Syndicate Your Writing: 5 Paying Markets You Might Not Know About

No other piece of advice is given to writers more often than to write often – every single day if possible. One way to develop your writing skills and instill a need to write all the time is by working on a syndicated column.

Deciding what to write about, how long each of your pieces should be, and where to market your syndicated column can be something else altogether. Some syndicated authors vote that you shouldn’t worry about where your column will be published when you start writing it – instead, you should write for yourself and look for publishers later. Personally, I’m a writer who wants to eat and have a roof over my head. I’d rather identify a market that looks suitable to my interests, and develop my actual work around that market.

If you’ve not written for a column before, you might want to try setting up a topic and deadline for yourself before you try selling your work. You will want to make sure that the topic you’ve chosen is something you can write about effectively and on time for at least three months’ length. Choose a topic that you can remain interested in and that is broad enough that you have plenty of room to cover.

For instance, my overwhelming passion in writing for the last four years has revolved around the use of Adobe Photoshop. Every week, I write a fresh new piece that teaches people how to use this graphic software easily. Because I chose Photoshop, I have a topic that I always focus on – I am not going to suddenly toss an article about child rearing at my readers. However, I haven’t narrowed it down to one thing like Photoshop Brushes – so I never run out of ideas.

Keep in mind that what you want to write about has probably either been written by someone else before, or presented to the same publication you want to write for. What you have to focus on is bringing a personal flair, some spark of creativity and style that makes not only the publication want to share you with their readers, but their (and your) readers want to share you with the world.

If you’re still trying to come around to how to write a syndicated column, please just bookmark this article for reference later and check out Elizabeth Laden’s fantastic series on Self-Syndicating a Weekly Column at http://www.writing-world.com/freelance/columns/column1.shtml – you’ll save yourself a lot of headaches if you know how to write a column before you investigate the markets in this article.

The Markets:

There are tons of ways to syndicate your writing – especially online – that will get you moving along with the process if you don’t want pay. Just do a search on an engine like Google with the phrase “column writer wanted” and you’ll find hundreds of them. Finding markets that pay, though, can be much more difficult.

Here are some of the paying markets currently seeking writers to submit columns. Some will work with authors only under contract, others on a freelance basis, so make sure and pay attention to the guidelines by visiting the websites offered in these listings:

Demko’s Ageventure Syndicated News Service – www.demko.com – This syndicated service publishes news items that are targeted toward age-specific topics. Currently, they syndicate the columns Senior Living, Zoomers (for baby boomers), and Aging America. The editors recommend that you “Stick with what you know in order to avoid superficial content. Query via e-mail with 2-3 work samples. Be assertive and upfront – specify your product and costs/prices in advance. Submissions must comply with these guidelines in order to be considered.”

Needs: News items
Preferred submission method: Query via e-mail – ageventure@demko.com
Syndicates to: Magazines, radio, newspapers, and the Internet
Responds in: 1 month
Pays: On acceptance

Hollywood Inside Syndicate – www.ez2.net/hollywood – If you can write clearly and enjoy the entertainment world, you might find this syndicate to be perfect for you. They purchase entertainment-oriented pieces that they can syndicate to newspapers in San Francisco, Philadelphia, Detroit, Montreal, London, Sydney, and other major hubs of entertainment activity. Their editor, John Austin, recommends that “Writing for the Hollywood Inside Syndicate should be geared for the World Wide Web and the international consumer, concise and to the point, without flowery sentences. Anything on worldwide celebrities will be welcome but not in the first person. No: ‘I asked him/her…’ etc. We concentrate on film stars, not TV.” Nonfiction book subjects like sex and travel are also of interest to this publisher, if they are of international interest.

Needs: Entertainment pieces and 1,500 word articles of international interest
Preferred submission method: Query via e-mail – holywood@ez2.net
Responds in: 3 months
Pays: On publication

International Puzzle Features – www.cleverpuzzles.com – A very cool way to get your name out there and fill some spare time, this syndicate works solely with word puzzles. Currently syndicates If You’re So Smart…, by Pat Battaglia (owner). “Puzzles that have the best chance of being chosen for publication will be concise, clever, appealing to readers of all ages, and have answers, that after becoming known, will seem surprisingly easy. We are not interested in crossword, word search, cryptogram, mathematical, or trivia puzzles. Refer to our website for samples of the types of games that are chosen for publication.”

Needs: Concisely written, clever word puzzles
Preferred submission method: Mail individual games/puzzles to International Puzzle Features, 4507 Panther Place, Charlotte NC 28269
Syndicates to: Newspapers
Responds in: 1 month
Pays on: publication

Megalo Media – www.puzzleamerica.com – Another puzzle syndicate, this publisher works with crossword puzzles and currently syndicates National Challenge, by J. Baxter Newgate (crossword puzzle); Crossword Puzzle by J. Baxter Newgate (company president). This one will pay you well, though, if your work is chosen – they purchase Sunday puzzles at $450 for a one-shot piece.

Needs: Crossword puzzles
Preferred submission method: Request writer’s guidelines and query via post – Megalo Media, P.O. Box 1503, New York NY 10021
Syndicates to: Magazines, Newspapers
Responds in: 1 month
Pays on: publication

Oasis Newsfeatures – www.oasisnewsfeatures.com – If your syndicated column idea is turning out to be something so original and unique that it hurts, try this syndicate. They currently syndicate The Amish Cook, The Handwriting Dr., Family Daze, The Kitchen Scientist. Before you submit, though, pay attention to the website and editor Kevin Williams’ advice, “This field is extremely competative. Please, no slice-of-life Erma Bombeck type stuff. We’re looking for high quality comic strips or very original sports features. Come up with something specific and unique and please don’t call me.”

Needs: Magazine columns, comics
Preferred submission method: Query via post with published clips – Oasis Newsfeatures, P.O. Box 2114, Middletown OH 45044
Syndicates to: Newspapers
Responds in: 2 months
Pays on: publication

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