I don't know what other expat freelancers moan about, as I don't yet know any. So, I'm going to write about the thing that bugs me the most about freelancing from abroad -- finding good markets to query.
I like writing about pregnancy and parenting since that those are the things on my mind these days. But as many pregnancy and parenting magazines as I know are out there, it can be tough to find anything beyond the big name glossies. I'm insanely jealous of those freelancers who can spend an hour or two browsing the magazine racks at B&N or who stumble across local or regional magazines in their dentist's office. Potential markets just rain from the skies for them! What's an expat freelancer to do? How can we tap into lesser-known Anglophone markets from abroad?
Here's the way I decided to go about it:
1. Subscribe to as many magazine databases as possible. Currently, I'm subscribed to Writer's Market, Wooden Horse Publishing, and Media Bistro. The three are quite different from one another, and I feel like I have many bases covered by checking-in at all three. I also check-in at Freelance Writing, which is free and not only lists magazines and their guidelines, but also articles, job postings, writing contests, and more.
2. Sign-up for as many newsletters as possible. I've lost track of how many newsletters I've signed up for. But among my favorites are: Writing For Dollars, Hope Clark's Funds for Writers, Writer Gazette , and WritersWeekly. Each of these has its own magazine database, and highlights new magazines and guidelines every week.
3. Persuse online magazines directories. These directories won't give you submission guidelines and the names of editors you'll need to contact. However, you will get the names of magazines as a point of departure. I check-in with www.amazon.com, Yahoo's Magazine Directory, and http://www.allyoucanread.com/.
4. Do Random Online Searches. I once read about a magazine called, "Chicago Parent." A few weeks later, I came across a magazine called "L.A. Parent." A lightbulb went off (came on?). I started doing searches for parenting magazines under titles like "D.C. Parent" and "New York Parent" and suddenly, I have a wealth of new magazines at my fingertips that I haven't ever seen in the magazine databases.
5. Pay attention to where other writers have published. Usually, when writers publish an article, they cite two or three publications where their work has appear in their bio. These days, I find myself studying bios as if they were articles themselves, and jotting down the names of magazines that interest me. In fact, that's how I came across "Chicago Parent" which was the magazine tipped me off to so many other parenting magazines.
6. Ask other writers for recommendations. We're all on the hunt for new, potential markets, and in a good online writing community, fellow writers are almost always willing to suggest potential markets when you're stuck for ideas about where to submit a query. I participate in Absolute Write and find the people there extremely helpful and supportive.
7. Ask your friends for recommendations. My poor friends. They are so involved in my writing career. I'm always pestering them to share their pregancy and parenting experiences to create more writing fodder for me -- and now I've begun to bug my U.S. friends to share with me their favorite local and/or regional magazines. I also ask my expat friends here which pubs they subscribe to and ask for their cast-offs when they're done with them.
8. Go to the Library. Okay, in Paris we're pretty lucky that we have an American Library that subscribes to many U.S. periodicals. Most of them are big-names, so it doesn't really help me in my search for smaller profile mags, but still, it's a great resource. I didn't even know about The American Library until I'd been living here for three years (of course, I wasn't freelancing then, so it wasn't on my radar screen, but still - you never know!). If you think that your adopted country doesn't have such a library, double check. And also check out American Universities and cultural centers - you might have luck there.
If there are any readers out there with additional ideas, let's hear 'em!
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