Thanks for your clarifications. I have now conducted your full
research and have the information you need.
I will first address how to self-syndicate a column or editorial
drawings. Then, I?ll go over some thoughts on how to approach
syndicates to distribute your work for you.
First, it?s quite possible for you to make money at distributing a
column or editorial drawings to newspapers and magazines. Your goal
should be?just like when you sell anything else?make sure you price it
as such to be affordable to the publications to which you?re marketing
it and make sure you don?t cheat yourself.
Self syndication means offering your work on a non-exclusive basis to
multiple publications that aren?t in direct competition with one
another. You should start with your local and regional newspapers,
because they would be the most likely to take on your work initially
since you live there.
You?ll want to pick a topic for your work that isn?t specific to one
particular area and that can be sold to many publications. The subject
of your column will often be the most important factor to publications
as to whether they?ll take it on. You may wish to choose a topic that
is universal, like health tips, parenting, or technology. You should
also choose topics that interest you, as generating work repeatedly on
a similar topic can be tedious and wearing.
Next, you?ll want to create a list of all the newspapers and magazines
in your state or area. Go to your library and flip through the Gales
Directory of Media Publications (this book is typically not on shelves
available for check out, but you?ll likely need to request it
specifically from the information desk.). Another good directory is
The Annual Editor & Publisher International Year Book.
You may wish to focus only on publications that have circulations
greater than 20,000. This is because weekly and smaller publications
rarely have budgets for works such as yours.
Create a submission package. You want to make a brief but informative
description of what you?re offering to these publications. This will
include sample pieces that you?ve created, how long the pieces are (or
how much space they take up if they?re cartoons or drawings) and how
frequently you produce them (daily, weekly, etc.) You also want to
include information about what rights you?d be selling.
Rights are critical in self-syndication. Many publications require you
to sign over all rights to your work. You may even find that
publications that pay as little as $10 to $50 per piece still expect
you to give the piece exclusively to them. But if you have plans to
sell that same work in more than one location like on a syndication
basis, you must be sure that retain your rights to do so. In this
case, you might want to offer a publication ?one-time nonexclusive
rights? to your work. You might also phrase it as ?exclusive regional
rights,? and then define ?regional.? But whatever you do, don?t let
the terms of using the word ?regional? affect your ability to sell the
Be careful with the rights. And be cautious about accepting additional
money for ?all rights.? That?s because your goal as a self-syndicator
is not to make a ton of money on one publication but to gain the
widest distribution for your piece. If one paper offers you $600 for
?all rights,? just think about making even more money by finding 25
publications to pay $50 each for your work.
Decide how much money you?ll accept as payment. Some small papers will
only pay $10 or so for a piece.
When you create your submission package, make sure you include the
description of your work, a cover letter outlining your proposal,
samples of your work, and an SASE or a ?check box? post card that
allows an editor to say yes or no and send it back to you.
Next, you should follow up on all contacts you make. If they say yes,
great. Sign them up! If they say no, move on to the next one.
One self syndicating service that you may find helpful is Andrea
Reynolds. You may read about her services online. The link is
You might also find interesting ?The Writer?s Guide To Proposals.? The
link is http://www.allworth.com/Catalog/WP204C.htm
Contacting a syndicate is similar to contacting individual newspapers.
The only exception is in what you?ll say in your letter. Instead, of
course, of offering your column to be published in a paper, you?re
wanting a syndicate to take on your work and distribute it for you.
One book you may find helpful in your quest for syndication is
?Successful Syndication: A Guide For Writers and Cartoonists.? You may
read about this book online. The link is
Another good site for cartoonists specifically is ?Advice For
Beginners.? The link is
A good directory of contact information of syndicates is the 2003
Editor & Publisher Syndicate Directory. This can be purchased for $20.
You may read more about this directory online. The link is
If you need any clarification or additional information, please don?t
hesitate to click the ?clarify? button.