Ask Wendy, Your Writing Questions Answered

Wendy BurtBy Wendy Burt-Thomas

Q: I was assigned an article for a national magazine. I turned in the piece and got paid, but then the magazine folded. Can I resell the article?

A: I’m assuming from your question that you sold “all rights” (as opposed to reprint rights, in which case you wouldn’t need to ask this question). Based on that assumption, you’ll have to look at your contract to see if you sold the rights to the magazine or the publisher. One publisher could own several magazines (or several hundred!), so a contract with a publisher that is still in existence is still a good contract. A contract with a magazine that no longer exists, however, means there’s no entity left to own the rights to publish your work. (With that said, I’m no contracts attorney, so when in doubt, try to reach your former editor to ask.) Even if you did sell it to the publisher, you may be able to get permission to resell the piece if it was never printed in the magazine.


The Writer's Digest Guide to Query Letters by Wendy Burt-ThomasWendy Burt-Thomas is a full-time freelance writer, editor and copywriter with more than 1,000 published pieces. Her work has appeared in such varied publications as MSNBC.com, NYTimes.com, Family Circle and American Fitness. She is the author of three books: Oh, Solo Mia! The Hip Chick’s Guide to Fun for One (McGraw-Hill, 2001); Work It, Girl! 101 Tips for the Hip Working Chick (McGraw-Hill, 2003); and The Writer’s Digest Guide to Query Letters (Writer’s Digest, 2008). Visit her at http://www.GuideToQueryLetters.com or her blog, http://askWendy.wordpress.com.

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