Are you a writer looking to increase your bottom line?
Do you need fresh ideas for markets to query?

The above guides can help.

Each one contains up-to-date guidelines and contact information for dozens of hand-picked markets that I personally researched so you can concentrate on more important things--like, you know, actually writing.

Get started by choosing the rate that most appeals to you at this point in your career:

* 10 to 15 Cents per Word (100+ markets)
* 20 to 30 Cents per Word (100+ markets)
* 35 to 50 Cents per Word (55+ markets)
* 50 Cents or More per Word (55+ markets)
* $1 per Word and UP (23+ markets)

Note: This blog is moving to Hope to see you there!

Friday, August 2, 2013

Could you Borrow $100 from a Stranger?

Do you view editors as
ogres who take pleasure
in trashing your work?
Back in May, I told you about Jia Jiang, an Austin-based entrepreneur who's vlogging his attempts at being rejected 100 times over the course of 100 days. As of this writing, he’s almost done with his goal and has learned powerful lessons about business, communication, customer service, and career advancement in the process. Along the way, there have been lots of great nuggets for freelance writers, too.

On Jia’s first day of rejection therapy (Watch the Video), for example, he attempted to borrow $100 from a stranger and was immediately rejected with a no. If you watch the footage, you can see that Jia is quite nervous and is relieved that the stranger, who appears to be a security guard, only says no without getting angry or pulling out a gun.

Something Jia fails to notice, however, is that the security guard does not, in fact, just say no. He also asks him a question: Why?

But Jia is so focused on his goal of rejection that he just walks away, perhaps missing the opportunity to gain the interest or sympathy of the security guard, who might actually be persuaded to lend him the $100 if he understands why he needs it.

As you can see, Jia has painted a picture of this man in his head of a scary authority-figure who has the ability to crush him. He thus approaches him in a way that sets himself up for rejection without even considering the possibility that he might actually be interested in what he has to say.

A lot of writers exhibit the same complex when it comes to editors. They do not think of editors as regular people with children and a mortgage who go grocery shopping and scrub the kitchen sink after dinner. Instead they are ogres sporting evil grins whose sole purpose in life is to trash your work and make you feel like a lowly beggar for having the audacity to seek publication in their magazines.

When you approach an editor with feelings of fear and inferiority, this is likely to show in your writing.

My husband, who is a sales and marketing professional, has advised me numerous times not to write things like, “Sorry to bother you” in an e-mail. He says people often write such phrases with the idea they are being polite, but that it gives one the appearance of having done something wrong. Subconsciously, an editor may believe you are a weak writer when you continuously apologize or subtly put yourself down by mentioning your lack of experience, your lack of education, your lack of clips, or anything else that you may lack. I don’t know about you, but I would certainly feel reluctant to hire someone who kept telling me how unqualified they were.

Did you notice how quickly Jia cut short his interaction, which is essentially a pitch, with the security guard?

Did you notice the lack of introduction?

Personally speaking, I wouldn’t be very inclined to loan a stranger $100 either, unless I felt there was a strong reason to do so. If Jia had introduced himself in a friendly manner and perhaps explained some difficulty he was having (desperately needed to have his car towed, for example), this would have established some degree of trust and rapport between the two parties.

As an editor and occasional outsourcer, though, I have had the experience of writers and others sending me form e-mails that are impersonal and do not take the time to explain why I should be interested in their services. These individuals are so focused on their own needs (getting published or making money) that they forget that any work they do is supposed to serve the needs of the magazine or business. They forget that I need to trust them before I can even think about assigning them an article or job.

Successful pitches are clear, succinct, and show that the writer has enough confidence to handle an assignment.

Take Control

Here are some things to reflect on:
  • Remember that editors are regular people like you and me. What’s more, they need talented writers to make contact with them so that they have enough material to publish. If they fail to get enough material for a magazine issue, they will often end up having to write it themselves. In effect, they are looking for reasons to accept, not reject, your articles, but you must convince them that you are the right person for the job.

  • If an editor does happen to reject your work, understand that they are not doing so to be mean or spiteful. They are simply acting in the best interests of the magazine at the time. Take your idea to another publication, or pitch another idea entirely. Be objective about your pitches to see if you have conveyed your ideas clearly.

