When you have a great story idea, it can be frustrating to wait for a publisher to accept or reject it before sending it out to another. That process could take weeks, so it makes sense for you to pitch your idea to multiple publishers at once. However, make sure to follow these best practices for doing so:
1. Communicate with all your publishers.
When you pitch your story to a publisher, let them know that you’re sending the idea out to others as well. Be honest and open about how you operate as a freelancer and how you want to pursue the subject.
2. Know who owns the rights.
When you’re pitching a story and negotiating rates, you need to be aware of who will own the rights to the story concept and the footage produced. If you do want to pitch a similar story to a new publisher, make sure that you have the right to do so and get both the previous and new publishers’ permissions. On Storyhunter, the publisher retains rights to the story per our Independent Contractor Services Agreement, so we strongly advise that you don’t pitch a story to a publisher if you’ve produced it before.
3. Be transparent.
Always be transparent with both new publishers, and any publishers you have worked with previously about a subject. Even if you are shooting entirely new footage and covering the story from a different angle, it’s best to let all parties know that you have already covered the subject, or will be covering it again. If they ask whether you’re pitching your story to others, tell them the truth.
4. Rescind your pitch when it’s accepted.
Your pitch is finally accepted by a publisher! Now let everyone else you’ve pitched it to know that you are rescinding your idea as it’s been commissioned by another party.
5. Don’t tarnish your reputation.
Basically, don’t break or fudge the rules of a contract. If you reuse a story when you’re not supposed to, you’ll damage your reputation as a freelancer, making it harder to get commissions in the future. Just as you have to trust that publishers won’t steal your ideas, they need to be able to trust you to not sell the same story to their competitors.
By D. Simone Kovacs