by Gini Graham Scott, Ph.D., J.D.
Copyright © Gini Graham Scott
This article is available for personal distribution to individuals as long as you distribute the full article and provide full credit, including the short bio at the end of the article and this announcement. But it is not for publication in either print publications or on other websites without written permission.
Would you like to see an article, series of articles, or columns you have written not only published in one publication, magazine, Internet ezine or blog, but in many? How do you syndicate what you have written?
One approach is to promote a single article based on a book you have written or find a focus for a series of articles or columns, so you present yourself as an expert in a particular area. If you have already published a book or are doing speaking, workshops, seminars, or consulting in this area, this is a good place to focus.
A good first step is to get your article, articles, or columns published someplace, even if you do it for free or for a small amount. This way you get the ball rolling by getting some visibility and building your credibility. You are not just submitting an unpublished manuscript or collection of manuscripts for a proposed column or article series (the usual guideline is to submit five sample columns) – but you already have a published article, column, or article series to show. That buys you a more serious look from the get-go.
At one time, there were syndicates handling sales to newspapers and they would handle the sales for you and generally split 50-50. However, with the decline of newspapers and the rise of hundreds of thousands of writers offering free content on sites like EzineArticles (www.ezinearticles.com), just about any syndication is for writers of a particular newspaper or long established columnists like “Dear Abby,” so essentially you have to do self-syndication. You are also more likely to get your articles published if you offer them for free in return for a bio and link to your website, although some writers can still get $10-35 for some articles, particularly if they have a high profile.
This article will focus on how to use this two-step process of first getting your article, column, or article series published and then sending out your material to other publications.
Getting Your Column or Article Published
While it might be nice to get top payment for an article, if you are planning to syndicate it, don’t expect to get what writers often get for sole rights or first rights articles – such as $1 a word or more in top markets; 50-75c a word in others. More typically, if you get anything, syndicated articles sell for about $10-25 for an article in the 700-1000 word range, or even less, with the sale typically based on only first time rights for that particular market.
You will commonly get more response, if you offer your article in return for bio or promotional material at the end of an article,My suggestion to improve your ability to get your articles published is be willing to accept whatever publishing deals you can get, since it is more important to BE PUBLISHED at this stage than to be paid, as long as you are published in a fairly reputable publication. You can then use that publication as leverage in finding other publishers to reprint your article.
For instance, try your nearest major city newspaper or a local weekly. Focus on getting two publications if you can, and if the first publisher wants to run your article series for free in return for bio information about you, do it. That publication will help you get the next publisher, and perhaps this next publisher will be willing to pay. If so, take into consideration the relative circulation of the different publications in setting your price, and be willing to negotiate down if necessary, since it is still more important to be published than to be paid well or at all.
For example, that’s what I did with a column that was syndicated in a dozen papers, including the Oakland Tribune and L.A. Downtown News. When I first approached the Oakland Tribune, the publisher at first turned it down because he didn’t want to pay for an outside column. So I offered to do the column in return for a bio of about 50 words, and the publisher agreed to run my column not only run in the Tribune but in 10 other East Bay papers. The Trib wanted first rights for this market, but meanwhile, I could pitch the column anywhere else.
Then, with that agreement in place, I proposed the column to the L.A. Downtown News, a daily paper looking for lifestyle and career articles to appeal to about 50,000 business and professional people in the downtown L.A. area, and eventually I got $20 each for 13 articles, rather than $35 for just one.
Getting Copies of Your Column or Article/Series
Once you have a publisher or two, the next step is using your published article, columns, or series of articles. Thus, instead of pitching a single article, wait for at least 4 and preferably 5 columns in one publication, and as many as appear by that time in the other. When these articles appear, cut out and scan the copies in a print publication or download copies from an online edition. You can also copy the links to the online article, though sometimes these articles will be removed after a time.
If you are using clips, paste them up neatly with the masthead or name of the publication and the date. Then, you can scan them into a GIF or JPEG file and open that up in a word processing program (such as Word) which you can print out. If you use an online version, download the publication masthead and your article into a word processing or publishing program and print that out.
You are now ready to send samples of your already published article, column, or article series, along with a cover letter. The easiest way today is to send a short cover letter by email with a copy of a sample article at the end, and links to other articles online. Or offer to send additional articles with in a Word or PDF file. In your letter, include a short bio and if you have a website or more extensive bio online, include a link to that. In this bio, highlighting your expertise in the area which is the subject of your material along with any extensive press you have gotten.
Sending Queries to Editors
When you send a query, send it to the editor who handles that type of material. For instance, if it’s a business article, send it to a business editor; if it’s a lifestyle article, send it to the lifestyle editor. Once you have a request to send the material for your article, columns, or series of articles, send them.
Use a multiple query approach since this increases your chances of finding an interested editor. With multiple syndicates expressing interest at this early stage, you can be more selective in whom to send additional information.
You can find out who to contact by checking the masthead of print publications or the contact section of online newspapers, magazines, ezines, and blogs. Another source is a subscription service such as Cision (http://us.cision.com), which is usually used by PR people to send out press releases. But it also works for sending out queries to editors about articles, though it is expensive – about $4000 a year. Or for a single query, you can use a service such as Publishers, Agents, and Films (www.publishersageantsandfilms.com), which I established for both sending out press releases and query letters.
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