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You Can Sell in Canada
by Susan Sundwall

All eyes turned to Vancouver, Canada this winter as hundreds of athletes from across the globe joined in the quest for Olympic gold, silver and bronze. Media coverage put these hopefuls and this vast country into the spotlight, and our chance to learn about all things Canadian was ratcheted up several notches. Writers eager to plumb the depths of potential new markets will turn their eyes to the North, too.  

Some areas are easier than others to tap into. Religious material, human interest pieces, essays, parenting, sports, and children's stories all have universal appeal. Likewise if you have some area of expertise in science, medicine or health, the welcome mat is out. Regional publications that rely on knowledge of local events and sensibilities may be more difficult. Here are some other tips:

  1. Newsletters – Many magazines, like Explore and Today's Parent, have a newsletter sign up on their website. Fill out the form to receive it. You'll get a feel for tone, reader population and focus of their publication. Read with intent so that you have some familiarity with what they're trying to accomplish for their readers.

  2. Introduce Yourself – I recently sent a letter of introduction to the editor of a new children's magazine to put a first foot on the ground for future work. Editor's love this. After you've visited their website, signed up for their newsletter and perhaps visited an online forum, you'll be able to make timely comments about the publication. Later when you follow up with a query or submission, you're not hitting them cold, and you'll garner high marks for professionalism.

  3. Research – Find out about the languages, cultural history, societal trends, national pastimes, celebrities, dining habits, education practices, and slang of our Canadian neighbors. Use this knowledge so you're able to write convincingly for editors and readers. One thing that's also strangely helpful is to look at a map of Canada. Seeing the names of places like national parks, cities, towns and rivers brings the country even closer.

  4. The Guidelines – Of course read the guidelines as you would for any work you do. But be sensitive to the Canadian feel and slant that's indicated and necessary.

How do they pay?

This seems like a silly question, but I wondered myself. The two pieces I've thus far sold to Canadian markets both paid by check, through the regular mail and I had no problem simply depositing them. And if you're uncertain about how a particular market pays you can always ask the editor. Often publications will pay using PayPal as well. Incidentally, it's very cool getting a check from another country.
Are you ready to consider Canada? Here are a few markets to get you going.

There are ten provinces in Canada and each has hundreds of potential markets for your work. If you haven't already, open yourself to the possibility of becoming an international writer. Sounds good, doesn't it? And there's no better place to begin than with our friendly, Olympic sized neighbor to the north.

© Copyright 2010, Susan Sundwall

Susan is a freelance writer, sometime poet and soon to be blogger. Read her children’s story, "Mary’s Sparrow."

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