By Jill Pertler
Syndication--for many writers, this term signifies a specialized niche for journalists, columnists, and folks named Erma. I'd like to challenge that line of thinking. Self-syndication is a flexible means to sell your work to multiple sources and cash multiple paychecks. If you get creative, there are lots of paths where syndication can take you--without even considering changing your name to Erma.
Let's get to the real question on everyone's mind: How can syndication help you?
The first step is to think about the definition of syndication. Basically, it is printing the same article over and over; syndication is reprints on steroids.
Shhh! Don't tell anyone. In the world of freelancing, reprint is almost a dirty word. No one wants a reprint. They want first rights. With syndication, you get the benefits of reprinting your article, without the negative connotations.
Traditionally, syndication involves a regularly written column. You can certainly explore that avenue. It's how I roll, but your options are only limited by your creativity.
You can syndicate without writing anything above and beyond what you are already doing. As a freelancer, you probably gravitate toward certain topics. Consider grouping already written (and published) articles into a bundle and offering them up for syndication. Sell a package of 12 to newspapers or monthly magazines. Since these articles were published elsewhere, you've already been paid for them. Anything gained from the syndication train is gravy.
Combine ghostwriting and syndication. Identify business owners who would benefit from a monthly newspaper column. Think: veterinarian, MD, financial planner, attorney, etc. Problem is, these folks don't have time to write a column.
On the other side of the fence, your local newspaper is looking for good copy. It's likely your editors prefer locally-written information over the AP feed. Approach the editor offering to write a monthly column for free. Then, approach the business and offer to ghostwrite for a fee. The business benefits from coming across as an expert willing to share knowledge with the community; the column works like an advertisement, without the hypey feel.
Because of its flexibility, syndication is an option all writers should consider. It is an avenue for gaining readership, writing assignments and regular paychecks. For a writer, that's akin to winning the golden trifecta.
To learn more, check out The Do-It-Yourselfer's Guide to Self-Syndication by Jill Pertler. You'll find secrets, shortcuts, strategies and the psychology of getting your words in print.
You'll also find some surprises. For example: reasons not to blog, what not to post on your website, the pluses and minuses of fans and when it's okay to break the rules of syndication.
The Do-It-Yourselfer's Guide to Self-Syndication, available in paperback and ebook formats, is published and available online through Booklocker, as well as through Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
Related article: How to Self-Syndicate Your Column, a DIY Guide by Jill Pertler