First and foremost, you need to decide if the content should be submitted for upfront or not. You can click here for info on that subject.
Once you've decided if the content meets the standards and requirements for upfront pay, then you need to decide which rights you would like.
- Exclusive - This means that the content belongs only to AC now. You cannot reuse the content or republish it anywhere else.
- Non-Exclusive - This means you retain the rights to your content. AC is allowing you to display your content on their site and earn money but you can reuse the article, post or sell it to other sites if you want. However, you can't remove the article. See Display Only below.
- Display Only - Don't get Display Only and Non-Exclusive confused. Display Only cannot be used if you're going to submit for upfront. Display Only is the only option where you not only retain the rights to your work but also can remove it from the site at your leisure.
I started on AC publishing everything as Exclusive. Why? Because at the time, I really couldn't see that I would have a need for it otherwise. I could make more money by offering it as Exclusive, right?
While others may disagree, I have never seen a significant difference in upfront pay between offering content for exclusive and offering content non-exclusive. Beyond that, I later got a gig as an associate editor for a parenting site. When I realized that I could've reused my parenting articles that I'd published on AC if I'd only offered them non-exclusive, I could've kicked myself. I could've made more money off those articles by retaining the rights then I could have by offering it exclusive to AC. It is my advice that when submitting for upfront, you chose non-exclusive. You never know what situation or gig you'll get in the future where you can make more money from those articles. I, myself, used to run a site and was constantly on the lookout for articles on AC that I could display on it. I would write the contributor, offer money for the article if the rights were non-exclusive or display only, and was shocked at how many people didn't know that I wouldn't be able to use the article if it was exclusive. They lost out on the money I was offering.
Okay, so exclusive and non-exclusive is covered. What about Display Only? In situations where you can't get upfront for an article (like for creative writing, poetry, opinion, reviews), I would suggest offering those for Display Only. This way, you have the power to remove them at some point in the future should you need or want to.