I'm fortunate enough to be closely connected with a great new magazine for writers called Words with JAM. Each issue includes Question Corner, where I answer questions sent in by writers.
In the first issue of Words with JAM, Sean from Liverpool asked: What are first serial rights? And are they global?
First Serial Rights are given to a publication the first time that work appears in print. FSR are used up regardless of whether or not any payment has been made. They are country specific, which means you can sell FSR on the same piece of work several times – for example, to South Africa, the UK, the USA and Australia.
Some magazines ask for World Rights, but you should only accept this condition if the fee paid compensates for the amount you would lose on the various country specific FSR you could have exploited.
It is possible to sell Second Serial Rights on a piece of work that has previously appeared in print, as some editors will accept reprints, but you need to state up front that only SSR are available.
The subject of rights is quite a complex one and needs more space than this column has available. A full article on rights will appear in the next issue of Words with Jam – so subscribe to the free online magazine now by going to the Words with JAM website.
If you have a writing-related question you can send it to: firstname.lastname@example.org