When you decide that you would like to write for an international publication, your first obstacle will be reaching international writing markets. Obviously, the postage for sending queries and manuscripts is cost-prohibitive, so electronic communication might be better. Most international publications are accepting e-mail queries and manuscripts these days, which means a faster turn-around and less money spent on a transfer of documents.
In this day and age, you can conduct your entire freelance writing business online if you so choose, provided you are willing to give up on those publications that still rely on the “old world” method of postal mail submissions. So your first step in reaching international writing markets electronically is to locate these publications online through their Internet addresses. Most publications have URLs that are similar to the names of their publications, other times, you will find them under the name of their publisher.
One of the best places to start is Google News, which has listings of magazines around the world, many of which are in English. You can find links to the publications’ own websites and from there, you can look up the masthead as well as indices or archives of back issues. You should also be able to locate a name and e-mail address for the appropriate editor; look for an indication that the publication accepts e-mail queries.
Reaching international writing markets electronically also requires that you learn the subtle art of writing e-mail query letters. An e-mail query isn’t all that different from one sent through the postal mail with one very important distinction: the format. You will need to write a descriptive Subject line that indicates the e-mail isn’t spam (i.e. Article Submission) as well as a professional signature for the bottom of your e-mail. Make sure to address the editor by name and to mention why you are interested in working with this specific publication.
What you should also realize is that international writing markets are often less formal than U.S. publications. You will rarely receive a formal contract outlining your agreement; instead, you will probably negotiate the terms through e-mail. Just make sure that the amount you will be paid is clearly specified in writing. If you are hesitant about entrusting your work to an international writing market, you might be better off selling reprint rights to other published articles until you’ve established a working relationship. International publications are usually happy to reprint American articles.
You can also connect with other English-speaking international markets by learning more about the language differences. Just because we speak English and the British speak English doesn’t mean it’s the same thing; visit the British-American dictionary to familiarize yourself with the various words and phrases that might not translate well across oceans.
Reaching international writing markets electronically isn’t difficult, and it is certainly easier than trying to do it without the benefit of an Internet connection. Just be aware that you are an American and they are not, which means you should learn foreign customs and writing techniques to the best of your ability.