An earlier post touched on writing shorter articles, and more of them, as one way of increasing freelance income. Now seems like a good time to post some paying markets for short articles, so here goes:
Freelancers most often break in here with shorter pieces (up to 1,200 words) on backpacking adventures, nature, techniques about hiking and other outdoor activities, tested recipes and food suggestions, and health issues ranging from poison ivy to snakebites to altitude sickness.
Payment is on acceptance and the magazine wants all rights. Pays $.60 to $1.00 a word, depending on complexity and demands of the article and experience of the writer. Guidelines are available here.
For End Piece, the magazine wants a strong, thoughtful, first-person essay of 550 words, related to writing. May be humorous, motivational or philsophical.
Read the magazine for other departments. First $ale carries 250-300 word accounts of a writer’s first sale. Writing-related humor of 50-400 words is needed for Only When I Laugh. For Great American Bookstores, editors want features on outstanding independent bookstores in 400 words (with a high quality photo) (500 words with no photo). Stores should be unique in some way and also promote writers. No chains, children’s only, or used bookstores. Here are writer’s guidelines. Mail/phone: ByLine Magazine, P.O. Box 111, Albion, NY 14411, 585-355-8172.
This website for women welcomes personal essays (800-1200 words) for publication every month. Pays $100. A list of themes on topics of interest to women is on the website and contributions should relate to a theme. Wants personal essays (800-1200 words) and is always looking for new contributors. Buys one-time rights. No fiction or poetry. Check the website for monthly themes. The complete calendar will be published soon.
The magazine does, on occasion, accept unsolicited manuscripts and proposals, most commonly for departments and particularly for The Last Page, a monthly 550-700 word column that aims at humor. Because of the difficulty in judging humor, the magazine wants to see only completed manuscripts for the column. Payment ranges from $1,000 to $1,500. See writer’s guidelines here.
According to the Smithsonian:
“The article should be amusing and the tone genial — a story rather than a list of jokes or situations. The story usually relates to the writer’s own particular experience. For example, what happened after he shaved off his moustache; what it’s like to be colorblind (or a hypochondriac); or how an innocent-seeming toy ant farm turned into an unintended lesson in life. A Last Page story has a beginning, middle and end, and something happens. The best way to learn what a successful Last Page piece is, and how it works, is to study several of them.”
The magazine is looking for true stories of hope and inspiration. Pays $250-$500 (occasionally higher) for full-length articles of 750-1,500 words; $100-$250 for shorter manuscripts (250-750 words) and $25-$100 for short features and fillers. No fiction, essays or sermons. For department requirements and writer’s guidelines, go to the website.
So there you are — five markets that could help add to your income. Please let me know if you find it helpful to learn about markets here. If so, I’ll search out more from time to time. If you have some markets to share, please let us know.
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Use the listed information at your own risk. Words into Print gives no warranty to
completeness, accuracy, or fitness of the markets, although research is done to the best of our ability.
The whole concept of copyright can be puzzling to new writers. I tell them to think about it like this: The work we produce is the “copy” and our ownership of that copy is the “right.” Your work is copyrighted when you create it, and you own all rights to it, unless or until you allow someone else to use it or you transfer your rights to others. Note, however, that when you write anything under a works-for-hire agreement, you have no rights whatsoever to the work you create.
That said, here are three essential things writers need to know about copyright:
1. You don’t have to put copyright information on any manuscript you send to an editor or agent. In fact, you should not. Those who work in publishing know that you own the work you create. When you put copyright information on a manuscript, it makes you seem like an amateur who is expecting someone to steal your work — not the impression you want to give an editor or agent.
2. It is wise to include copyright information on work to be published in other situations, especially on the Internet. That gives notice to others that you own the work and you don’t want anyone infringing on your rights to it. It’s important to put copyright information on posts on your blogs and anywhere else where those who might not know better could lift your work — or large parts of it — for their own purposes. That’s one reason you’ll find copyright information at the end of every post on my blog. The proper form to use is the word “copyright” or the copyright symbol ©, the date and the author.
3. For the most protection, you have to register your work with the Copyright Office of the U.S. Library of Congress. This is especially true for book authors. Magazine writers rarely register their individual published work because magazines register every issue of their publications (writers still retain their original copyright protection on their own completed work). Currently, the cost for a paper copyright application is $45. The cost for electronic copyright filing is $35. Those fees may increase soon.
You can visit the Copyright Office website for details about a possible fee increase in the future and for more information about copyrights.
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Here’s a question for magazine writers and for those who want to be magazine writers: Do you know about the work of Mr. Magazine™? Dr. Samir Husni, Chair of the Journalism Department at the University of Mississippi, is Mr. Magazine™ and he’s probably the most informed person you’d ever find on the subject.
For 22 years, Mr. Magazine™ has been putting out his Guide to New Magazines. He is also editor of The Future of Magazines and author of Launch Your Own Magazine: A Guide for Succeeding in Today’s Marketplace.
