How to Start Writing for Publications that Pay at Least 10 Cents per Word (Step 2: Read the Publication)

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Ready to start writing for publications that pay a minimum of 10 cents per word?

Last time, I talked about choosing a publication to write for. Now that you have taken this step, the next thing you want to do is spend some time on the publication’s website. Read the articles to get an understanding of the type of writing that is published.

If this publication is a good fit for you, you will probably start generating ideas of your own as you read other people’s articles. You might think to yourself, I could have written that. This is always a good sign.

If the publication does not have a website (rare these days), you may need to buy a couple of sample copies or find some back issues at your local library. It is important, however, not to skip this step. Many guidelines for writers stress the importance of reading the publication – and for a good reason.

As the editors of Canadian Geographic say:

“We don’t have formal writer’s guidelines because we believe that the best indication of what we are looking for can be found in back issues of the magazine itself. It’s important to be familiar with our magazine, its content, architecture, audience and tone before pitching.”

In short, reading the publication reveals crucial information that will help you write the best article or pitch possible. The further back you can read, the more you will gain.

When I go through this process myself, I find that something special happens inside my mind. As I read a publication’s articles and absorb what I am reading, I find myself absorbing the tone of the articles I have read to the point that I actually start thinking in that tone. Long after I log off the computer, I continue with these thoughts and start formulating ideas and sentences in my mind that match the desired tone.

I also take note of things like approximate word count, whether experts are interviewed, if statistics are quoted, etc. This is all part of understanding what a publication offers its readers.

Next time, I’ll post another crucial step to successfully pitching markets that pay a minimum of 10 cents per word: studying the guidelines.

In the meantime, what about you? Do you go into a certain “zone” when researching markets to write for? Tell us about it by leaving a comment – and remember that Book One of my Boost Your Freelance Income series lists 201 markets paying 10 to 15+ cents per word to freelance writers. It’s a great place to start if you’re new to freelance writing.

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