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May 31, 2001
Freelance Writers Turn To International Markets For Opportunities
By Tad Hulse

The current freelance writing market is truly immense compared to what it was just a few years ago. With the advent of the Internet and its ever-expanding
utilization, your chances of having a successful career as a writer can be more than just a dream, it can become a well-paid reality. Amid the international
markets, especially within the European Union, the possibilities are endless and forthcoming. One of best things about writing for today's international
freelance market is it can now be just as attainable to the struggling writer as it always has been to the experienced one.

Now more than ever, there is an influx of several markets, like travel and entertainment newsletters, and an assortment of E-zines. Many of these small
electronic presses are in a constant search for fresh, new creative talent. What you need to do is choose an area of expertise or of interest and start to do some research and exploration. Find some E-zines with a particular subject that you may have a good basic knowledge of and write them, introducing yourself and offering your services. Many sites based throughout Europe are particularly looking for writers with English as their first language, and are eager to work with those even more so who are bilingual. The majority of these sites regularly post the writer's guidelines for your convenience. It is always a good
idea to read through them before sending any queries, simply because many vary in compensation and preferred length. In the long run, it will always save you wasted time.

Once you have sorted out your potential markets, read through all the writer's guidelines and find a site that fits into what you're looking for, then you need
to obtain a recent issue of the magazine (if it's in print) or simply spend some time browsing through the website pages. It is always wise to acquaint yourself
with the style, content, design, photography, wording, layout and overall basic readership the E-zine directs itself towards. Make sure the article (or query) you
plan to send is relevant to their readers. Most importantly though, check to see whether or not they regularly accept submissions from freelance writers.

Another aspect of writing for the international market is that you must realize you're writing for someone you do not know at all, and in turn, knows little or
nothing about you. It's vital to stick with something you, as well as those who live in another or part of the world, can relate to easily. When I started writing freelance, I played it safe until I formed a good and viable relationship with the websites I was submitting to. I did not to write about things that some may find difficult to understand or appreciate because of their background, culture, or origin of country. I focused on issues that most readers could relate to within the context of the publication.

When writing an article, always pay sensitive attention to the aspect of the reader. In other words, put yourself behind the reader's spectacles and
redirect the question of how you would feel if your article was specifically targeted at you. A good writer will be sympathetic to issues of race, religion, creed, class or gender, and will evade any stereotypes that may offend or insult others. When referring to places, like cities or regions, realize your reader is probably from another country so it is helpful to relate these areas to more familiar locations. Myself, as well as with many other writers in this industry, always relate distance and direction from a country's capital city, or a more well-known city for its international poise. It makes it much easier for the reader to understand where you are talking about early on.

I find that a good writer will make an effort to be simple. The age-old term of "less is more" comes into play here more than ever. There is no need to complicate the piece by churning out unnecessary jargon or unfamiliar, convoluted terms in hopes of sounding intelligent and articulate. The only person you will be impressing is yourself because if the reader cannot understand what your getting at, he or she is most likely going to stop reading. You can impress the most astute reader by simply grasping they're attention with a topic they were unaware of, or by just giving them insight on something they already knew, but in a different point of view. Keep it short, simple and to the point.

Even though the US is considered to be the largest English language market in the entire world (with Europe now following close behind), it is also the most competitive and probably the most difficult to sell any works. Writing for international freelance markets is not only a great way to increase your income as a writer, but a great way to expand your opportunities as well.


Tad Hulse is a freelance writer from Oslo, Norway.

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