Back in the days when I was writing a weekly marketing and communications column for a business newspaper, he was the expert source I tapped for specialized information about magazines, especially newly launched ones. His fame has grown even more since then.
According to Forbes Magazine, Dr. Husni is “the country’s leading magazine expert.” CBS News Sunday Morning called him “a world-renowned expert on print journalism.” The Chicago Tribune went further, naming him “the planet’s leading expert on new magazines.”
He’s been interviewed by most every major print publication in the country. He has appeared on Good Morning America, CNN, PBS, and CBS News Sunday Morning and many other TV shows. He’s presented seminars on trends in American magazines to the staffs of magazine groups and associations, and he’s been an expert witness in lawsuits involving Time, Inc., and American Express Publishing.
Click over to his website to find out which new magazines are coming on the market now and which are biting the dust. Curious about the effect of new media on newsstand sales? Want to learn why Wal-Mart is giving the boot to some 1,000 titles from its shelves? Like to find out which were the 17 hottest new magazines launched in 2007 and what they’re like? Mr. Magazine™ has the answers.
Those 17 publications are all potential markets for you and me, just like these three new magazines he focused on recently: Corporate Leader, which covers men and women who are running today’s corporations; Rounder, for those interested in gambling and the gambling lifestyle, and the bi-monthly Science Illustrated, the largest-circulation magazine in Scandinavia, which is making its debut on U.S. newsstands.
If you’re really serious about being a magazine writer, you might consider another — although belated — New Year’s resolution: to check into Mr. Magazine’s site on a regular basis. I know I’ll do that without fail.
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Two things we freelancers think about a lot: how to get paid what we’re worth and how to get paid on time. I’ve put the little grey cells to work on these topics a time or two. That’s when I came up with these five tactics to help increase my writing income and make checks land in my mailbox in a timely manner.
1. Write for higher paying publications.
We don’t have to write for low-pay or no-pay publications. Many writers do quite well by submitting only to publications that pay $1 a word or more. You can, too. How to find those publications? Do a Google search for “publications,” then search within the results using these phrases: “pays $1 a word,” “pays $1.00 a word” and “pays $1 a word or more” to build your own list of higher-paying magazines (you get most results by using all three examples). The National Writer’s Union some time ago put out a list of magazines paying that amount and it has been re-posted on the website of the Society of Professional Journalists. I can’t vouch for the accuracy of the list at this time because it’s been out for a while. You might need to check to see if certain publications are still in business.
2. Write shorter articles and more of them.
While this involves more work on your part, writing shorter articles can add money to your bank account. If you usually write full-length articng shorter articlesles, consider writing essays, anecdotes, miniprofiles, opinion pieces, humor, reviews and other short pieces. In her book, The 30-Minute Writer, Connie Emerson shows how to maximize your writing time by focusing on these short pieces. And that can give your income a boost. Magazines seem to be using more short articles than previously, so be aware of that when considering publications to query.
3. Ask for more money
If you’ve written several articles for a low-pay publication or for one paying less than $1.00 a word, try to negotiate a higher rate for your next assignment. It’s quite appropriate to ask an editor for more money based on your experience working for that magazine. I’ve had editors bump up my check by several hundred dollars when I suggested that it was time for raising my pay rate.
4. Write only for publications that pay on acceptance.
This won’t guarantee that you’ll be paid quickly, but it’s sure quicker than writing for a magazine that pays on publication. Some publications even pay 30 or 60 days following publication—quite unacceptable. After receiving an assignment, make sure the payment terms are included in any letter of agreement you send to the editor or in any contract the magazine sends you. If payment details are not in any contract, an email or phone call to the editor may be in order.
Time for a small success story here: When one editor contacted me to do copyediting work and told me that payment would be made on publication, I politely told her that I only worked for publications that pay on submission, whether for writing or for copyediting. I reminder her that the printer, photographer and other suppliers were paid when their bills were presented, not after publication, and I felt it was discriminating not to treat me as they did other suppliers. The editor then agreed to pay me within two weeks of my invoice date. Had I agreed to be paid on publication, I might have had to wait two or three months for a check.
5. Make it easy for publications to pay you.
Don’t give them any excuse for holding up your check. Omitting vital information on an invoice can slow the payment process, especially now that some magazines are outsourcing their account payable operations. When you send a completed article to your editor, include a dated invoice containing the name and amount due for the article. Make sure the invoice includes your name, postal and email addresses, telephone number, and either your social security number or business identification number if you have one. If you’ve been assigned a vendor number, include that. And put the payment due date in a prominent place.
Got ideas of your own about this subject? I’d love to hear them. Please put them in the comments.
To change an old saw around, all work and no play makes Jack and Jill dull writers. When my words begin to sound dull to me, I know others will find them dull, too. But taking a break from work to lighten up a bit may perk up our writing. I spent one lighten-up break recently taking a tour of the “101 Best Websites for Writers” in Writer’s Yearbook 2008.
