For some of you, 10 cents per word will seem ridiculously low. For others, however, it is a huge step up from the low-paying “content mills” that exploit writers by paying ridiculous rates. As I frequently state, writing (and selling) just 5,000 words for 10 cents a word will result in a monthly income of $2,000, which is a life-changing amount for many people.
Many people don’t know where to start, however, and one of the most frequent questions I have received over the years from aspiring writers is:
How do I get started writing for magazines or websites that pay a minimum of 10 cents per word? What is the process?
The process is actually very simple, and I will break it down for you in the next few posts.
First, choose a publication you are interested in writing for, and determine whether it is a paying market. If you’re not sure where to start, I have compiled a database of 200+ magazines, websites, and other publications that pay freelance writers 10 to 15 cents per word:
As I will explain later, sticking with markets in a certain pay-range will help ensure that you meet your income goals as a freelancer. Even if you really like a particular publication, you don’t want to get stuck working for free if you find out at a later stage that there is no budget for freelance articles.
The majority of markets listed in the above database contain links to writer guidelines that state the rate of pay.
A lot of times, however, magazines do not publish their guidelines on-line, and if they do, they do not necessarily state how much they pay. In such cases, you may have to e-mail the editor. Some editors will e-mail you a copy of the guidelines or (much less frequently these days) ask you to send a SASE so they can send the guidelines by snail-mail. Sometimes they will just write you an informal e-mail stating their needs.
In any case, avoid working blindly for a publication. Obtain guidelines, and make sure the market is a paying one. This will save you tons of time before you commit to a writing assignment.
As for how to choose a publication, this is highly individual, but I would suggest starting with a magazine or website that covers a topic you are somewhat familiar with. The first magazine I ever wrote for was one I had been reading as a subscriber for nearly ten years. It covered a topic I was interested in, and I understood the target audience extremely well. It also did not require advanced writing techniques, such as conducting interviews or extensive research, making it a perfect beginner’s market.
I’ll tell you more about my (somewhat comical) experiences writing for this magazine later on, but that brings me to the end of today’s post. Next time, I’ll discuss the importance of reading your chosen publication.
In the meantime, have you written for magazines or websites? How did you get your first gig? Share your experiences by leaving a comment!