'Tampa Bay Parenting' magazine steals work

It seems even decade-old publications are not above thievery.
  1. May 2014 - Author submits freelance article on spec to Tampa Bay Parenting magazine. "Please will you let me know if it is of interest?"

  2. No response from magazine

  3. August 2014 - Author follows up with a message to check status of the submission.

  4. No response from magazine

  5. December 2014 - Magazine publishes article under author's by-line. Author is not informed, no permission is obtained, no rights are sought and no compensation is given.

  6. February 2015 - Author comes across published article in a Google search. Even now allowing the magazine the benefit of doubt, author emails magazine editor informing the article has been published without prior or subsequent intimation and requesting her to "contact me to discuss how best to go forward from here."

  7. Editor responds saying the magazine receives "hundreds of articles a month from writers who want us to publish their work. What is it that you want?" Note that editor does not apologise and even at this stage does not offer compensation. It appears editor doesn't see anything wrong in what happened.

  8. Author points out the magazine did not bother to get in touch about its interest in the article and should pay for its use. Author asks for $X.

  9. Editor says the publication pays $Y for freelance articles, which they are ready to pay.
    $Y is only 16% of $X.

  10. Author says the editor is not in a strong position to bargain, given that the article has already run. If $Y was being offered, it should have been at the time of publication. [Author would have declined it even then and attempted to negotiate.] The violation would not even have been discovered had the author not seen it by chance. [And the magazine would have gotten away with paying nothing and answering to no one.] Author expresses willingness to negotiate to a "realistic" amount.

  11. Editor says $Y is "all we can offer."

  12. Author declines $Y and points out that editor did not really "offer" anything at all. Author warns of bad publicity and invoices editor for $Z, which is 70% of $X.

  13. No response from editor

  14. Author writes off the loss, warns others, and moves on.

At no point does the magazine editor accept or admit that taking another person's work and publishing it without informing them is deceitful and unethical. And this is a publication that displays the notice "No Reproduction Without Permission" on its own website!

While it is an unfortunate fact that several magazines do not pay their contributors, it is up to the contributors to decide if they wish to pursue publication in such venues, and the magazine cannot take away that right of choice without falling foul of the law. It is certainly not fair to other magazines that honestly and ethically pay for what they use.


  1. Enjoyed the read. Guess this was not first time they've gone away with it. Quite possible too that a few other writers who challenged them simply settled for $Y, which by the way simply emboldened them to do it again next time (they won't know!).

    1. Lady E, Thanks so much for the moral support. It was a very difficult experience! I count several editors amongst my friends, but every once in a while, this kind of a person comes along and makes me think anew that we writers need to stick together! :)