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November 7, 2001
Know The Language, Know The Law - Play The International Market Right
by Tad Hulse

There seems to be a rather significant amount of freelance writers who are quite hesitant in tackling
the International Market these days. Seeing it as a slippery area chock full of complications and
adversity not worth strifing over may very well be the reason. I won't disagree that it's a tough market to master but for those prepared to invest a bit more time, a little effort and some understanding, it can
in the end become a very profitable field. What discourages those from prospering in this area of the
freelance market is impossible to pinpoint exactly, but the two basic frighteners that cause writers in
general to fear-off this trail is mainly the language difference & the country's copyright laws. Now, for
any freelancer, these should not pose a barrier too high to jump over. It's nothing a little preparation
can't take care. Just follow the basic guidelines, as with any of the domestic markets here in the US,
before submitting your work. Quite simple, isn't it?

The more time you spend on-line, the more articles you'll come across tending to the art and knowledge of writing for international freelance markets. Although, very rarely will you find them going as far to address one of the most essential details of sending your work abroad: the language. Most think that by simply changing your spell-check to the relevant language (assuming it's another English speaking country, like Australia, Canada, New Zealand or the UK) is enough to get by. Well, by switching a few S's and Z's might help some but it won't suffice completely. If you plan to approach an editor outside your own country and you want to look professional and proficient - don't fall victim to the common writer's first mistake of international freelance. Make sure the text of your article is not only correctly structured, but that the language and terminology fits into the culture of the country you're submitting too. Access to the Internet makes this oversight far more avoidable than ever
before, but it's still amazing to this very day how many zoom right past this inattention. With an
abundance of information at your fingertips, there are many ways to learn the lingo, from chat rooms and dictionaries to native websites and language courses online. Use them to your advantage.

Also when writing for international freelance markets, you need to take advantage of the opportunities
available and these lie primarily within the sale of rights. Most freelance writers are oblivious to the
fact that the scope of reselling your work can become quite huge and very profitable (if done correctly). It is really worth taking the time to thoroughly acquaint yourself with the rights of the country you plan on targeting. Each can differ greatly. You could sell a story in the US, then resell it a second time in the UK (with revisions pertaining to the aforementioned), and then perhaps even a third time in Australia. Three paycheques for just one story, not bad when you add it up at the end of the month. Yet another advantage of writing with the international market in mind is the reselling of the language rights. For example, by selling to an English speaking market will leave you free to sell to a non-speaking market, like French, German or Italian? Something to think about.

Electronic rights differ from print as well. A common occurrence is an e-publisher will often purchase the electronic rights but is not interested in the print ones. Which, in turn, gives you another opportunity to sell the piece once more to a print magazine or publication. Time can play a major factor with both electronic and print rights as well, where as after a set period all rights are restored to the writer, which again can allow you to resell to someone else. You should always take the time to thoroughly go over the guidelines and understand the various rights before selling anything to anybody. Unfortunately, as a freelance writer, you must mesh the joyful creative aspects of the job with a bit of boring business sense as well, and even more so when dealing with the international markets. If properly executed, you can make a plenty penny over and over again on something you just wrote once. You just have to know how to play the international market right. It is there for the taking and all within your grasp. Good luck!

Tad Hulse is an American freelance writer who has spent the last two years traveling the world.
Currently he is based in Oslo, the capital of Norway.

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