PUBLISHING IN MAGAZINES
The golden days of the great general circulation magazines-- Collier's, Look, The Saturday Evening Post, the weekly Life--are gone, probably forever. Gone with them, unfortunately, are large writer's fees and expense accounts. Today the newsstands are inundated with a bewildering variety of special interest magazines. Most of these depend largely on work by freelance writers. A few pay well, but most are downright miserly. Nevertheless, many writers remain interested in magazine work. Beginners often find it much easier to sell a piece to a magazine than to interest a publisher in a book-length work. Experienced writers rely on magazines and journals to provide supplementary income and exposure between books. And all sorts of writers find magazines a useful test bed for ideas they hope will later grow into longer works.
Whatever your reason for writing for magazines, it's important that you understand the legal relationships between you and your publisher. The legal issues you must understand and the decisions you will have to make are very much like those you encounter in book publishing. Generally, though, you will be pleased to know their number is fewer and they tend to be less complex.
There are two main avenues to magazine sales. Each has very different legal implications. First, you may be a staff writer or contributing editor. If you are, you probably have a contractual relationship with the magazine that employs you. You receive a salary or a negotiated fee for