People around the world read newspapers, magazines and books and they're interested in basically what we Americans are 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 and everybody's interested in a good fiction novel. So how come more American 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, you can send an article, short story, poem, photograph or book outline to a publisher in 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 read 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, they must require tens of millions of words every week! If the e-mail address you send your material to is personal, all the better. Example: Better Nutrition Magazine in Stamford, CT is looking for articles on nutrition and health. You can reach the editor, James Gormley, at firstname.lastname@example.org. Written a book on 20th century art? Send your query or outline it as many U.S. book publishers as possible, then send the same material to overseas publishers interested in the subject, publishers like the Librairie Didier Lecointre Dominique Drouet in France at email@example.com. That's one-on-one contact that could pay off.
As a full-time, freelance writer, 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. You might not know this but publishers in foreign countries, even those who publish in their native language, are interested in American writers like yourself. If the subject is of interest to their readers, they might buy it, translate it and publish it. Of course, the majority of your sales will be with U.S. magazine and book publishers but if you're interested in selling your writing, don't overlook the overseas market.
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.
If you're interested in trying to reach these publications for whatever reason (writing, advertising rates, subscriptions, article reprints, general information etc.) a list of thousands of publications around the world (magazines sorted by subject, book publishers listed alphabetically by country/subject) is available on one, IBM-compat disk you can read with any word processing program. The countries covered include England, Europe, Australia, South America, Japan, China and everything from Nepal to South Africa, along with thousands of U.S. and Canadian publishers. Further information is available from The Press Association USA at firstname.lastname@example.org.