Selling overseas

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In this sunny holiday season, thoughts of travelling and exploring life abroad are the perfect distraction for freelancers. But when it comes to branching out your business, many don’t dare to step into the unknown. And yet, it could be a great way to create additional income from your journalism.
While it does help to have a contact in a foreign media outlet before pitching, there is still opportunity in just trying it on the chance. If the publication or media outlet you are pitching to is in English, it can be good idea to send them a complete package, containing the full story, images, audio or whatever it may be. Accompany the package by a friendly, brief email pitching the story.
If you are venturing out abroad after you have already placed the story in media at home, do make this clear when pitching. Many foreign outlets do not mind this, as long as the story has not appeared in their distribution area.  Although there can be some debate about online versions, which are technically available from everywhere, I find that this often is not an obstacle when it comes to selling stories abroad. Their fee might be lower for second publication rights, but not necessarily, so always start high and see what room there is for negotiation.
If the medium you are pitching to is non-English, you have to judge how well the editor will be able to understand the story in English. If not very well, it might pay off to translate the story in their language (or a summary, and then offer to translate in full if they wish- and add on a cost for this). If you think they will be able to comprehend the story in English, you can also send them the original version and let them take care of the translation in-house.
The best way to find foreign newspapers, magazines, TV stations and websites is to search on the internet, ask fellow freelancers (social media forums can be quite good for this) and start collecting a list of any potential outlets you come across. There are many web portals listing different kinds of media and languages. for example shows most English language news publications in countries around the world.
Just like for local media, it helps to do some basic research on each outlet and adjust your pitch accordingly, rather than taking the scattergun approach. But don’t worry too much if you don’t know all the ins and outs of the place you are pitching to: a good story is a good story everywhere.
[The image above was taken during my digital detox earlier this summer. Let’s just say I will be making this an annual thing…]
We’ll discuss many ways to increase your freelance income during the one-day workshop on Friday 5 September. Info here.