In order to “be” a writer, you have to write. All those great ideas bumping around in your head won’t get you any closer to being an author until you put them on paper. And really, don’t give me the excuse of, “But I can’t write well.” I’ve heard it enough times that it doesn’t affect me. Of course you can’t write well, if you’re not writing at all!
Being a freelance writer does take more dedication than, say, a press position at a newspaper. You don’t work on deadlines unless your current project states them, and you don’t have a boss breathing down your neck telling you to write more. Instead, you’ve got yourself, your computer, and your desire to be published.
So what do you start with? Take a breath and dive right in – there’s a whole world of options for you to play with. The more you do every day, just a couple of hours at a time, the better your writing becomes and the more income you can start pulling in.
Freelance Writing Jobs
Your computer’s hooked up, you’ve learned the basics of your word processor, and maybe you’ve even had a couple of things published. You’re currently connected to the Internet, so you’re now ready to tackle the writing world … but do you know how many options are actually open to you?
The jobs a freelance writer can find on the Internet are numerous enough that if you just get going and write every day, you’ll have a steady flow of income. Here’s a list of the major jobs you can find doing freelance writing online:
As long as you’re breathing, you have interests in specific areas. Maybe you’re an avid birdwatcher, or perhaps you break away every weekend to explore the depths of caves at the end of a spelunker’s rope. The trick to getting published in magazines is to pick a topic or two that you really enjoy, know a bit about, and are willing to learn more on. As your expertise and interests grow, you’ll be able to branch out on your topics to include a wider audience. In other words, when you’re first starting out, don’t go overboard and try to get published everywhere all at once. Explore the magazine racks at a couple of supermarkets and buy the ones that you think look like something you could write for. Study the writing style and the topics those magazines carry for a couple of months. Once you’ve gotten a good idea of what they’re looking for, and feel confident that you can provide it, sit down at your computer and pen a piece or two. Look online and see if the magazine you’re writing for has submission guidelines – more often than not, these guidelines will point you to the right editor for your submissions and many magazines will accept your work via email, saving you time and money.
Some Magazine Markets to Look At:
55 West Oak Ridge Drive
Hagerstown, Maryland 21740
Contact: Céleste Perrino Walker, Editor.
Email: [email protected] Tel: (301) 393-4082.
A monthly magazine primarily aimed at teenagers, encouraging development of good habits and high ideals of physical, social, and mental health. Editorial philosophy of primary drug prevention is based on total abstinence from tobacco, alcohol, and other drugs. Does not accept articles and stories with overt religious emphasis. Length: 800 to 1,000 words. Submissions: send queries or completed articles. Pay: approx. $0.12 – $0.15 per word upon acceptance. Guidelines:
RELEVANT MAGAZINE, http://www.relevantmagazine.com
PO Box 951127
Lake Mary, FL 32795
Contact: Won Kim, Managing Editor.
Email: [email protected]
Bimonthly Christian magazine whose tagline is: God. Life.
Progressive Culture. Targets culture savvy twenty-somethings who are looking for purpose, depth and spiritual truth. Feature sections include God, Life and Progressive Culture (music, film, TV, books). Submissions: Query first by email. To be considered as a writer for the print edition, please send an email stating your intention to write for the print edition specifically, with three samples of your work attached. Pay: $0.10 per word.
MADISON MAGAZINE, http://www.madisonmagazine.com
7025 W. Raymond Road,
Madison, Wisconsin 53719.
Editor: Neil Heinen.
A monthly lifestyle and business publication. Editorial content is divided into: Your Town, OverTones, Habitat, Fine Dining, the features section, Health Watch, and Madison Business.
Submissions: send a query or article on spec. Pay: varies. Kill fee 33% on assigned pieces. Important: Any story published in Madison Magazine will be considered for publication at madisonmagazine.com, Channel3000.com, or wisbusiness.com. For on-line rights, please refer to the writer’s agreement.
