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Email Marketing Your Writing


Phil Philcox

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. Question? How come more writers aren't tackling the foreign markets? One reason might be that foreign publishers are just that....foreign. Before the Internet and e-mail, you had to find their address, print out your letter, query or article, stuff it in an envelope, address it, attach postage (about $1 airmail to Europe per letter) and wait weeks for an answer.

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 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!

I've sold over 1200 articles and 46 non-fiction books to publishers here in the United States and around the world. I've written about skin diving for Skin Diver (US), Plunge (France), and Aqua (England),  vacationing in California for magazines in Japan and Australia, motorcycle touring for a magazine in Hong Kong, boating articles for boating magazines in Germany and articles on everything from health to self-help to magazines in the United States. My book subjects have ranged from computers to travel 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 multiple sales would make up for that. I sent each of these magazine editors the entire article by e-mail, assuming they'd read it, make a decision for or against, delete it if they weren't interested, buy it if they were. 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 sample 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.  Writer's Market (Writer's Digest Books, 1507 Dana Avenue, Cincinnati OH 45207) lists lots of magazine and book e-mail addresses and you can use any of the search engines to find publication e-mail addresses when you're online. I'm using E-Mail Publisher 2000 and World Newspapers 2000 ( which lists over 10,000 newspapers and magazines 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.

If you wrote a booklet, self-published a book, want to make an editorial announcement or want to get in touch with magazines for information on advertising rates, subscriptions, to announce your web page or obtain reprints or information for your research, the Internet is the way to go. This is the 21st century and times have changed. You can keep operating in the 20th century mode and write on your computer, print out hard copies, fold, address envelopes, lick stamps and sit around waiting for an answer or you can take advantage of the latest technology and who knows? You might just find yourself making more sales than you ever have before.

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Email:  Phil Philcox

Phil Philcox has been a freelance writer for more than 30 years.  He likes to share his time tested tips and techniques with other writers . (More about the writer.)


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