreign Market List. A resource for non-English venue markets who will translate and publish your story. Because you are offering different language rights, you can send the same story to many different venues.
  • Keep your ears open. If I hear about a reprint sale, I'll often go to the venue and check it out. 
  • Reach out to editors. If you know of an anthology that's perhaps invite only, you might like to contact the editor and ask if you can send them something. I've done this a few times, with reasonable success. I ought to do it more.
Here's one I made earlier: 'Drink Deep and Long the Circean Poison' in Strange Constellations 2014

In Part II, I'll talk about how to select a venue, pay, rights and subbing strategies.

After a twenty-year period of procrastination, Deborah Walker started to write in autumn 2008. She's managed a few hundred acceptances since then. She writes all types of science fiction, horror and fantasy, poetry and short stories. She currently lives in London with her partner and two lovely, yet distracting, young children. Find her either in the British Museum, trawling the past for future ideas, on her blog or Twitter: @deboree


Sunday, October 12, 2014

Week #41 Weigh-in

The end of Week 41 is upon us!

How's it been for you? Have the words flowed like Dandelion Wine, or has Something Wicked gotten in the way? Here's your chance to tell everybody about it, whether you're a weekly or monthly (or anything in between) W1S1 participant.

If you've managed to write a story and submit a story, shout it from the rooftops. Yahoo! If you've had something W1S1-related accepted, tell us so we can add you to the Write1Sub1 Hall of Fame. But if stuff has interfered with your writing and every reply has been a rejection, let us know that too so we can commiserate. We're all in this together.

This year, we have cool forms for reporting our acceptances and paid publications. (Thanks to Jeff Chapman for keeping us organized.)

Please report ONLY accepted/published stories that you wrote as part of your participation in W1S1 (2011-2014).

(Please note that reports will not immediately appear, as they must be verified/processed by the weekly moderator) 

While W1S1 continues to encourage all avenues for publication, we want to especially highlight those stories and markets that help to put new eBooks on a writer's eReader. 

Even if you have no acceptance or publication news to report, please update us on your week's progress in the comments. Successes and failures, triumphs and disasters, brilliant ideas and insane dreams: we want to read all about them.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Week #40 Weigh-in

The end of Week 40 is upon us!

How's it been for you? Have the words flowed Quicker than the Eye, or has A Sound of Thunder gotten in the way? Here's your chance to tell everybody about it, whether you're a weekly or monthly (or anything in between) W1S1 participant.

If you've managed to write a story and submit a story, shout it from the rooftops. Yahoo! If you've had something W1S1-related accepted, tell us so we can add you to the Write1Sub1 Hall of Fame. But if stuff has interfered with your writing and every reply has been a rejection, let us know that too so we can commiserate. We're all in this together.

This year, we have cool forms for reporting our acceptances and paid publications. (Thanks to Jeff Chapman for keeping us organized.)

Please report ONLY accepted/published stories that you wrote as part of your participation in W1S1 (2011-2014).

(Please note that reports will not immediately appear, as they must be verified/processed by the weekly moderator) 

While W1S1 continues to encourage all avenues for publication, we want to especially highlight those stories and markets that help to put coffee or tea in a writer's favorite mug. 

Even if you have no acceptance or publication news to report, please update us on your week's progress in the comments. Successes and failures, triumphs and disasters, brilliant ideas and insane dreams: we want to read all about them.