Syndicate Your Articles For Greater Income
What Is Syndication?
Imagine that you write an article and after months of hawking that article and sending out query letters, it is finally published in a small magazine. You are paid fifty bucks for the publication rights and with your newfound riches you take your wife or husband out to dinner. You both celebrate and life is good.
Now imagine you write an article and sell it into syndication, and instead of being published in one magazine it is published in fifty newspaper markets across the country at $50 per publishing.
Forget about dinner and start making reservations for a vacation to the Bahamas!
Syndication, for lack of a better definition, is multiple publishings of one work, whether it be in magazines, newspapers or some other form of media. It can be quite lucrative and it is an avenue all writers should consider, especially those who wish to one day vacation in the Bahamas. In its most common form, it is a series of articles spread out over weeks and month. Picture in your mind recurring articles that you see in your local newspaper; often times those articles are syndicated and also appear in other newspapers across the country. Week after week, new articles appear with the same theme, and whoever the author is, he/she is probably lounging on a beach at this very moment.
If lovely beaches and tall drinks with umbrellas in them sound good to you, then read on as we look at the steps for successful syndication.
Have you tried syndication?
Step One: Get Published
Chances are excellent that you will never be syndicated unless you have been published, so send out those query letters and get someone to publish a piece of your work. I don’t care if you have to offer your article for free. We are after bigger fish than one payment for one article.
Find a niche and become the self-proclaimed spokesperson for that niche. Then get published. Check with local newspapers first and pitch the chance for them to sign on a local writer with tons of knowledge. Look at small, alternative newspapers and make sure you try the online newspapers as well. Keep at it until someone, somewhere publishes an article of yours. Once that happens your foot is in the door and we can move on to step two.
Directory of online newspapers
The largest directory of online newspapers around the world, links to more than 25,000 newspapers listed by country.
Step Two: Option One Do It Yourself
You have decided to do it yourself. You don’t want to involve syndication companies and pay them a percentage to hawk your work, so now you are going to do it yourself.
Get a list of newspapers in your country and start sending out query letters pitching your articles and syndication efforts. It is best to pitch a series of articles about one subject. Editors and publishers want to hear about the total body of work, and they love it when inches of their publication will be filled weekly with an article that they trust. Pitch a ten-article batch to them, and include in that pitch reference to your previous publication. If you are sending queries by snail mail, then copy your previously published article, including the masthead of the publication, and send that along with your query letter as proof that you have been published. If you query by email then send your published article as an attachment or link to the publication.
This is tedious work. Sending out hundreds of query letters to hundreds of newspapers is time consuming and will test the mettle of any writer, but it may pay off big time.
Remember to promise exclusivity for each market. In other words, promise that you will only sell your article to one newspaper per metro area. Don’t worry about limiting your sales by giving exclusivity. There are a lot of metro areas in your country.
What will you get paid? It will depend on the publication and how large they are. Starting out I would not expect to get more than $25 per column.
- Syndication Agencies for feature writers | Writer's Contracts
A resource – and campaign – for freelance writers and journalists
Step Two Option Two
If you don’t want to do-it-yourself, then take the easier path and try to get on with a syndication company. There are hundreds of companies across the United States who sign on writers and then they find the publications to publish your work. In other words, all you do is write and let the syndication company find the outlet for your work….for a fee of course.
Although this may sound like the simpler route to take, remember that this is a competitive business, and syndication firms do not take on all writers. You will have to send query letters to the syndication firms pitching your idea and showing them your previously published work. If they decide that you have “game” in the writing business, they will gladly be your “agent” for syndication.
A realistic view of freelancing
Step Three: Keep Writing
There are millions of writers all after the same thing: exposure. Hot names will have their moment in the sun and fall by the wayside as new writers take their place. That is the nature of the business, and it is competitive as hell and it requires you to do your part in the process. You need to write.
You need to write as if your financial future depends upon it because, well, it does.
You need to ignore failure and laugh at defeat because those are a natural part of this writing gig.
If you meet rejection with your first syndication attempt then try again. If you can wallpaper your living room with rejection slips then try again because the bedroom needs wallpapering.
And when you aren’t writing, imagine where you would like to vacation when you become syndicated.
2013 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)