Sometimes a story gets better the more it’s told.
This is especially true if you get paid for each telling.
When you write an article and sell it to multiple sources as a syndicated piece, you are seizing the opportunity to tell your story over and over to a larger audience of readers.
Travel pieces lend themselves naturally to syndication. Oh, sure, travel buffs read about worldly adventures in glossy travel magazines. But regular folks – those who don’t always read travel magazines or frequent online travel sites – are interested in the subject too.
Most of us wish we could travel more. When we can’t complete an excursion personally, it’s fun to read about someone else’s journey instead.
There’s a key word: fun. Travel allows us to escape and have fun. Reading about travel provides the same effect. This gives travel articles a universal appeal and makes them appropriate for many markets and various publications.
If you target your travel-related articles only to publications dedicated solely to travel, you may be overlooking potential readers who would be interested in the information you have to share.
There are a number of different paths you can take with syndication, but here’s one to explore:
If you are an established travel writer (or if you’d like to be), market your articles to the glossy travel magazines offering first rights to the piece. First rights in a glossy magazine will net a higher paycheck than a syndicated article will, so you might as well query and go for the bigger paycheck first.
When you’ve published a number of articles, group them as a series and offer them to various sources for syndicated publication.
Before you do, make sure you have rights to reprint the piece. Usually, when you give a publication first rights, your rights to reprint return to you after a specified amount of time. This timeline varies, depending on your agreement or contract with the publication with first rights to the piece. If unsure, check your contract.
Sources for your syndicated articles:
Magazines aren’t often interested in syndicated work (they prefer first rights), but if you know of a regional magazine that might benefit from your articles, go ahead and approach the editor. Newspapers are prime publishers of syndicated articles and columns. Larger newspapers often publish a travel-related section once a week. Small newspapers are often short-staffed and in need of good copy.
Syndicated articles typically bring in less money than a first rights piece. Having said that, consider you’ve already published each of the articles in your series. You’ve already been paid for them. Any money received through syndication is akin to a bonus. Plus, with syndication you experience something I like to call multiplication magic. You can get paid $200 for one article, or you can get paid $10 from 20 sources for the same article. Your checkbook won’t know the difference. With syndication, you don’t have to stop at 20 sources you can shoot for 100 or 200 or even more. See the magic?
Benefits of syndication:
Syndication gains you markets and readers. I don’t know of a writer who doesn’t get warm and fuzzy when her words are read. Gained readership helps build a following – loyal readers who will be more likely to buy that book you plan to write. Don’t forget about those editors and publishers you’ll meet through syndication. Increased professional contacts and relationships helps to further build your writing career.
Syndication versus self-syndication:
Technically, what I’ve been describing is self-syndication. Traditional syndication involves having a business (known as a syndicate or syndicated service) represent you. This company markets your articles and takes a percentage of the profit from their sales. Self-syndication is when you do all this background and marketing work yourself. The term syndication is a way to designate or describe articles that are dispersed to multiple sources at the same time for publication – just like first rights is a term used to designate an article that is being printed for the first time.
If you do decide to spread your articles far and wide, you’ll need a system for organizing your information – email addresses, invoicing, correspondence with editors – and the list goes on. It can be done. But it is a lot easier if you start with an organizational plan.
Just about everyone I know (me included) loves a good vacation – or experiencing one vicariously by reading about it. Adventures while traveling are one of a kind. It’s a shame to write them down and then publish them just once. Travel experiences are meant to be shared – with lots and lots of readers. This can be done successfully through self-syndication.
What experience do you have with self-syndication? Share your advice!