Over the years Ive spoken to a number of authors who say they aspire to write a syndicated column. Getting syndicated is a great idea, albeit a challenging one. If youve thought of this no doubt most (if not all) of your competition has too. But dont let this discourage you, while syndication may take a while, its still worth pursuing.
There are a number of tried and true ways you can enter this market, there are also a few back door methods that might work equally as good. The first thing youll need to do however is get to know your competition. For this I recommend that you get a copy of The Editor & Publisher Annual Directory of Syndication. Sometimes you can get this in bookstores but Id recommend just ordering it online at www.editorandpublisher.com. Explore this book carefully and youll find that syndicated columns are listed by both the syndicated service that offers them as well as their topic. This will give you a good starting point in your research and since most newspapers now have on-line archives, youll be able to explore past articles and see how these topics differ from your own.
Once youve explored this, define for yourself how your topic/angle is different from the ones you found during your research. Then once youve defined this, you can start targeting papers or syndication services with your query letter and sample articles. This is the traditional way of entering this market. For most it can be long and tedious and you might find that without prior clippings to offer them, the process takes even longer. In that vein, Id recommend that you try offering your column locally first or to one paper at a time but not in a syndication deal but as a filler, newspapers will be a lot quicker to take filler items than to explore syndication options with you. By offering them consistent filler content (and saving those valuable clippings) youll start to grow your level of experience, youll build a reputation with the editor or editorial staff and youll begin to get a sense of what does and doesnt work with printed media. An associate of mine did this, not with a local paper but with a paper shed been offering her articles to, after about two years of consistent submission she may be in line to fill the shoes of their in-house syndicated columnist who is retiring.
Once you have build some exposure for yourself and gathered clippings of your work, then its time to start pitching your topic to syndicated services (some of them are listed below) or regional newspapers. For this youll need a great query letter establishing your credentials and explaining why your idea is different from the others they might be considering, youll need some sample articles (other than your clippings) and perhaps some letters of reference from some papers youve worked for. Submit this packet to newspapers or syndicated services that might be appropriate to your topic and then keep good records and do your follow-up just like you would if you were pitching the media on anything else. The same rules apply really, pitch and follow-up and stay on their radar screen.
So, at the end of the day when you find yourself successfully syndicated will you get paid for all your hard work absolutely! What youll get paid varies depending on how many papers feature you and whether you are working through a syndication service. Syndication services are great but they will typically take 40 to 50 percent of your sales. If you self-syndicate you get all the proceeds. While its great to do this, keep in mind that youll need to have good tracking systems in place once your column takes off.
As an already published author, syndication can be another great way to promote you and your book. Your book will lend you the credibility you need to get that column and from this ongoing printed exposure some lucrative publishing deals could follow suit. Syndication may not be an easy road but if tackled correctly, can be a great way to boost your promotion, expand your platform and get the kind of exposure you only ever dreamed of!
Major syndicates check online for their submission guidelines
Copley News Service
Universal Press Syndicate
BONUS TIP: If youre trying to follow the comings and goings of syndicated writers, Editor and Publisher (www.editorandpublisher) is a great resource for that. Check out the Departments tab on their web site for the latest news on columns that might be coming available!
About the author:
Penny C. Sansevieri
The Cliffhanger was published in June of 2000. After a strategic marketing campaign it quickly climbed
the ranks at Amazon.com to the ##1 best selling book in San Diego. Her most recent book: No More Rejections. Get Published Today! was released in July of 2003 to rave reviews. Penny is a book marketing and media relations specialist. She also coaches authors on projects, manuscripts and marketing plans and instructs a variety of coursing on publishing and promotion. To learn more about her books or her promotional services, you can visit her web site at www.amarketingexpert.comTo subscribe to her free ezine, send a blank email to: mailto:email@example.com
Copyright ã 2004 Penny C. Sansevieri