Getting One's Newspaper Column into Syndication

I write a monthly computer tips column for the St. Augustine [Florida]

Record. What would it take for me to get it into syndication?

My column, which I write as Alpha Geek, is a combination of original

tips and responses to Dear Abby-like questions. Though it's currently

a monthly feature, I've been pressing to make it a weekly. I have also

recently approached the editor of the Savannah [GA] Morning News that

his paper carry it, as well. While I suppose that I could continue

soliciting individual editors, is there not a more efficient way of

marketing my column?

My columns to date:

http://www.staugustine.com/stories/090603/bus_1782035.shtml

http://www.staugustine.com/stories/080903/bus_1722720.shtml

http://www.staugustine.com/stories/071203/bus_1663494.shtml

Clarification of Question bynautico-ga

I am aware that there are books on this subject, to wit:

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0911666257/writersmanual/104-2743190-3523951

But what I seek is guidance that's available online.



One thought on “Getting One's Newspaper Column into Syndication

  1. Dear nautico,

    Thank you for your question! Your initial self-syndication efforts are

    definitely on the right track. Since your column's already been

    printed in two publications, you already have clips and credibility on

    your side, and something solid to show potential purchasers.

    As you indicated, sending individual queries is a tedious and

    time-consuming way to bring your column to the masses. In order to

    focus on your writing rather than the boring stuff, you have two

    options from which to choose: target many newspapers with a single

    query by approaching a syndicate, OR hire someone to do the footwork

    involved with marketing your column to individual papers and

    syndicates.

    Gini Graham Scott, in "How To Get Your Column or Article Syndicated,"

    describes the advantages of syndicate affiliation.

    "Unless you want to take the time to repeatedly send queries to

    newspapers, magazines, online outlets, and other publishers and

    follow-up to make sure you get paid, look for a syndication service –

    or syndicate – to represent you. Often syndicates will take 40-50% of

    your income, but it can be worth that payment to take advantage of

    their already established reach and reputation. Additionally, having a

    syndicate represent you gives you the convenience of just focusing on

    writing and promoting your article, column, or article series. You

    don't have to get involved in distributing it, too."

    <http://www.writers-editors.com/Writers/News_Items/Syndication/syndication.htm>

    However, syndicates can be a tough nut to crack. Fay Faron, author of

    the investigative column "Ask Rat Dog," says that in the year her

    column was accepted for syndication by King Features Syndicate, it was

    one of two columns selected from 5000.

    If you do decide to approach syndicates on your own, simply send 3-5

    copies of your published columns with a cover letter and

    self-addressed stamped envelope to your targeted syndicates. You may

    wish to include a bio summarizing your expertise in your column's

    subject area, or direct the syndicate contact to your website if it

    contains relevant biographical information. Editor's and Publisher's

    annual Syndicate Directory, a print publication which is issued each

    August, is a good place to look for appropriate syndicates. To make it

    worth your while, hit the largest syndicates in major centes, which

    will obviously expose you to the most potential buyers. If you don't

    meet with immediate success, however, you can always work for a

    smaller syndicate for a couple of years until you have a bit more

    clout, then try the bigger ones again.

    While querying syndicates is more time-effective than querying

    individual papers, you'll still likely have to query numerous

    syndicates before you luck out. This brings us back to the

    repeat-query problem, and option #2, which is to hire a professional

    to market your column. Market2Editors, for example, is a multiple

    submission service which will pitch your column to hundreds of

    individual newspapers with focuses appropriate to your work. You pay

    an up-front fee, but the company doesn't take a cut from your writing

    profits, as a syndicate would. Certain packages also include a

    promotional website.

    Andrea Reynolds International provides a similar service, submitting

    to syndicates as well as to individual papers.

    The obvious advantages of this approach are mass exposure and more

    time spent on actual writing.

    Market2Editors:

    < http://www.market2editors.com/newspapers_007.htm >

    Andrea Reynolds Int'l:

    < http://www.andreareynolds.com/SSServices.html >

    Please note that these are not personal endorsements of these

    companies, simply an indication of what's available.

    Whatever approach you take, there will be some waiting involved. While

    awaiting replies to your marketing efforts, prepare your manuscripts

    to send to your eventual customers. You're probably familiar with

    standard double-spaced format – remember to include

    contact/website/email information and a short bio.

    A final resource for your reference:

    "Finding a Syndication Agency" by Michael Sedge

    < http://www.authorlink.com/in00301_sedge.html >

    You'll note Sedge's comments on computer-related columns – he warns

    that the market is "saturated," so you may have to be extra

    persistent, or consider giving your column an unusual twist or focus.

    I used the following search strings to answer your question:

    syndicating column

    syndicate column

    computer column syndicate

    All the best!

    Emjay-ga

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