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
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."
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
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.
< 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:
computer column syndicate
All the best!