A tear sheet is a good marketing tool for writers. It is proof that you are a published writer and that you have diverse knowledge about various subjects, if that is the case or you have a hold on a few niche markets and is considered an expert in these particular subjects.
Before the widespread use of the computer and the various methods to save your written documents, writers will literally tear or clip their published works from magazines and newspapers and paste them on clean sheets of paper for easier compilation and filing. Today, tear sheets come in the form of PDF and scanned images of published works. Here are some steps on how to prepare tear sheets.
- Collect all your published materials by securing copies of newspapers and magazines where your articles appeared. Clip your articles, including the name of the publication and the date of publication. You can request for a free copy or buy a copy of a magazine or newspaper where your article appeared.
- Scan all your clipped articles so that you can have an electronic file. This is more credible than just sending your original word document file. Convert these scanned images into PDF files. If you do not have Adobe Acrobat Professional, you can always look for a free PDF converter application and install it on your PC. This works like a printer. Choose Print from your software application, select the PDF converter from the list of printers and click OK. This will save the image in PDF format. For multiple pages of an article that you have written, scan only the first page.
- Attach these PDFs to the email queries that you send to several editors when you are soliciting for writing jobs. Choose the best samples of your work for general distribution and use only those that are representative of a particular niche for selective email queries.
- Some recipients are still very wary of opening PDF documents and it will help if you can paste the scanned image file or the actual PDF of your tear sheets in the body of your email.
- Limit the number of tear sheets that you will include in your email queries. It is normal to attach three samples at the most. Indicate to the recipient that you will be very happy to provide more samples if needed.
- Glue your hard copy cleanly on nice sheets of paper for a physical portfolio of all your work. You should also have several very clear photocopies of all your tear sheets to protect the originals. Use colored photocopies for those articles that have colored photographs for better presentation. You can attach these to queries that you send by snail mail.
- Invest in a good portfolio holder to store the hard copies of your work. This can be a very impressive tool to show to publications, editors and prospective clients. This will also protect you’re the hard copies. Make a colored photocopy compilation of your work that you can leave with prospective clients, editors and publications. Be sure to include your name and contact information.
Always ensure that you get a copy of all your published works to build your writing portfolio. Make tear sheets of all those that come out in standard publications such as newspapers and magazines. Do not include those articles that you submit to content websites that call for submissions from willing amateur writers.