Creating e-Clippings

Cover of sample article e-clipping:


One of my banes, as a writer, is that I often write for publications that don’t feature an online edition of their issues. Among other things, this makes it difficult to have small moments of “writer’s pride” by sending someone a link to a new story. A parallel bane is that I’ve accumulated a large number of clippings and magazines I’ve appeared in, and I have no way to share them.

It occurred to me, as I’m sure it has to others, that this problem could be addressed by making digital photocopies available via a scanner, using PDF format. These can be posted online as examples of my writing, with the added benefit that PDF’s print well when I want a hard copy.

It only took a small leap for me to realize that if I had the entire magazine, I could also photocopy its front cover to provide a visual reference context to the article, the way Amazon includes an image of the cover of a book.

There may be some rights issues embedded in this method of exhibiting my work, but I suspect it’s largely theoretical. I can think of few publishers or advertisers who would mind their artwork or ads getting a bit more viewing by readers. It’s what they strive for.

After a number of experiments, here’s what I’ve developed as an approach:

1. Scan the magazine pages at 150 dpi (dots per inch) in jpeg format. 300 dpi looked good but made for very large files and downloads. 75 dpi looked scruffy both on screen and on printouts.

2. Create a cover page in a word processor that can also handle graphics. I use NeoOffice on the Mac, a variant of Open Office. Word should work just as well.

3. Insert the scanned jpeg images, each on a newly created empty page.

4. Save the original word-processing file, then export the file to PDF.

5. Place the PDF on your website so you can send out links. Preferrably, include a titles page on your site so those looking at your credentials as a writer can check out some of your work.

That’s it. Well not quite. Back up your files to other media. Take one copy offsite for additional protection.

You can sample my first online test of concept here: Digital Reading.

If you have additional ideas about creating e-clippings and e-reprints, I’d love to hear about it. Contact me at

7 thoughts on “Creating e-Clippings

  1. I would scan and save the pages as PDFs and then merge the PDFs into one file. I use CutePDF Pro, which lets me merge separate PDF files, as well as offer other copy editing features such as marking up PDF files (e.g., add comments and notes, as well as highlighting). The free version of CutePDF allows printing to PDF.

  2. Hi Chet,

    That sounds pretty cool! How, in the CutePDF system, would you add the bibliographic info that I’ve put over the cover page? Does it allow you to put in a text box?


  3. Hi Gene

    Yes, the Pro version allows a text box. Altho I don’t think it allows font or size selection.

  4. Hi Gene,

    For what it’s worth, I usually just produce a low res scan, type a brief synopsis (3 or 4 sentences) and link to the “order back issues by post” section of the magazine’s website. I’m not convinced that it increases sales at all, but it does make my website prettier…

    Your method sounds good- although I don’t know how the income from that would compare with- say- selling the rights for one territory to the original magazine and then selling the rights for other territories to another one, through a syndication company. I guess the answer to that also depends a lot on the subject area- for example, the kind of things I write (wildlife stuff, mostly) probably don’t get read as much online as- say- articles on computers.
    Best Wishes,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *