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    How to Sell Everything You Write to Publishers Here and Abroad Using the Internet and E-mail

    People around the world read newspapers, magazines, newsletters, online magazines and books and they're interested in basically what we're interested in: how to have a happy life, how to raise kids, how to buy a house or TV, how to save money or take a vacation. Lots of people are interested in a good fiction novel and I can't think of anyone who isn't interested in looking at a good photo, so what I'm about to say pertains to both writers and photographers and throw in some poets and some opinion givers.

    Question? How come more writers aren't submitting their material by e-mail. I know the excuses: most editors want to look at hard copies sent by regular mail and if you send them an e-mail article, poem or query, they won't look at it. Possibility, but if you send 10 or 100 or more editors an e-mail, some will look and if it's something of interested, some will buy it. I know. I do it everyday and make a comfortable living as a freelance, non- fiction writer. I've sold articles on Florida travel to magazines in California, Canada, South America and France. I've sold articles on home weather stations to newspapers in Arizona, New York and magazines in Canada and Mexico. I've sold how-to articles on building a backyard pond to garden magazines in Germany, Pennsylvania, Florida and almost sold it to a magazine in Saudi Arabia (honest!).

    In this day of computers and Internet, you can send an article, short story, a photograph or book outline to a publisher here in the U.S., Canada, Texas, Scotland, China or France (among many other places). Just open your e-mail program, insert their address, write your message or insert your article, book query or poem, and click on the mouse. Tomorrow they'll open their mailbox and see what you have to offer. That editor might be in Hong Kong, Paris, Chicago, Miami or Sydney. Amazing! This e-mail thing is the communication tool of the 21st century and something we writers should use to market our material. Considering all the publications in the world, those editors out there must require tens of millions of words every week! If we keep sending our material the old way, things will never change. There are editors I work for who require I submit everything on paper, double-spaced with an SASE and all the old fashion procedures. If they keep it up, I'll be dropping them from my marketing list after 40 years of freelancing.

    I've sold over 1200 articles and 46 non-fiction books to publishers here in the United States and around the world the old way and the new way. My book subjects have ranged from computers to travel to military weapons to bookkeeping and some are listed on under my name (take a look). You might not know this but publishers in foreign countries, even those who publish only in their native language, are interested in American writers like yourself. If the subject or story is of interest to their readers, they might buy it, translate it and publish it.

    And don't overlook online magazines either. There are thousands out there, scattered all over the world and they need material for their online pages. I received an e-mail one day from an online magazine that covered the e-mail marketing of products and services. They asked me to write 2,000 words on the subject and paid me $450. I've written articles on the how-tos of writing and have sold six to publishers of online newsletters. The bottom line? There are tens of thousands of outlets for your writing out there and you can increase your chances of success by contacting some of them.

    With thousands of publishers here in the U.S. online and more popping up every day, there's the opportunity to almost eliminate paper printouts/envelopes/postage from your writing routine. Everybody's got an e-mailbox and if you observe standard e-mail etiquette, you might just make a sale or two.

    About eight months ago, I wrote an article on investigating potential employees before you hire them. Looking over my list of publications and their e-mail addresses, I found 15 regional business magazines covering different areas of the country (Alaska Business Monthly, Baltimore Business Journal, etc.), 11 trade magazines written for florists, pizza shop owners, auto repair shops, etc. and an assortment of publications read by parents (investigating nannies), singles (investigating potential mates) and others. None of these were big paying magazines but they all reached a different audience so what's the harm of submitting the article to all of them to see what would happen. Multiple sales would make up their low pay rates. With my first e-mail mailing to the above magazines, I sold the article nine times for a total of $688. The second time I sold it five times for $344. Now I'm rewriting it for overseas markets, magazines reaching the same type of audience in Europe, South America, Japan, Australia, etc. Three weeks ago I sent a how to buy an old house article to Adirondack Life (upstate New York), Austin Home and Living (Texas), The Living Magazine (Ohio) and six others and sold it four times for over $500. I attached a .jpeg photo in the e-mail to give them an idea of the photos available. Now I'm rewriting that article for the foreign markets. Hey, they got old houses in Japan, France, Argentina, Germany, Scotland and other countries.

    For book proposals, I send a one-page query to a bunch of editors via e-mail and hope someone will reply. In this day and age, sending one proposal to one editor and sitting around for six months or more for a reply is not the way to succeed in the writing business. If I get multiple responses, I'll deal with each editor individually until I get an advance/ contract that's the best deal.

    Anyone can do this. Just compile a list of magazine and book publisher e-mail addresses and send them your stuff just like you would if you were sending it by regular mail. You can find publications by searching the Internet, consulting Writer's Market (Writer's Digest Books, 1507 Dana Avenue, Cincinnati OH 45207) and checking the masthead of hard copies. I'm using E-Mail Publisher 2001 and World Newspapers 2001 (check It's a database listing the e-mail addresses and/or web sites of over 10,000 newspapers, magazines and book publishers in the U.S., Canada and around the world. The magazines are listed by subject, the book publishers by country and subject, the newspapers by country, including U.S. weeklies and dailies and you can search for all subjects.

    There's the old way and there's the new way to market your writing. This is the year 2001 and the new way is here...and here to stay.

    Copyright © 2001 Phil Philcox

    Phil Philcox is the editor/director of The Press Association and has been a writer for over 45 years. His credits and e-mail contact are at

    The Authentic Self: Journaling Your Joys, Griefs and Everything in Between by Shery Russ

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