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Maximising Writing Markets

For any writer, acceptances from editors are their first priority, in the beginning, but the bottom line needs to be that you want to get paid for your efforts as well.

                                

As a  writer, you may be unsure about which area you want to specialize in.  Do you write books, short fiction, poems or what?  When I started out, I wanted to try everything, and did, but like many others, I began to find that one particular area of writing seemed more comfortable to me than others, namely non-fiction.

For any writer, acceptances from editors are their first priority, in the beginning, but the bottom line needs to be that you want to get paid for your efforts as well. This may seem like an insurmountable hurdle, for a beginner, but there is an obvious place to look, and your home will be full of it. If you have the innate curiosity that afflicts most writers, you will love the idea of digging deep for information on any topic, and that fact can serve you well.

Every magazine and newspaper that you pick up is full of articles about everything you can possibly imagine, and the editors are always hungry for more. In all honesty, non-fiction articles are the real bread and butter providers for many writers, if they are wise enough to take advantage of the fact that there is a vast marketplace for your work out there, a whole world of editors seeking good copy. 

 

Since you own the copyright to your work, then you are free to sell it many times over, but you need to be aware that First publishing rights are the most valuable, in terms of earnings.  For that reason, it makes sense to cast your net worldwide when it comes to querying editors. Each country can potentially be another market, and the fierce competition out there makes more sensible these days to try selling to editors in several countries at once.

It isn’t as difficult to find these potential markets as you might imagine, because there are a host of web sites that offer regular, free newsletters specifically meant to offer global market information. Writing articles depends heavily on good research, and most writers I know use the internet a great deal for this purpose.  Surfing the net costs money, of course, but if you find a good reference site, it can be made cheaper. I recommend REFDESK – http://www.refdesk.com/mag.html.

There are lots of good online writing magazines, many of which feature markets heavily. I subscribe to over a dozen, and among the most informative are WRITERS WEEKLY http://www.writersweekly.com   and FUNDS FOR WRITERS – http://www.chopeclark.com , though and WORLDWIDE FREELANCE WRITER – http://www.worldwidefreelance.com  are also excellent.

Most offer free subscription, and the latest news on a weekly basis, so it is well worth sending time searching for these sites, most of which will be listed on the reference sites I have already mentioned.  Of course you might think that the idea you originally had for your article was a one-off, and that once it was written that was the end of it, but that need not be true at all. One topic can provide a host of approaches, if you think about it.

Your article was probably slanted at a particular market in a specific country, but the idea for it is far from used up.  For example – I wrote an article on Salt.  I’d noticed an interesting piece in one of the many magazines that I read, containing much interesting information, and various reference places, including some on the web. I did some research, downloaded several pages of information, and set to work.

My original intention was to submit this piece to a magazine in Ireland – ‘Ireland’s Own’, which welcomes such things, and it was indeed accepted – payment about $60.  It occurred to me that, with the information on hand, I could re-write the piece somewhat, with the emphasis on the English angle, so I did.  It was then ‘put on file for possible use’ by an English publication!

This excited my imagination, and I re-visited the reference sites, with a view to another re-write with the emphasis on the USA.  This piece was accepted by ‘The Elks magazine’ in the States for their November 2000 issue – payment $330.  Needless to say, I haven’t finished with it yet. After all, there are a lot of countries to go at!

ANY kind of writing will lend itself to this same treatment, and these days, I never do research for articles, or stories, without considering the reference information available which relates to different parts of the world.  To date I’ve sold about a dozen pieces more than once, simply because I amended each to target markets in different countries.

Of course you can use a search engine like ‘ASK JEEVES’ (UK)  – http://www.ask.com , but remember that these will often find many thousands of reference links ( I got 2.5 Million on hypnotherapy!) and you need to do a lot of scratching around!  I haven’t yet found a subject of interest that couldn’t be thoroughly researched in this way, though I do also use the library a lot, and I avidly scour newspapers and magazines for inspiration.

 

Do keep good track of your submissions. I’ve set up a database in my computer – what the piece is –when and where submitted – response time – eventual outcome and sale value. This is backed up on floppy and hard copy, and amended regularly. Otherwise, I’d never know where I was up to, as the same piece (in differing forms) can be with several editors around the world at the same time!

You should also put a limit on waiting for responses from editorial staff.  We all know that they’re busy people, but, as a rule of thumb, I send a reminder letter if I haven’t heard within two months. Another possibility is to post your work on a site that links editors and writers, to save on the costs of multiple submissions. Better still, create your own website, with examples of your work and contact details.  This can really help to get you noticed.

Every piece of writing has the potential for recycling and reselling, so you need to dig out those previously sold pieces and take another look at them.  This is one of the most basic survival tips for a modern writer.  The worldwide market is much bigger than you might imagine, and editors are always hungry for fresh ideas.

 

This was a lesson I learned through trial and error over several years, but since I began to implement these plans, I have never looked back. Every piece you write will, in time, be worth its weight in gold if you only approach it in the correct manner.  Editors across the globe are always on the hunt for good pieces to fill their publications.

This same rule can apply to fiction works as well.  It is all simply a case of researching your market opportunities well, and having the courage of your convictions.  If you want to make a name for yourself as a writer, does it really matter in which part of the world that starts to happen?  Hardly, and the wider you cast your net, the greater your chances of success. Make use of the tips you’ve found here, and you’ll discover that for yourself.  Now go to it!

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