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Freelance Writing For Magazines

Jun 19, 2008
Writing for magazines is a great place to freelance because you can earn a good paycheck writing cover stories, features, how-to articles, interview pieces, product or travel destination reviews, and other types of articles. Plus, your byline will promote yourself as a freelance writer to the public.

Follow these tips:

TIP #1: Most of the articles you will write for magazines will be between 800-1500 words.

TIP #2: Know the magazine before you submit your article. There's nothing worse than submitting an article with the wrong style, topic, or editorial slant to an editor who doesn't publish that kind of article.

TIP #3: If you aren't familiar with the magazine editor and the editor isn't familiar with you, then submit a non-seasonal article (not specific to a time frame) for consideration.

TIP #4: Once you have written your article, study the Internet for the best possible way to write query letters or proposals.

TIP #5: Plan out your article in a well-organized, thoughtful manner. Editors want strong openings and fantastic conclusions.

TIP #6: Pitch an article or query letter to one of the many departments in the magazine. Writing short articles for departments or topic-specific sections is easier to break into.

TIP #7: Articles for print must be better than the articles you write for the web, especially SEO content. Editors expect exceptional work. These days editors expect you to interview sources, gather facts from newsworthy sources, and provide photos or illustrations to accentuate your article. However, with more and more newbie editors coming onto the scene to start a magazine with family money, try to keep your options limited to magazines with good, stable editors who know the business. For instance, freelance writers consider established newsstand magazines as the upper echelon of magazines in the industry. Approach them first. The pay will be better and so will the exposure for you as a writer.

TIP #8: Know your audience. If you don't know your audience, you will not be able to write material aimed at the magazine's readership.

TIP #9: Know what will interest your readers. For example, High Roller Magazine does initiate sales from High Rollers, or at least people who consider themselves to be high rollers. Covering articles on choice destinations with great rooms or a highly profiled tournament should appeal to an editor of a magazine such as this.

TIP #10: Know what topics are highest in demand.


For detailed submission guidelines of many magazine, F&W Publications publishes annual market directories, such as the popular Writer's Market. These annual directories can offer some submission guidelines. I recommend you subscribe to Writer's Market Online, where the publishers routinely update listings and guidelines for magazines and other markets. If you want to sell what you write and make money as a freelance writer, you need Writer's Market Online. In addition to listing magazines that are open for submissions, Writer's Market Online also lists writing opportunities for syndicate services, websites, annual specialty magazines, and special one-shot publications. FreelanceWriting.com also maintains a free database of magazines that pay freelance writers for articles.

You can use Google to find magazines, websites, and other media outlets that hire freelance writers. Use the phrase "writer's guidelines" and/or "submission guidelines" in the search box. You may also want to add a modifier to your search, such as "pets," or "travel," or "technology," etc., depending on what markets you want to find.

By knowing the names of editors and publishers, how to contact them, and what their current editorial needs are, you are that much closer to selling your articles. Furthermore, these directories provide hints and tips on how to submit your material. Each editor and each magazine has different editorial needs and how they accept pitches from outside freelance writers.

Since offline magazines receive hundreds of submissions a month from writers, you must submit your work professionally. If you don't know what editors look for in their submissions, you need to read a couple of the issues. Most, if not all, magazines are available at your local bookstore or supermarket. Buy a copy. Visit each magazine's website (all of them have one) to review their editorial calendar, articles they have recently published, and what they are covering in their next issue and future issues. Each magazine's website will give you valuable hints and insight about what editors are publishing and what they are looking for.

Print magazines are not your only market to sell your articles. Many online magazines are sprouting up on the Internet, and their editorial needs are the same as print publications. The field is wide open.
About the Author
Brian Scott is a freelance writer for http://www.FreelanceWriting.com, a free website offering freelance writing jobs and hundreds of writer's guidelines to paying magazines. Read his blog for freelance writers at http://workingwritersnewsletter.blogspot.com
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