17 Number 3 - January 22, 2013
- Feature "Quality articles. Quality Relationships. Quality Income"
by Steff Green
- 15 Paying Markets - High, Medium, and Low
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Quality articles. Quality Relationships. Quality Income
by Steff Green
When I started freelance writing, I was told to make any kind of successful career out of writing, I would need to make contact with an editor and pitch an article every single day.
All the experts said "Send a query every day". So I listened, and I sent a query every day. In fact, in my usual desire to work twice as hard as everyone else, I would over exceed this, sending five, ten … up to twenty letters every day.
As soon as one rejection came in, I'd edit and send the query out again. I kept this up for many months, sending out hundreds of queries and waiting for the job offers to roll in.
And they did, sort of. I wrote for several magazines, including a few high paying ones. I even "broke" into a couple of my favorite major publications, so I figured I had the hang of this freelance writing business. But I wasn’t earning anything like what I thought I’d be earning – I certainly couldn’t pay the bills with my freelance income, despite the hours of work I put into querying.
I kept at it, convinced I was onto a winning formula.
I was wrong.
In aiming for breadth, rather than depth, I wasn't trying to sell again to the same markets. I didn't build relationships with editors. Each time I queried, I was trying to "break" into a market. I was working my ass off instead of chilling out with the network I’d already built.
Cue facepalm. I know, how silly, right?
I sold over 100 articles, but it took me much longer and expended much more effort than it should have. And in the frenzy of querying and writing and getting work I had completely overlooked the need for making connections with editors, clients and other writers.
The following year, I revised my strategy. I focused on sending queries to only the 10 magazines I enjoyed the most. Instead of sending 30 queries to 30 new magazines every month, I send off a completed assignment with two new pitches to around 5 different editors. I focused on building relationships with magazines, and having myself known for a certain type of article.
I connect with editors via Twitter and LinkedIn, and email them back immediately with the contract, more pitches and ideas. I work on making each article the best thing I’ve ever written, so they can’t help but ask me for more. I spend less time frantically querying, and more time on what I really love – writing.
And, since I've done this, I've noticed several changes:
- I'm spending a lot less time researching markets and writing queries and a lot more time writing and selling work
- I've been offered more features and higher-paying jobs, because editors know who I am and trust me to write a good piece
- I've landed my first ever bi-monthly column
- Editors have recommended me to colleagues, bringing in additional work
- My income from freelance writing has become more regular, and steadily increased.
The moral of the story is: quality wins over quantity every time. Not just quality of your work, but the quality of the connections you make with people in the industry.
© 2013 by Steff Green
15 Paying Markets
Updated or added in our database since January 15, 2013
High - Over
Heliotrope Magazine - Guidelines:
Pays on publication. Seeks nonfiction, fiction, fillers. Subjects: Science Fiction, Fantasy, Mystery and Horror short stories.
Midwest Living - Guidelines:
Pays on acceptance. Seeks nonfiction, columns/departments. Subjects: Travel, food, home and garden.
Smithsonian Magazine - Guidelines:
Pays on acceptance. Seeks nonfiction, columns/departments, photos/artwork. Subjects: Arts, science, technology, history, nature, the environment, culture.
The Sun - Guidelines:
Pays on publication. Seeks nonfiction, fiction, fillers, photos/artwork. Subjects: Essays, interviews, fiction, and poetry.
Yoga Journal - Guidelines:
Pays on acceptance. Seeks nonfiction, columns/departments, photos/artwork. Subjects: Yoga, Nutrition and diet, cooking, natural skin, body care.
$125 - $500
Okanagan Life Magazine - Guidelines:
Pays on publication. Seeks nonfiction, photos/artwork. Subjects: Regional magazine serving Okanagan residents Valleywide in British Columbia Canada.
Online - Guidelines:
Pays on publication. Seeks nonfiction, photos/artwork. Subjects: Practical, how-to advice on the efficient and effective use of electronic information.
Paint Horse Journal - Guidelines:
Pays on acceptance. Seeks nonfiction, photos/artwork. Subjects: Paint horses, owners, historical, how-to, train and show horses.
Scale Auto - Guidelines: Seeks nonfiction, photos/artwork. Subjects: Model cars.
This Land - Guidelines:
Pays on publication. Seeks nonfiction, photos/artwork. Subjects: Explores the cultural landscape of Oklahoma: past, present, and future.
Low - Less
Colorado Central Magazine - Guidelines:
Pays on publication. Seeks nonfiction, columns/departments, photos/artwork. Subjects: Culture, economy, politics, issues, people, history of Central Colorado and the San Luis Valley.
Lake Country Journal - Guidelines:
Pays on publication. Seeks nonfiction, fiction, columns/departments, fillers, photos/artwork. Subjects: North central Minnesota lakes area.
Road & Travel Magazine - Guidelines:
Pays on publication. Seeks nonfiction, columns/departments, photos/artwork. Subjects: Automotive, travel, and personal safety topics, slanted towards women.
Snowshoe Magazine - Guidelines:
Pays on publication. Seeks nonfiction, photos/artwork. Subjects: Profiles, destinations, health/fitness, snowshoe race coverage, protection of the environment.
Travelers' Tales - Guidelines:
Pays on publication. Seeks nonfiction. Subjects: Anthology, travel stories personal, nonfiction stories, anecdotes-funny, illuminating, adventurous.
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