Q: I have been a reporter in the daily newspaper business for the past five years. I was a consumer reporter and wrote a weekday column before taking my current position as the editor of a start-up community news weekly at a large daily newspaper. The format for this publication is a reader-submitted one. My writing now is limited to a weekly column and the occasional feature story.

I have realized over the past few months that my desire is to stay at home and be a syndicated columnist using my consumer knowledge. How do I go about doing that, and can I actually support myself financially as a syndicated columnist?

S.M.

A: Well, if I knew the answer to that one, I wouldn't have to sit home and ... do this.

Two routes: Syndicate yourself of get someone else to do it. Both are difficult. Self-syndication means running a business and spending more time selling than you do writing. Getting syndicated requires you to persuade a company to kick someone else out of the selling suitcase and put you in there. That road is paved with rejection. The best platform to come from if you try the second path is as a regular -- and very good -- columnist.

The number of people in this country who support themselves solely on syndicated columns is very, very small. Most are on someone's payroll and syndication fees are gravy.