How to Start Writing for Publications that Pay at Least 10 Cents per Word (Step 3: Study the Guidelines)

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Did you know? You can make up to $1 per word or more writing for magazines. Get access to more than 115 high-paying publications today!

Ditch the low-paying content-mills forever, and make at least 10 cents for every word you write! That’s what this site is all about.

So, you’ve chosen a market to write for and read the publication. You have a few ideas running around your mind and think you can pull this off (we’re all rooting for you).

The next thing you want to do is study the guidelines.

Notice that I did not say “read” or “skim” the guidelines (something you may have done when you initially acquired them in Step 1). You need to actually study them now in order to make sure you follow them as closely as possible. Although this may sound obvious, the strange reality is that many writers do not take the time to do this.

WritersWeekly.com (a market that pays approximately 10 cents per word), for example, publishes its guidelines for writers on-line. But that doesn’t stop aspiring writers from sending in poorly written queries.

Now, it may be that you do not know what is meant by “query” or “query letter,” and this is something I will cover in future posts. The more guidelines you examine, the more you will notice that many ask you to send in a query or pitch (essentially the same thing), while others ask for LOIs (Letters of Introduction) or on-spec articles, which are completed manuscripts that you write with no guarantee of having your work published.

There are advantages and disadvantages to each of the above, and I’ll be talking about that in more detail as well.

Right now, though, let’s take another look at the guidelines for WritersWeekly.com.

Notice a few things:

  • The guidelines tell you which types of articles are needed and accepted;
  • The guidelines also tell you which types of articles are NOT needed and accepted;
  • The guidelines tell you NOT to propose columns;
  • The guidelines tell you NOT to send attachments;
  • The guidelines tell you the approximate word counts for each type of article accepted;
  • The guidelines specify that you should send queries rather than completed articles.

Pretty straightforward, right?

But a lot of writers fall into the mistake of merely skimming a publication’s guidelines, causing them to miss important points that may get their articles or queries rejected.

Others think they are somehow above the guidelines—that it’s okay, for example, to write 1,000 words (when the guidelines ask for 600) or to propose a column when the guidelines clearly say not to.

I’m not saying you can never bend the rules or try out a new idea (innovation is often a good thing in this business), but I think it’s somewhat obvious that doing the exact opposite of what an editor requests of you would probably be pretty annoying to the editor.

Ready to query your chosen publication?

Keep following this blog for regular tips on how to successfully write for a living.

In the meantime, I’d love to know which publications you are thinking of querying. Share your plans by leaving a comment!

Did you know?

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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