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How to Write for Magazines & Get Paid

by Ian Linton

To write for magazines as a career and get paid, you can follow a number of different paths. You can apply for a position as a staff writer, establish a career as a freelance writer or combine a full-time career in another field with occasional freelance writing. The goal for people who just want to write occasionally is to find opportunities to see their work in print and get paid.

Assess your writing ability and subject knowledge. Consider writing about business if you have expertise in a particular aspect of work, such as technology, finance or management. Us your in-depth knowledge of sports to write about events or personalities. Share your interest in a hobby by passing on tips or writing articles on technique.

Identify magazines that cover the subjects you feel confident writing about. Review directories, such as “Writer's Guide to Book Editors, Publishers, and Literary Agents” or “Writer’s Market,” that list publishers, their requirements and their terms of payment. Read copies of the magazines that offer potential opportunities to identify the type of material they publish and the writing style that editors prefer.

Consider the different ways you could write for the magazines you have selected as potential markets for your work. Contribute articles if you have specialized knowledge of the subjects that interest the magazine’s readers. Act as a freelance reporter, contributing news stories, if you keep up to date with events or developments in your field. Offer to work as a contributing editor covering a particular topic in depth for the magazine. Compile a list of subjects that you could cover in the form of articles or news stories. Create a bullet-point outline of the topics you'd cover.

Contact magazine editors by letter or email to introduce yourself and ask about writing opportunities. Describe your writing credentials and subject knowledge, citing any of your published material. Include samples of your work. Outline the areas where you could contribute content and provide contact details so that editors can reach you easily if they have assignments. Post your details on a website that operates a database of freelance writers, such as the Society of Professional Journalists’ site.

Send writing proposals to editors, using the outlines you've created. Explain why you have the credentials to write the article and indicate when you can provide the full version. Write the complete article when the editor's accepted your proposal and agreed to a fee for publishing it. Aim to develop relationships with editors who publish your material so that you can build continuity of work.

About the Author

Based in the United Kingdom, Ian Linton has been a professional writer since 1990. His articles on marketing, technology and distance running have appeared in magazines such as “Marketing” and “Runner's World.” Linton has also authored more than 20 published books and is a copywriter for global companies. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in history and economics from Bristol University.

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