Offering Rights To Your Poetry

When submitting your poetry to magazine or ezines the editors will usually stipulate what rights they acquire. I’m going to explain each of these so you’ll know exactly what they mean.

1. First Serial Rights. This means that the poem has never before been published and the poet is offering their poem for publication for the first time to the magazine.

2. One Time Rights or Simultaneous Rights means that the publication has nonexclusive rights to publish the poem once. So, basically you can submit your accepted poem to other publications at the same time. It means you retain all rights to your poem.

3. Second Serial Reprint Rights. This means that publications will accept your poetry which have been previously published elsewhere. With these rights you will have to indicate the name of the publication which first published your poem.

4. Electronic Rights. This means online magazines, CD poetry readings etc… Some online magazines also archive their issues.

5. Relinquishing all Rights. There are instances where a magazine or publisher will ask for “all rights” which means that you basically turn over your rights to the publisher and cannot publish that particular poem anywhere else. It’s not a good idea to relinquish all rights however there are instances when you can. It’s up to you. Example: Last year I entered a poetry contest where the winner received a round-trip ticket to Hong Kong. I won the contest and as a result had to give up my rights to that poem. Normally I never give up rights to my poetry but this was a free trip to Hong Kong so I gave up my rights to that particular poem. You have to do what is right for you and work with the publication on that issue. You normally won’t find many publications asking you for “all rights.”

Let me know if you have any questions regarding these rights.


Robin said…
Good information!
IcyCucky said…
Great information to know! Thanks Joanne!
Phyl said…
I took a magazine writing course 3 or 4 years ago, and at the time, there was that big court decision about the New York Times that meant the paper would have to pay royalties to people whose articles it re-used in an online or at least a CD version after initial publication in the hard copy paper. There was a similar judgement here in Canada against the Globe & Mail (which has a similar status here to what the NY Times does in the U.S.).

Do you find yourself running into similar issues with rights and payments when it comes to things like poetry?
Ratty said…
Good information once again. I've been reading quite a bit about things like this from book authors. Usually if their book is turned into a movie or TV show, they end up giving up all rights to their work for that particular forum.
betchai said…
thanks for sharing Jo, and congratulations. I think same thing with photography contest, I have not entered any contest yet, but most rules also relinquish the right to get the prize.
zorlone said…
Wow! A poem that won you a trip to Hong Kong! I hope I can write even just half as good as you. Maybe I can win a round trip ticket to the US. Of course, Hong Kong will do. hehehe

Very informative, I can't wait to use this information.

RNSANE said…
I need to copy this info and put it somewhere that I can access frequently!

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