Search This Blog

Monday, October 18, 2010

Double-Dip Technique #2: Write Articles and Books

I started out as a freelancer writing for magazines and newspapers, seguing into writing books a few years into my career. Later I added ghostwriting and coauthoring to my work mix. I've found that writing both articles and books makes me much more efficient and boosts my income.

Here’s the thing: I retain as many rights as possible to my work. That means I can sell reprints to articles, which results in thousands of dollars’ worth of “free” money each yeah.

But retaining rights to articles also means I can repurpose them as I see fit. So when I collaborated on a book with a client and wrote all of the fitness content, I had articles ranging from how to launch a walking program to staying motivated to work out that I owned the rights to and could use for the book. Of course I still have to rework my content to fit the book, but it’s a lot easier than starting from scratch.

Authoring articles and books about the same subject saves you time, and helps build your platform as a specialist in a particular area. When I sold my book Six-Figure Freelancing to Random House back in 2003, it garnered only a $15,000 advance. But I already had about 25 percent of the material for the book on my hard drive, from columns and articles I’d written for publications like The Writer, which meant writing the book took less time overall.

This double-dipping works in reverse, too. As I write a book, I often come up with ideas for articles. Again, I have to do some additional research and interview sources, but much of the background research is done, which saves me time. That's why writing articles and books is another of my favorite ways to double-dip.


  1. If you have some pieces that you wrote a few years ago that you would like to resell, but for whatever reason, rights were mentioned in the contract at the time, is it safe to assume you can resell them? Or should you err on the side of caution?

  2. Hi, Fiona--

    I'm confused. Did you miss a word in your post? Do you mean that reprint rights weren't mentioned in the contract? Typically whatever rights are not purchased by the buyer are available to the writer, but I'm not 100% sure if this is what you mean. Clarify for me, if you will, and I'll be happy to answer as best I can. :)

    All best,

  3. Sorry Kelly - I typed that in a hurry. I meant to say that rights were NOT mentioned in the contract. So does that mean I am ok to sell reprints?
    Of course, these are a couple of pieces from my younger, naive days in freelancing. Now I know to make sure that rights are clearly defined on paper.

  4. could a contract not mention rights? Regardless, if it didn't specify all rights or otherwise prohibit you from reselling it, you should be fine. :)