Hooray! I got some free money yesterday…by “free money” I mean Highlights for Children sold reprint rights to one my stories and I got a check out of the blue again. I love when that happens! This was a big one, too — 2 1/2 times what Highlights originally paid me for that story.
I know a lot of people who won’t write for Highlights because they take all rights. And you can’t negotiate that out of the contract. I know because I’ve tried. I’ve been successful with other magazines that initially wanted all rights. I’ve gotten other magazines to agree to “one time rights” or even “magazine rights.” But Highlights doesn’t budge on that.
It used to bother me more than it does now. That’s because I’ve made a lot of money on reprints of stories I’ve had in Highlights. And let’s be honest…stories that appear in Highlights get a lot of exposure. I wish they didn’t take all rights, but at least they give me half the money when they sell reprint rights. It also helped to go to Chautauqua and meet the people from Highlights and Boyds Mills Press. They really are good people who care about children’s literature. They explained their all rights policy during that conference — I still don’t like it, but they made a good case for why they do it.
I won’t sell all rights to any other magazine. When you sell all rights to a publisher, they don’t have to give you anything when they sell reprint rights. That’s why it troubles me that the Cricket Group now wants all rights. I’ve made a lot of money on reprint rights to stories I’ve published in Cricket and Spider, too…in some cases, ten times what I was originally paid…and that free money just keeps on coming. I’m still getting checks for a story I had published in Cricket nine years ago. Is the Cricket Group planning to continue to pass that money on to authors who sign all rights contracts? I don’t know. I’ve only sent them one story since they instituted this new policy. They bought the story, and they did agree to give me the old contract when I balked at the new terms. But there have been even more changes there since then, so I don’t know if I would still be successful negotiating with them.
Never turn down an opportunity to get some free money later on…