  • Remove self-deprecating language from your correspondence with editors. Talk about what you can do – not what you can’t.

  • Add a touch of personality to your queries and pitches. Your queries should be tailored to the particular publication and show that you are enthusiastic about your work.

Been rejected lately? Share your insights by leaving a comment.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

50 Markets that Pay Freelance Writers More than 50 Cents per Word – Including 27 Markets that Pay up to $1 per Word and More

The fourth e-book in my Markets for Writers series is now available for sale at Here is some information about the new title:

  • All of the publications listed in this e-book pay more than 50 cents per word. The pay may vary depending on the specific department you write for and other factors, such as the quality of your articles and the amount of time and research you put into writing them, but these are all high-paying markets.
  • 27 of the publications pay up to $1 per word or more.
  • More than one half of the publications do not appear in the 2013 Writer's Market published by Writer's Digest Books (widely regarded as the “Bible” of freelance writing).
  • Each listing is presented on its own page in a concise, uncluttered format that allows you to assess markets quickly and access up-to-date guidelines and other relevant information confirming the rate of pay with the click of a mouse.
  • 38 of the publications are U.S.-based, while the rest are based in Canada (9 publications) and Australia (3 publications).
  • Although standards are high, many of the publications are open to working with new writers.
  • Niches include everything from cooking, parenting, sports, travel, health, and the military to science, history, politics, business, education, women’s issues, the environment, and more.
  • Each market has been painstakingly researched so you can focus on what you do best: Writing.

Imagine if you wrote 1,000 words per day, five days per week, solely for markets that paid an average of 60 cents per word.

You’d be a six-figure freelancer who earned an average of $12,000 per month.

Think that’s unrealistic?

Let 2013 be the year you start earning more than half a buck for every word you write, and find out for yourself.

50 Markets that Pay Freelance Writers More than 50 Cents per Word – Including 27 Markets that Pay up to $1 per Word and More may be just what you need to take your earnings up a notch.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Content Mill Myth #1: Content Mills Provide Steadier Work than Magazines and Private Clients

You won't know about all the goodies
that are waiting for you until you
start sending out those queries.
Writing about content mills is sort of a delicate topic because some people will inevitably feel that you are being elitist by discussing the negatives of writing cheap content. As I have said before, the reason I write such posts is not to disparage anyone’s choices. Some people say that writing for content mills provides them with a steady paycheck, which is obviously something most of us desire. If you have found an easy, stress-free way to write for the content mills and earn a living doing it, more power to you.

What I have noticed, however, is that many people don’t find writing for the mills easy at all. It takes a lot of time and effort to sit there and pound out multiple articles for hours each day. Also, the term “steady paycheck” is vague. For some people, that might mean making thousands of dollars each month (rare with content mills), while others might consider a few hundred dollars “steady” and enough to satisfy their needs.

Regardless, my goal here is to dispel some myths about writing for higher-paying markets, such as magazines and private clients, so that people who haven’t tried this type of writing can make more informed decisions. After all, if there was an easy way to make 10 cents, 20 cents, 50 cents, or $1 per word on your articles (instead of the 1, 2, or 3 cents typically offered by content mills), you’d want to know about it, right?

Okay, so here’s something I frequently read and hear – that, compared to content mills, writing for magazines and private clients does not provide steady work. An acquaintance of mine broke it down for me by saying that she finds it too time-consuming to think up an idea for a magazine, research and query the market, wait for a response, write the article (if accepted), go through edits, then finally wait for payment. All this for one measly article, a procedure she will have to repeat multiple times in order to get enough work to make a living from her writing.

Forget for a moment that a single article written for a magazine can pay as much as $500, $1,000, or even more. Let’s say that you are writing “average” articles that pay $100 to $200, common with magazines that pay 10 cents per word.

What many people don’t realize is that editors who like your work will often assign you more work right away. They will find ways to keep you in their stable of trusted writers and even recommend your services to other editors and potential clients. Recently, I was thinking about all the projects I’ve worked on throughout my freelance career and realized that the vast majority of them came through repeat-business and word-of-mouth recommendations.

The first time I wrote for a magazine, for example, I was immediately invited to write the publication’s monthly health column. I wrote other articles for different sections of the magazine and also became their copy editor.

