My favorite history teacher used to advice me as follows: “To read the history of a country, read the books written by the native authors; you catch my point?”
To date I have been scrupulously following his advice, by reading authors like Parks, and Commager etc for the History of US, P.E. Roberts for the History of the British India, Neelakanda Sasthri, Romila Thaper and Sathyanatha Iyer for the History of Ancient India, Irfan Habeeb for the History of Medieval India, David Thompson and Ketelby for the History of Europe and so on and so forth.
Know the locals
The focal point or the essence of the above advice is, any book or history written by an author that touches the native history of the people and their culture etc will have more native flavor written by the native author, because he is more well versed in their culture, having born and grown up in their milieu and so his writing will have more appeal and reliability than the writings of a person, who is alien to that soil. Besides, an alien author who writes the history of a country other than his own mother country will certainly consult many authors of that country before embarking upon such venture.
The same theory applies when you embark upon into writing for International magazines. Even though writing for magazines, both in print and in the on line, has very good scope in English speaking countries like US, Canada, Australia, UK, Ireland, Europe and where English has been a second language or a medium in Asian countries like India, Sri Lanka, Singapore etc, still it is not a rosy picture for the authors who aspire to write articles in the International magazines.
Despite being well versed in the English language, being an adept too in writing articles, still the scope of every aspiring writer to venture into writing articles in the International magazines is somewhat limited, localized besides having other barriers like culture and your writing style etc.
For example Suite 101 is a very popular online magazine based in Canada whose bulk of readership covers people in the countries of North American continent like US, Canada and European countries. Any aspiring writer, who hails from a country other than US or Canada, who wishes to become a freelancer and contribute articles to Suite101, is invariably rejected citing the reasons that his or her style of writing as well as the subject content of his or her sample articles are not suited to the select readership of the magazine.
Some writers suggest that the articles in Suite 101 are mostly published in a third person format and style and if you master the craft of article writing in third person format and style, Suite 101 may open its door to you. But, in my opinion, even if you master the craft in the third person format and style, there is always the cultural barrier and there is every possibility of rejection of your application or query letter stating that your article content is not suitable to its bulk readers.
Recession is the another factor that narrows the scope of writing articles in the International magazines.You may be aware that a number of web sites like Helium, Today, e-How and Associated Content etc have taken a policy decision to make upfront payment for US writers only and Helium has even closed the door for Non-US writers from submitting articles in the web site. Helium has very good rapport and liaison with various on line magazines and web sites which seek web content and articles from Writers and it is needless to mention, for the non-US writers, the scope of writing articles for such magazines or web sites has been closed once and for all.
Other stumbling blocks
Other stumbling blocs are the cultural barriers and the mental predilection of a particular writer to write on a particular subject. When we refer to the cultural barriers between the East and the West, there is a general saying ‘East always remains the East and the West always remains the West and they can never meet’. Despite being an adept in writing, a writer hailing from India, cannot be a well versed person to write about the various aspects of dating culture that prevails in the western culture in an International magazine.
Similarly, a writer hailing from US cannot write about the intricacies of the caste system or about the chastity of an Indian Hindu woman. Even in rearing children, the east, vastly differs from the west.
A writer from the east does not know much about the potty system or culture in rearing the young children as practiced in the western culture. Similarly, Western people are known for their liking or even we can say it as friendship with pets like dogs, cats, birds, horse etc and caring about their shelter, homes etc.In an International magazine, a western writer will definitely score over an eastern writer in winning a project for writing article on pets. Similarly, the LGBT marriage laws and their struggle to gain equality at par with others, is a subject matter exclusively meant for a US writer.
Mental predilection coupled with nativity or familiarity is the another stumbling bloc.For example, even though a writer may be well versed in writing articles on politics, if he or she hails from India, naturally the writer will be inclined to write articles that have a bearing on Indian politics, a writer from US, will naturally write an article on US politics. When you observe the trend of writing articles by various writers even in web sites like Triond, you can very well observe this factor: writers hailing from India invariably choosing topics that have a bearing on Indian politics, Indian political leaders, Indian Historical places of importance, Indian sportsmen, example: Sachin Tendulkar, the writers from US invariably choose a topic that have a bearing in their politics: eg: “If Obama is a racist, then you too”, about US healthcare policy etc, etc.
Therefore, under the prevailing conditions and factors mentioned above, as a writer, if you decide to embark upon for article writing in International Magazines, it does not provide you with a rosy picture or a very conducive atmosphere. Hence, writing articles for International magazines is not
that much easy!
However, there is still a glimmer of hope for article writers who may aspire to write in International Magazines. Choosing a particular niche is one such remedy.If you choose to write on medical or legal topics only, you can still have a chance to break into International Magazines. But comparing with the medical niche, the legal niche still suffers from some handicaps.
While the medical articles may get an international recognition and acclaim, the legal articles do not enjoy such a reputation because, each country has it’s own laws and constitution and its own judicial system. Therefore, even if you choose legal articles as your niche, if you write for an International Magazine, a writer who is well versed in the system of laws which have a bearing on the article topic, will score over other writers. There are still other niche areas as well as general topics like History, Archaeology and scores of other subjects in which you can try your luck.
But when you have an urge to fulfill your desire of getting published in an International Magazine, still it is always safer and better to try your luck where you are born with whose culture, with whose system of laws, with whose politics and with whose leaders you are more familiar with. Till then sharpen your pen!