Magazine and Newspaper Fillers
In the beginning, you might have more success breaking into the pages of magazines by writing fillers. These can be really fun work in addition to paying fairly well – jokes, opinion pieces, short lists, surveys, news items, and other short pieces are all termed “fillers”. Most editors are always on the lookout for quality filler items, so you have a great chance of breaking into print if you spend some time coming up with unique pieces. From there, it probably won’t be long until you find your work on the cover pages.
Some Filler Markets to Look At:
READER’S DIGEST, – http://www.readersdigest.com
Go ahead – make us laugh! Everyone’s got a funny story. What’s yours? Believe it or not, we actually pay our readers to make us chuckle. Just send us your hilarious story, and if we publish it in Reader’s Digest, you’ll be laughing all the way to the bank. Here’s how it works:
~We pay $300 for true, never-before-published stories we print in Life in These United States, All in a Day’s Work, Humor in Uniform or Virtual Hilarity.
~We pay $100 to the first contributor of a previously published or original item we print in Laughter, the Best Medicine; in Quotable Quotes; or as a short item used at the end of an article.
FAMILY HANDYMAN – http://www.rd.com/familyhandyman/action.do?siteId=1111&categoryId=6003
Buys: handy hints & great goofs, workshop tips.
Pays $100, more for workshop tips
FAMILY CIRCLE – http://www.familycircle.com/home/homepage.jsp
(Click on “Reader’s Tips” popup)
Buys: Helpful hints, holiday tips, family and personal pampering tips.
Greeting cards and all the related paraphernalia (things like scrolls and plaques) are one of the biggest-selling items in the today. Literally, it’s a billion dollar business. Despite popular belief, the greeting card market is not easy to break into. It can take a long time for greeting card companies to respond (usually at least one month), and an even longer time before you will see your work in print. Why even try? Because it is one of the best paying writing markets available. For a brief, well-crafted piece you can expect to earn several hundred dollars. The best way to go here is to spend some time reading greeting cards online (not ecards, unless that’s what you want to write for) and try your pen at greeting card verse whenever you need a break from your regular work or have a few hours to spare – once you get started, I guarantee that you won’t want to stop.
Some Greeting Card Markets to Look At:
BLUE MOUNTAIN ARTS, http://www.sps.com
P.O. Box 1007
Boulder, CO 80306
Email: [email protected]
Interested in reviewing writings suitable for publication on greeting cards. Looking for highly original and creative submissions on friendship, family, special occasions, positive living, and other topics one person might want to share with another person. Submissions may also be considered for inclusion in book anthologies. Submissions from outside are also accepted, but only in English. Submissions: by mail or email. No email attachments or web links. No phone calls. Pay: $300 for all rights and $50 if your poem is used only in an anthology.
Guidelines: available by sending a blank email to [email protected] with “Send Me Guidelines” in the subject line.
P.O. Box 138W3
Rochester, VT 05767 USA
Pays $75 per idea. Guidelines are available on our website at: http://www.awoc.com/guidelines.cfm
P.O. Box 308
Franklin Park, IL 60131 USA
Send 20 ideas per batch
Humor, Gags, and One-Liners
Ever wonder how those silly one-liners made it on to a bumper sticker? Freelance writers are usually the brains behind these catchy phrases, and can get paid as much as $50 per word. Hey, you won’t get any credit for it other than the pay check, but at times … could you really care less? This is another market that isn’t easy to break into, and you’ll need to submit batches of ideas at a time, but if you can come up with some humorous stuff this might be just the place to while your free time away in.
Some Humor & One-Liner Markets to Look At:
New York, NY 10012 USA
Send SASE for guidelines. Submit no more that 10 ideas per batch. Pays $50 per gag line.
Dr. Burlingame , CA 94010 USA
Adult humor, send 20-30 ideas per batch. Pays $60-$100.
Send SASE for Writer’s guidelines/market list.