December 20, 2010

Tear Sheets: to keep or not - Kimberley Payne

On The Word Guild listserv, Denise Rumble asked the question, “Why do we keep all those tear-sheets? Do you just tear out the pages or do you keep the entire publication? And then, how do you store all of it?”

Two prolific authors share their experiences with tear sheets:

Ray Wiseman shares, “I keep them because I like to look back to review topics I dealt with years ago--sometimes it's fun to have a nostalgic moment and go poking through them.

“I have mission mags from the 70s written from overseas and copies of newsletters--that goes way back before I was a 'writer'. This was good research material when writing *When Cobras Laugh*.

“I have most of the major reports and bulletins produced for Rogers in the 80s and copies of the Partners magazines I wrote for in the 90s--kept strictly for nostalgia reasons.

“When I began writing newspaper columns in 91, I would keep a copy in a scrapbook (only the tear sheet with the date and name of publication). I quit doing that a few years ago and now file a hard copy of every column in a three-ring binder. These are strictly for backup, because I have computer files of everything I have written since the mid 80s.

“Newspaper columns features, and books and other articles I keep on my hard drive--other things I have on disks. This way I can do word searches and find almost anything I have ever written about in 25 years.

“I also have kept a few samples of some of the periodicals I have written for.

“I have kept some things thinking I would need them for promo reasons—I don't remember ever doing that.”

How does he store all of it? “All over the place! On a couple of bookshelves and in a box or two. Just before writing this I was searching for a book and found about five volumes on WordPerfect dating back to the 80s--dumped it all in the recycle bin! I need to recycle a few more things.”

Donna Fawcett shares, “I have found tear sheets to be very useful. I have proof of where and when I had those articles published and have actually been asked to supply issue dates of publications containing my articles--once. That editor wanted to make sure I really was who I said I was.

“They are also encouraging to read after I receive a rejection slip:)

“And I use them at book signings as a promotional tool for credibility. I've had people approach my table as skeptics and walk away with a book because of the tear sheets.

“I store them in a binder after laminating them. I keep the magazine cover and my article and laminate them back to back.”

Do you keep tear sheets? If so, what do you do with them? 


  1. I keep reading about tear sheets. OK, I give up. What are they?

  2. Hi Bryan,

    A tear sheet is just a sample of your published writing. It could be your article or devotional or editorial piece etc. that is cut or "torn" from the periodical, newspaper or book.

  3. Ah! Yes I have lots of those, not necessarily my writing, but newspaper cuttings about family events.

    What to do with them? Perhaps they'll just become a legacy for our children--they'll probably know what to do with them!


Thank you for taking the time to join in the conversation. Our writers appreciate receiving your feedback on posts you have found helpful or meaningful in some way.