I was looking at guest blogging for another site. They do good work and it would be a way to gain visibility and reputation as an author.
But on reading the fine print, they want exclusive rights to any content I give them.
- they can edit it as they see fit, without informing me.
- I can never use the writing anywhere else.
- they can produce it in any way they want.
In exchange, I gain visibility and affiliate income.
I'm not sure how to feel about this. If it was print media, I would be fine with agreeing never to use the material elsewhere. But I like the idea that I can take a paragraph I publish one place, edit and incorporate it into another work, then give citation back to the original place I published it.
But online media with them being able to edit anything I write without my approving the edits... Why would this be something a site would want to do? Is there any way this works to my advantage? Maybe I'm just being suspicious.
I agree with Tyler and am very suspicious too and it sounds like a terribly one-sided agreement. I believe that if it's your material, you should have the right to edit as you see fit, use anywhere you desire, and publish it anyway you choose. I think they should be honored to have your work. I couldn't imagine a songwriter relinquishing all rights to a song they wrote.
"Study books and observe nature; if they do not agree, throw away the books." ~ William A. Albrecht
They are exercising far too much editorial control over your copy. I can begrudgingly allow a skilled editor to write a new headline, but to alter the copy for anything other than style is not something that a respected journalistic outlet should do. I'm not familiar with the outlet to which you're referring, but I know many blogs simply lifted the editorial policy from some other source and used it going forward. It's possible they may be open to negotiation for your content in a private agreement. I would approach them on that point and if they were inflexible, I would not contribute to the outlet. Here's the editorial policy I use when I publish my blog and magazines:
Xxxxxxx’s editor happily accepts by-lined editorial submissions with the right of final editing for style and length. Submitted editorial content remains the intellectual property of the submitting author. Editorial and graphical content of Xxxxxxxx may not be used in any form, printed or digital, without permission of the editor and requires attribution.