Of Paying Writing Markets, Writers Market Listings and Finding Writing Jobs
An Overview of Writing Markets
I often get questions about how to find paying writing markets. Sometimes the freelancer will include a link to a website that promises to help a writer find paying jobs for a fee. They usually want to know if I endorse the site in question. With a few exceptions I'll mention in a moment, I don't.
Before we get into specifics, it's important you have some understanding of the writing market in general.
The Writing Market as a Whole
Who knows how many people are out there putting words to paper and getting paid for it. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, there were some 319,000 writers and editors in 2002, of which more than a third were self-employed. They don't include reporters and correspondents in that number and blogging had gotten started then.
I suspect the number is much higher. There is just a lot of paid writing going on all the time.
I tend to divide the writing market in four parts:
Obviously, these writing categories are not in stone and there is overlap, but they do give a clue about where you may want to look for writing jobs.
The Publishing Industry is the Easiest to Identify
Book and magazine publishers are the easiest to identify. The annual Writer's Market, which serves both and the annual and pricy Literary Market Place, which identifies the bulk of the U.S. book publishing industry, actually describe what publishers want as well as providing contact information. Writer's Market offers both a hard copy book and an online site and is the one I use for finding publishers of both books and magazines.
There are several places on the web that offer similar information for free, and many that want to charge you for it. If you're going to pay, my suggestion is stick with Writer's Market online. They don't cover everything, no one does, but they cover enough to keep you busy for a life time.
Corporate Writing is Easier to Identify Than You Think
Corporate writing is as close as your yellow pages. It's surprising how many businesses there, large and small, need writers from time-to-time.
The trick is to market yourself - through phone calls, emails and appointments showing off your portfolio. Peter Bowerman's book, The Well-Fed Writer: Back for Seconds outlines the process in a fun and doable way.
You can also stumble into corporate writing through watching the job postings on this site and using the Where I Search page. But that's a shotgun approach - it works, but it isn't consistent.
Technical writing s a subset of corporate writing, although it can be a career all on its own.
The News Industry is an Industry Unto Itself
Journalism is a career all of it's own. There's always room for the occasional freelance piece and many freelancers get their start in news writing for local papers.
Miscellaneous Writing Markets
This is serendipity. Your best friend knows someone who wants a book ghostwritten and is willing to pay you for it. Your church suddenly realizes it's worth paying you to write a newsletter. A neighbor asks for and is willing to pay for help with a resume or business plan.
Individuals also do some advertising sometimes. CraigsList is probably the best place to stumble into an individual who wants some writing done and its willing to pay for it... but it's usually not something to count on.
Word of mouth drives the miscellaneous writing markets, so make sure everyone knows you're a writer.
There's work out there for you, well paid work. It takes effort to find it, but the effort will pay off.
Write well, and often,