I really liked eighteenquestions.com. The site asks authors to answer 18 questions and posts their answers for you to read. More than 100 writers have already posted answers. According to WD, going to the site is a great way to get several opinions on particular writing issues. A bonus: If you’re a published writer, you, too, can answer the 18 questions and have your answers posted on the site.
At smithmag.net/sixwords/ I found a site that offers a fun contest: write on different themes using only six words. WD calls it a challenge that can help remedy writer’s block. I call it a fine way to take your mind off work.
If you have a birthday or anniversary coming up, make sure everyone you know bookmarks these two websites. At coolstuff4writers.com, they can buy t-shirts, sweat shirts, mugs, books, ebooks, and other cool writing-related stuff for you, including koozies for your cans of cola. At writesideout.com/ they can find an array of gear for writers you might like, from book cover art to wise-and-witty garments, bags, mugs and more.
Take a break from writing, and from all the negative news on TV and elsewhere, and go to refdesk.com to find lots of good stuff. Did you know that the first Mickey Mouse comic strip was released in 1930? The site covers good news from around the world and it provides a positive quote of the day (today’s was “Hard things are put in our way, not to stop us, but to call out our courage and strength”). You’ll also find games, puzzles, daily humor, poetry, and a writer’s almanac by Garrison Keillor.
For the ultimate in relaxation, consider this, taken straight from the armchairinterviews.com/ website:
“Pretend you’re snuggled in your well-worn armchair, ready to dig into your favorite author’s latest book. Your slippered feet rest lightly on the ottoman, and you’re holding a steaming cup of aromatic Earl Grey. The room is quiet, your tabby cat is curled at your feet and the children are tucked safely in bed.”
If that doesn’t put you in the mood to relax and read a good book or listen to the online author interviews presented on the site, you definitely do need a break from work. Or else you’ll be stuck in Dullsville for a long, long time.
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It was a dark and stormy Saturday night, but that didn’t deter me from my planned trip to Barnes & Noble to buy the newest issue of Writer’s Digest. Even though I’ve been reading WD for years, I’m not a subscriber. I prefer to pick up my copies at the newsstand.
That’s because I’m a magazine junkie at heart. I check each week to see what new publications are on the newsstand. I spend time dreaming through the pages of travel magazines. I flip through computer publications, yearning for the newest technology. I mentally remodel our living room and plan a stunning backyard setting like those I find in home-and-garden magazines. I study the news magazines to pick up any morsels of news I’d not previously seen in my daily paper or on the Internet. Then, since much of my work involves writing about business, I turn to the business publications to see what they’re covering this week. It’s a rare trip when I don’t come away with a dozen ideas for articles I’d like to write.
On this night, I picked up the newest Writer’s Digest, plus Writer’s Yearbook 2008 and The Writer, and moved to a nearby bench that was already occupied by a woman with three cooking magazines on her lap. As she moved over a bit to make room for me on the bench, one of her magazines slid to the floor — a slick publication with celebrity chef Paula Deen on the cover. As she picked up the magazine, the woman leaned toward me and remarked, “Don’t you just love Paula Deen? She’s wonderful! It’s a marvel to me how she puts so much butter and mayonnaise into everything she cooks.”
But I wasn’t interested in conversation or cooking. Writing is what brought me here and I was not to be deterred, so I just smiled and turned away, opening my Writer’s Digest, trying to decide which article I’d favor most this month. In every issue, I find something that helps me become a more confident writer, take a new path, learn how famous writers produce their work, or hone a writing skill.
And there it was on page 32, what I needed this month, an article about writing a book. “Baby Steps,” by Bill O’Hanlon. Plus there were two more articles about writing books in the issue. Only this morning I had confided to another writer that through more than 25 years writing for magazines, what I’d always wanted to do was write a novel. I still do.
O’Hanlon’s article was written to help writers stop obsessing about writing a book and just do it. Break it down into small tasks, he says, break the mental barrier, develop your identity as a writer. The blurb says, “Spend 15 minutes writing one page, five time a week for a year.” Now that I think I could do.
I don’t know how long WD has been in business, but I do know that it does a fine job of answering questions, solving quandaries, and generally supporting and inspiring writers to practice the craft, to persevere. There’s also an online version, writersdigest.com, that, like the print publication, is also helpful for writers, both published and aspiring.
Along with selected articles from the print version, the website offers writing exercises, blogs, market listings, a searchable database of guidelines, and a free newsletter that can be delivered to your inbox. If you’re as big a magazine junkie as I, you’ll find that both the web site and the print version are great resources for your writing.
And if you happen to be at a certain Barnes & Noble anytime soon and see a short, graying, grandmotherly-type woman flipping through the pages of nearly every publication on the newsstand, then carefully choosing several writing mags to buy, that’s probably me, the magazine junkie, indulging in my passion for magazines. Again.
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©2008 by Laverne Daley