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Syndication Success : Conversation question • Writing Forum | WritersDigest.com

Syndication Success

Every month in Writer's Digest's InkWell section, we pose a question related to the writing life. Tell us your thoughts.
Brian
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Syndication Success

Postby Brian » Tue Apr 15, 2008 4:43 am


Brian
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Syndication Success

Postby Brian » Tue Apr 15, 2008 4:43 am

In every issue in Writer's Digest's InkWell section, we pose a thought-provoking question related to the writing life. In the June issue, Lisa Abeyta talks about her efforts to get her column syndicated:
http://www.writersdigest.com/article/fi ... n-success/

Have you tried to syndicate a column? If so, what was your experience like?

To be part of our monthly Conversation, post your response here by hitting the "reply" button. A few responses may be selected to run in a future "WD" e-newsletter.

rpadrick
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RE: Syndication Success

Postby rpadrick » Sun Apr 20, 2008 12:54 pm

Upon learning my favorite columnist was gravely ill I contacted the editor and offered some of my humorous observations of everyday life to fill space until he was able to write again. While I had no intentions of replacing him he decided to stop writing and the editor asked me to do a real column and actually get paid for it! Roses Room ran in the weeklies section of Florida Today newspaper for almost four years and when the powers-that-be cut all the columns I was moved to Brevard County Moms magazine and e-magazine. I have periodically sent inquiry letters and sample columns to many magazines and newspapers, always receiving return letters in the envelopes I provide-never receiving return e-mails. While Roses Corner runs in the monthly Today's Senior magazine, it seems the daily print media is under financial strain and every square inch possible is devoted to advertising. I am a wife, mother, grandmother, sister, employee, and employer who writes because she loves it. Drawing the humor from every situation these sides of my personality is a part of makes my writing a tad off balance and a touch irreverent...I think Erma Bombeck would be proud. I am also still looking to be published in a daily or weekly publication

Skipper
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Re: Syndication Success

Postby Skipper » Sat May 17, 2008 2:30 pm

So you had a paying column for four years? Great! :)

abqwriter
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RE: Syndication Success

Postby abqwriter » Sat May 17, 2008 6:24 pm


WM Wordworks
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Re: Syndication Success

Postby WM Wordworks » Mon May 19, 2008 2:49 pm

I thought syndication would be more of a tangle than trying to sell a column into outlets in different regions of the country. So I was surprised at the comment that Lisa "intimidated by the amount of work and record-keeping required." What are some of the +s and -s of "self syndication" versus having someone else do it for you?

-WWW

abqwriter
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Re: Syndication Success

Postby abqwriter » Mon May 19, 2008 4:37 pm

WM - from the interviews I conducted for the story, this is what I learned:

Self Syndication: you keep all the money, but you make all of the contacts - most of which are cold calls. First you research databases, then begin sending out queries to the appropriate editors in the markets you decide to target. You have to sell yourself, the column, the market appeal, the demographic the column will reach, and arrive at a fee you will charge. Then you have to follow up to try to secure commitments to run the column. Once you have editors who are buying your column, you have to keep diligent records of payments received, invoices sent out, and be willing to follow up and even cut off editors who don't pay. There is no end of the year statement from some company for you to determine taxes; you have to keep all of your records well enough to know what you owe. Benefits of self-syndication are that the control is yours so that you're not left waiting for someone else at a major syndicate to decide you're big enough to carry. You also get to decide fees, which means you can charge some free weekly a $25 per column fee and charge a major city newspaper $125 per column. Plus you get to keep all of the proceeds except for the amount you put back into more marketing or give to Uncle Sam due to the goodness of your heart.

National syndication through a major syndicate is much harder to pull off simply because of the number of queries a year vs. the number of new clients accepted. It also requires that you get a lot "bigger" on your own to justify a syndicate taking you on. And as one columnist I interviewed said, "It was a real shock to find out that all of the sudden I was only earning a pittance from one newspaper that was paying me over a hundred per column." You split everything with the syndicate, so if you don't make a good entry into syndication, it's not going to bring in a lot of money. Now Ann Landers - she made a LOT of money because of her market coverage. But some columnists struggle and can get dropped if they don't garner enough popularity.

Hope this helps.

Jamesaritchie
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Re: Syndication Success

Postby Jamesaritchie » Wed May 21, 2008 9:00 am

These days, I know self-syndicated columnists who are lucky to get ten bucks for a column, even from medium sized commercial newspapers, let alone free weeklies.

abqwriter
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Re: Syndication Success

Postby abqwriter » Wed Jun 18, 2008 9:37 am

Interesting, James. These were the figures I was quoted from the folks I talked to who were self-syndicated. It's a tough business that will only get tougher, but there are niches and someone will get paid, so it's always worth trying.

MonikaM
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RE: Syndication Success

Postby MonikaM » Tue Dec 15, 2009 6:39 pm

Find your topic, are you an expert at something? Is it a topic that you can write about on a regular basis finding different ideas to sustain it? Everyone is an expert at something, tap into what your special niche is and run with it.


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