By Renée Henning

     Basically, there are three types of international authors.  The trio includes:

1.  someone who writes a best-selling book the world wants to read;

2.  someone whose written work appears in a multinational publication (such as the former International Herald Tribune); and

3.  someone whose writing turns up in publications based in different countries.

I am the third kind, and this is how I did it.  You could, too.

I am an American who did not intend to become an international author of articles and short stories.  Instead, I fell into the role.  It started in 2014.  I was searching the internet for one of my on-line articles when I made a startling discovery.  The piece had been reprinted that year – in a magazine I had never heard of in the Bahamas.

The journal’s editor did credit me as the author.  However, she evidently thought my work needed a folksier style and more relevance to her subscribers.  Therefore, she added grammatical mistakes, reworded paragraphs, and inserted Haiti and the Caribbean into my discussion.  (Thus, if you see an article by me with a lot of grammar errors, it is not – or at least I hope it is not – my fault!)

It struck me, after spotting my revised essay in print in the northern Caribbean, that I liked sharing my ideas with foreign audiences.  I began submitting my writing to editors in English-speaking nations.  Later I also contacted newspapers and periodicals in English for countries with a different primary language.  Little by little, my work appeared in more foreign lands, including Canada, Great Britain, Norway, India, Taiwan, Ghana, South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand.

     Below are some tips for your journey to becoming a global author:

1.  To find foreign publications for your work, start with the internet.  You can use search terms such as “list of literary journals in Canada,” “list of magazines in Great Britain,” or “list of world newspapers in English.”

2.  After you identify promising outlets, check their websites for more information, including how to contact the editor.  Send a finished article or short story to him with a cover note.  Alternatively, to increase your chances of getting paid, submit a proposal for the work.  Beware of complications if you and the editor are not fluent in the same language.

3.  Offering a completed article or story to various editors improves your prospects for getting in print.  I assume this simultaneous submission is acceptable unless a publisher’s website states otherwise.

4.  Rejections and acceptances often arrive by the same method (for example, via E-mail) that you used to initiate contact with the publication.  Yet, in my experience, rejections by foreign newspapers typically come by silence.

5.  Being a prolific author helps, but is not required, for getting published in multiple countries.  Written work can be recycled.  My most popular piece, which promotes singing to babies in hospitals, issued (with minor variations) thirteen times, four of them abroad.  To allow for reprints, never sell all rights to your work.

6.  A topic of interest on one continent may be boring or taboo to readers living on another continent in a vastly different culture.  For your submission to be widely accepted, it helps if the subject matter has a universal theme or broad appeal.  One of my advice articles provides a good example.  It begins with “[e]veryone has a story to tell” and explains how to relate that story.  The essay was published in North America, Europe, Asia, Africa, and Oceania.

7.  Money is a factor in deciding whether to enter foreign markets for writers.  I have rarely been compensated for work beyond the United States.  The main reason is that virtually all of it (every story and almost every article) appeared either in literary journals or newspapers.  Generally, neither reimburses authors for unsolicited submissions.  The Canadian dollars, British pounds, and New Zealand Kiwis I did receive came from magazines.  If you do agree to a payment amount, expect to pocket significantly less.  This is because of exchange fees (to convert the payment to your country’s currency) and bank fees involving foreign transactions.  In short, if you aim to make a lot of money from your writing, foreign sales are probably not for you.

Ultimately I set out to have my work read on every continent (meaning that something authored by me would appear in a publication headquartered on one continent, something by me would appear in a publication headquartered on a second continent, etc.).  Antarctica and South America are left.  I am still hunting for a newspaper or magazine that is actually based in Antarctica and likely to care about my non-scientific topics.  (Even The Antarctic Sun, named the continent’s longest-running newspaper, is not stationed there.)  South America is also proving tough to crack, partly because the bulk of its papers and periodicals are not in English.  Therefore, in 2023 I paid to have my most popular article translated into Spanish.  So far, nada.

However, the Dominican Republic published the Spanish version.  This island nation lies in the middle of the Caribbean Sea – which touches South America.  I am getting closer!

Renee Henning is an attorney and an international author of fiction and nonfiction.  Her written work has appeared in WE Magazine for Women, in her book Mystery and the Adopted Child, and in other publications in North America including books, magazines, newspapers, and newsletters such as the Washington Post, Oslo Times, Modern Ghana, International Concerns For Children Newsletter, News Lens, A Day in the Life of Public Service Lawyers, WNC Woman, Catholic Digest, National Catholic Register, Journal of Holistic Health, ActiveOver50, Roots & Wings, Ours, Adoption Today, Adoptive Families, Adoption Option Complete Handbook, 2000-2001, Living, and Freelance.