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Regionalism: Reprints Are Good Things
by Deborah Clark
Reprints are a freelancer's life blood. Every
article has the potential to be reprinted. This is especially true of humor,
opinion and parenting articles. The reasons are simple. There are many small
circulation publications that focus on a specific geographic area. These topics
have universal appeal.
The pay these publishers offer is fairly low but
they are open to reprint articles in addition to submissions of original
material. Of the above mentioned, the more difficult to place is humor followed
by opinion with parenting being the most open to writers. Publishers are looking
for good writing and strong focus. Humor and opinion writing are much more
subjective and open to interpretation. Parenting writing can incorporate both
these elements and find a niche with a broad spectrum of publications because it
is about being a parent.
The Parenting Publications of America
organization offers memberships to these small markets. In return, it publishes
the database, primarily for advertising, that can be purchased by interested
parties, like advertisers and writers. Parenting publications are not the only
market to have its own professional/marketing organization. Most regional areas,
whether states, provinces or parishes, have professionally run organizations for
the workers within the area. Teachers, nurses, construction workers and truck
drivers have publication geared directly toward them. Tapping into these markets
can generate substantial reprint income.
The resources these publications offer are well
worth the initial investment. The publication lists everything writers need to
know about the markets they want to access. The listings include the areas the
markets service, the names of the publishers and editors in addition to the
addresses, telephone numbers, email and website information, if available.
Serious writers can recoup their outlay in very short order. Even the casual
writer can earn back the price of the database with three or four reprint
Tapping into the market's online presence is a
good way to find out about the publication's voice and focus. Most PPA members
belong to the Disney.com network. Associations usually have a website whether
their members do or not. For example, surf to the Disney.com home page and click on a regional area or specific
publication. Here, writers can see a current copy of the publication's cover and
view selected stories. They can also double-check the editor's name and current
status. Writer's Guidelines are often available at the site as well. A word to
the wise, not all editors accept e-queries just because they have email
addresses. Be certain to check the guidelines.
Debbie Farmer, a parenting writer from
California, has been actively marketing her work for almost a year. Her focus
and determination is beginning to pay off. Her family humor column, Family Daze,
is being accepted in a number of publications. Her parenting articles are being
reprinted in many regional publications - some for the third and fourth time.
The secret to her success is persistence and regular mailings of her works that
are available for reprint publication.
Maintaining positive relations with editors is
also important. Professionalism is the key. Remember to keep articles from being
reprinted in overlapping areas. Apprise editors of reprints that are being
withdrawn from consideration due to a sale to another publication in the same
area. The editors will respect your ethics, even if they lose an opportunity to
publish your work.
How does a writer offer work for resale? It is
quite easy. There are only five steps to follow.
1.) Create a catalogue of a body of work that
is available for reprint. Be sure to include a word count, a brief description
of the topic, and the publication(s) that previously published the
2.) Find a target market. Be sure to have
accurate editorial information.
3.) Prepare an informational package. Be sure
to include a cover letter stating the rights offered and a copy of the
catalogue and perhaps a sample.
4.) Follow up the package with a call, letter
or email. Be sure to ask if the editor has time to talk for a moment (if
calling) before you state that you are just wanting to verify the receipt of
your package, or (if using email) that you are following up on a
5.) Keep submitting. Be sure to keep accurate
records of who has received the package; who has responded, and any
By keeping track of the packaged submissions,
the areas and the editors' responses, a freelancer can better target the types
of articles and essays that continue to be chosen, the areas of highest response
and editors that are currently buying reprints. Writers can use this information
to generate more original work with the themes that will best suit reprint
The most tangible benefit of selling reprints to
regional markets is the opportunity get a foot into a door that may not
otherwise open. Reprints' sales show an editor that other publications have
found the writer's work acceptable. An editor is more open to queries they
normally wouldn't consider from a writer previously unpublished by
Selling reprints can lead to increased sales of
new work to more markets, which leads to more available reprints for new
markets. A cycle any writer can live with.
© Copyright 1998, Deborah Clark
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