When I branched out and started writing for another magazine, I only sent in one query. Once the article I wrote was accepted and published, the editor asked me to write other articles as well. Sometimes I came up with my own ideas, while sometimes the editor gave me assignments to fit in with each issue’s theme. Here, too, I became the publication’s copy editor. Within a short period, I was promoted to production manager and then managing editor. Now I was the one responsible for recruiting writers and assigning articles!

I queried yet another magazine with several ideas and had three of them immediately accepted. The editor asked me to keep sending them in.

While this was going on, I started writing for a newspaper to which I sent a mere LOI (Letter of Introduction). All I really had to do here was send a couple of clips and mention my experience at the other magazines I was working with.

This publication sent me monthly assignments that they conceived of in-house. The newspaper was based in California, and I was living overseas at the time, so they provided me with the contact information of local people to interview whenever necessary.

Do you see a pattern here?

I could go on and on with countless examples – like the private editing client who asked me to be her personal research assistant (a gig that lasted about five years), the other private editing client who recommended my services to an internationally known public figure with the budget to match his reputation, the harried project manager who hired me to help him with thousands of dollars of his own unfinished work, and the many others whom I’ve formed lasting relationships with over the years.

Do all my queries turn out this way?

No. There are times when I’ve tried really hard to gain repeat-business from a good client, and the need simply wasn’t there. Overall, though, I would say that the effort I have put into my queries over the years has definitely paid off. I still receive repeat-business from some of my first clients and also have to turn down lots of work due to my busy schedule. Every now and then, I get the urge to write for new markets and will send out a batch of queries to get the ball rolling. This often results in a deluge of projects that keeps me occupied for months and even years at a time.

It is normal to work hard on a query, which is basically a sales letter. If you put this effort in early on, it may pay off for you, too.

You may feel uncomfortable giving up your work with the content mills in the beginning, which is understandable, but this should not prevent you from sending out queries on the side. If you happen to get an assignment, you can then manage your other work accordingly. Remember that having a by-line in a magazine is a valuable commodity as it gives you a clip that you can then use to leverage better-paying assignments with other publications. In contrast, content mills often do not provide you with clips that demonstrate your best work. In addition, some editors will not take them seriously, so the articles you write for content mills often go to waste once you collect your paycheck.

Over the next several weeks, I'll continue to discuss other common myths having to do with writing for magazines. Feel free to chime in by leaving a comment, too!

Oh, and...

Saturday, June 1, 2013

You’re a Nurse (or other Professional)…Why are you Writing for Content Mills?

While visiting a popular forum for WAHMs recently, I followed a particular discussion with interest. An experienced labor and delivery nurse was interested in making a bit of extra money and asked for recommendations for content mills she could approach. Her goal was to make 5 cents per word, but she was having trouble finding a company to pay that amount.

Responses to this poster included statements such as the following:
Unfortunately, few content mills pay 5 cents a word. Many start out at about $1.50 for 400 words.

I only know of a handful of sites that pay 5 cents a word, but it takes time and effort to reach that point.
You would be hard pressed to find a content mill paying that much.

If you can afford it, you may want to consider writing for residual income sites. In this case you can be paid by ad clicks and/or affiliate links for the same articles over and over. This can result in pennies or be very lucrative depending on traffic, topic etc.
I recommend starting with Textbroker. They don't pay a lot starting out, but prove yourself and sign up for teams. Most of the teams I'm on pay at least 2 cents a word. Plus, you set your own rate for direct orders. I have mine set at 3 cents a word. I tried higher, but 3 cents seems to get the most work.

I agree with those who suggest giving the mills a try to get your feet wet. Your experience is worth a great deal, but you also need to learn the ropes of writing for pay. Some people find it tough to make the shift from writing for themselves to meeting a client's needs, and writing for a mill or bid site can ease that transition.
I do not write this post to disparage anyone’s choices, or to say that people should not write for content mills if they truly want to.

My impression, though, is that many people do not understand the opportunities available to them, and this is why they look to content mills for what they perceive as an easy source of income.

As I mentioned in a recent post, I was pretty clueless when a magazine gave me my first paid assignment. Since I was writing for pleasure and did not even realize I would get paid, it came as a nice surprise to receive $120 (about 10 cents per word) on my first try. Since then, I’ve gone on to earn ten times that amount for a single article.

