Tuesday, August 30, 2016


Some writers are interested in selling material to foreign markets. That is an option, and the market guide does include a lot of Canadian markets and a few from other countries. However, there are some inherent problems with writing for other countries. You will find a clue to the first problem mentioned in a few of the Canadian listings. Some of those editors indicate that they do not want submissions from U.S. authors. That is not because they don’t like people from the U.S., but because our culture is so much a part of what we write that it usually does not fit the Canadian reader. So before you send anything to a Canadian or other foreign market, you need to edit out any such references. With some articles that may be impossible because the culture (or an understanding of the culture) is such a large part of the content. For that reason, not every article is suitable for foreign travel, so you will have to carefully select articles that will travel well to other cultures. Of course, some subjects are of universal interest, and the Internet has added to a more global view of the world—bringing us closer together. Foreign Christian markets are interested in how people in different countries live out their spirituality.

In selecting foreign markets, you need to limit yourself to English-speaking countries (unless you are fluent in other languages). But even though they speak English in England, you need to recognize and honor the differences in spelling and terminology. Avoid American slang or jargon that shouts “America.” You will also need to weed out any references to American history, organizations, statistics, etc.

Because you have likely only sold North-American serial rights to articles sold in the states, you are free to sell them in other countries (except Canada—which is still in North America). Also, if you are submitting the same article in several different countries, it is still not considered a simultaneous submission, because each query is going into a different market.

When mailing to foreign countries, find out the proper amount of postage and how long it will take for delivery—either by air mail or by surface. Figure those times into your calculations when determining how long you should wait before following up on a submission. Also keep in mind that foreign countries may have poor postal service or are subject to postal strikes which may slow down the process considerably. Never put U.S. postage on your SASE. (See Foreign Mailing). Of course, you can avoid all the mailing headaches if the publisher is open to receiving e-mail queries and submissions.

There may also be some problems with understanding pay rates and foreign exchange rates. For example, in selling to Canada, you may be told that they will pay you $100 for an article, but they will mean $100 Canadian, not U.S. currency. So with the exchange rate you may make about $75 U.S, or less. Some foreign markets will pay in U.S. dollars if you ask. Some U.S. banks charge to cash foreign checks and even charge you a fee if the money is wired to your bank here, so check out applicable fees at your bank and determine the best way to handle such payments.

One more consideration with foreign sales is the tax ramifications. Always claim the foreign income, although the foreign publishers aren’t likely to report it or send you any form verifying what they have paid you during the year. It will be a good idea to make a habit of keeping copies of everything, including checks, from foreign markets.

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