While I have built up my knowledge over the past several years and write in niches that are both comfortable and familiar, I worked hard to reach this point. People with ready-made niches like nursing, finance, law, and others should be able to capitalize on their professional expertise and dive right in to the world of high-paying markets.

Although you have to be a skilled writer, the idea that you need to “pay your dues” by writing for the mills is a fallacy.

I’d never heard of content mills when I started out and thus avoided them completely. Sure, I made some amateurish moves in the beginning, but no one rejected me or told me I’d have to stop writing due to my ignorance. I just kept trucking along and found that editors were generally okay with teaching me the ropes until I understood what I needed to do differently.

To be fair, some of the people in the above discussion recommended that the nurse skip the content mills and seek out private clients instead. These could include hospitals, clinics, doctors in private practice, and others. Some also said she should start her own website or write her own e-books, which will give her both a platform and a passive stream of income. I agree with this advice.

A quick search on the Internet showed me that nurses frequently become medical writers, a profession that paid an average of $82,232 in 2007. Medical writers might write for healthcare websites like WebMD (a market that pays $700 for articles of 800 to 1,000 words), contribute to medical textbooks, or write hospital newsletters. They might write for pharmaceutical companies or work on government-sponsored projects like creating healthcare brochures and posters.

Beyond that, there are several websites and magazines out there catering to nurses and other medical professionals., for example, pays $200 to $800 for assigned articles. Other options might include health or pregnancy magazines, or even women’s magazines that publish first-person essays. In many cases, magazines like these pay up to $1 per word and more. I’m guessing that most nurses have gripping anecdotes to share that would be of interest to others. These could also find themselves in religious magazines and just about anywhere people seek inspiration.

As you can see, the opportunities for nurses and medical writers are numerous and varied, and it is a niche that pays quite well.

If you work in nursing or another profession, be wary of content mills seeking your expertise. Some of them shamelessly recruit nurses, doctors, lawyers, and others to write quality content for insultingly low rates. Take pride in your education and knowledge, and look for clients who understand your worth. If you believe that 5 cents per word is the best you can do, that is what you will achieve. If you believe that $1 per word is the norm in your niche, you will set better goals for yourself and soon become a high-earning writer who may even be tempted to leave your profession and start freelancing full-time instead.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Rejection Therapy for Writers

Being rejected is
uncomfortable for many people.
If you are a writer, you are almost certainly no stranger to the word “rejection.”
Rejection is something that nearly all writers experience at one time or another, with the mere thought of rejection paralyzing many writers to the point that they do not ever attempt to get their work published. Fear of rejection also causes many talented writers to devalue their work and only submit articles and queries to low-paying markets they consider safe, thus depriving themselves of the opportunity to make a living from what they love doing the most.

If any of this sounds familiar, I don’t have to tell you that anxiety over rejection is frequently closely tied to feelings of self-doubt and the belief that both you and your writing do not measure up. It is a never-ending cycle that keeps you from achieving the success you both crave and deserve.

You may have wondered why it is that some people able to handle and overcome rejection, while others find it a constant obstacle that prevents them from reaching their potential as writers.

It may be that writers as a group are generally introverts who have difficulty treating their craft as a business.

What’s your Type?

If you haven’t taken it yet, the Myers-Briggs personality test may yield some clues.

According to an informal survey conducted by marriage and family therapist Jeannie Campbell, INFJs only make up 1 to 3 percent of the general population while nearly 25 percent of writers identify as INFJs. Other introverted types, particularly INTJs and INFPs, are also over-represented among writers.

INFJs are typically insightful, creative, sincere, dependable, and highly intelligent, yet they are also very introverted and may have trouble with things like negotiating contracts and pay-raises, asking people to hire them, asserting themselves verbally, making cold calls, or conducting interviews – in short, all the skills you need in order to do higher-level freelancing.

Although this has not been studied much, I would not be surprised if the reason so many writers and creative types in general have so much trouble marketing their work is because of their natural tendencies towards privacy and avoidance of conflict.

Personally, I am married to a sales and marketing professional and am often stunned by how easy it is for my husband to pick up the phone, call a complete stranger, and convince him that he needs a particular product or service. This is a skill that all writers need to have in their arsenal, yet very few of us do.

So, what can be done?

Obviously, allowing fear and anxiety to rule your life and determine the outcome of your career is not the best option.

Get Rejected

Instead, perhaps what many writers need is a healthy dose of Rejection Therapy.

Rejection Therapy is a game, but it’s based on a very real phenomenon – the idea that you must expose yourself to the things you fear in order to become desensitized to them. For someone who fears flying, that could mean getting on an airplane multiple times until the thought of air-travel no longer invokes dread. For people who fear germs, it might mean working with dirt or garbage without the option of washing the grime from their hands or clothes until the end of the day, after all the work is done. Eventually, it is hoped, they will stop feeling so dirty.

This form of therapy, sometimes called “exposure therapy” or “flooding,” is often used to treat phobias and anxiety disorders.

Jia Jiang, an Austin-based entrepreneur, decided to do his own form of rejection therapy for 100 days and “vlog” the experience.

“I hate being judged and rejected in a business setting, whether it’s being turned down when making a sale, or getting blasted after a pitch. I hate it!” writes Jia on his blog.

Don’t we all?

Watching Jia’s rejection videos over the past few months, I’ve been fascinated by the insights they contain for freelance writers, and I’ll be sharing some of my observations in future posts. In the meantime, think about what makes you uncomfortable about freelancing. Maybe it is talking on the phone, writing a query, or being assertive about your rates.

Could rejection therapy change that for you?

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Analyze your Target-Publication for Better Pitches

Some of you may have noticed that I haven’t posted much over the past several weeks. In part, this is because I have been busy with my “day job,” which includes a mixture of freelance writing, editing, and Arabic to English translation. I am also working on a bunch of side-projects that I am having fun with, including doing the research needed to compile my Markets for Writers series.

Most recently, I released 50 Markets that Pay Freelance Writers 35 to 50 Cents per Word and am now working on another guide that will list 50 markets that pay freelance writers more than 50 cents per word, including 20 that pay up to $1 per word and more.

I have to say that I am incredibly excited about these last two guides in particular as I have been so busy with my existing clients for the last couple of years that it has been a while since I felt inspired to query a new market. Sorting through the high-paying markets that fill these last two guides, I have identified several within my comfort-zone that I could potentially pitch. One magazine in particular pays 75 cents per word and covers a niche that I am very familiar with. I had no idea such a magazine existed and am really psyched about the possibility of writing for this publication.

As usual, I see good opportunities for profile pieces in many of the magazines and have also found it motivating to read some of the publications themselves. An article on a luxurious top-floor San Francisco hotel suite that recently appeared in an in-flight magazine that typically pays $1 per word, for example, really made an impression on me. I used to live in San Francisco and could have perhaps written an article like this – if only I had thought about it!

This makes me wonder how many ideas we miss on a daily basis.

Writers who succeed do not just have ideas. They take practical steps to make these ideas attractive to editors and then do the work needed in order to write stellar articles.

The article I am referring to included quotes from the hotel manager and also required the writer to do some research on the history of the suite. Numerous details on various aspects of the room were provided, and a series of professional photographs complemented the text nicely. All this combined with good writing are what made this an article worthy of $1 per word.

As you can see, analyzing the articles published in a particular magazine can help you understand what is expected of that publication’s writers. It can also really help you decide the direction you want your own ideas to take. The article on the hotel suite may have looked effortless to a casual reader (as it should), but it is clear to me as both a freelance writer and the former managing editor of a magazine that quite a bit of work was involved.

As I work to pitch the magazine I mentioned at the beginning of this post, I will be spending some time reading the archives to make sure I understand the tone. I will also be noting how many experts are typically quoted in an article, whether the articles are tied to current events, what sources are used for statistics, and other nuggets that will hopefully give me an edge. In addition, I’ll follow the guidelines to a T, briefly mention my personal interest in the topic, and provide clips in a slightly different, but related, niche. In other words, I won’t go into the whole thing blindly like I did the first time I pitched a magazine.

Have you pitched any magazines lately?

Tell us about your approach by leaving a comment.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

How I Got My First Paid Writing Assignment

My first assignment paid
approximately 10 cents per word.
This blog has moved! View an updated version of this post here.