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Finding Freelance Writing Markets

Locating Writing Markets is Up to You

One way or another, freelance writers have to find someone to buy their writing if they want to earn money. In broad terms, there are three types of markets you’ll want to consider:

  • Magazines, both online and off - articles, fillers, sidebars
  • Book publishers - books
  • Commercial Markets - sales letters, articles, ghost writing, press releases

Magazine Markets

Magazines can be found everywhere – at the grocery store, at newsstands, online, at the library, and often, in your own mail box. There are two general categories of magazines:

  • Consumer, which are meant for the general public. This category includes everything from news to hobbies, as well as many special interests.
  • Trade, which are aimed at people who work in a specific industry.

The best known list of magazine publishers is probably Writer’s Market.

This is an annual that comes out each fall, and the appropriate year is included in its title. You need one every year. (Read the review.) The information is annually and it's worth the price. There is also an online version - if you buy the book with the online service you'll save a buck or two.

I like using both. With book in hand, I sometimes just page through it and I always end up with a handful of saleable ideas. Plus, I find the information about markets, etc. more readable here than online. Beginning writers should, I believe, start with the book.

There are also market lists online. A search on Google for magazine markets brings up over 4 million listings! A few are excellent and some are downright scams, so be careful.

When you’re reading a magazine, always look at the masthead – you’ll find the most current names of editors there, and often, down toward the bottom, the magazine’s website which often has some writer or submission guidelines. By all means, pay attention to those.

Book Publishers

The book industry is changing rapidly. Old line trade publishers have been merged into mega-companies, often controlled by industries that have nothing to do with books. Print on Demand has made it possible for all sorts of new, small publishers to spring up. And self-publishing has become a viable option for many.

Again, Writers Market, both the book and online, is a great place to start for both fiction and non-fiction books. Smaller, newer publishers with at least some sort of track record show up there too.

Google lists almost 8 million book publishers, so hone your search by adding qualifying terms. Again, be careful of offerings that promise lists for money… usually you can get the info for free.

Hanging out in bookstores and noticing who has published books similar to the book you have in mind is also a good way to locate possible markets. Most publishers have websites and often those contain both their book catalog and submission guidelines.

Commercial Writing

Commercial writing is a huge category that consists of companies and individuals who hire writers for various projects. Projects can range from ghost writing articles to writing technical manuals. Copy and other types of advertising writing fall into this category as well.

Peter Bowerman’s The Well Fed Writer is one of the best books on the subject. There are others, and there are also lots of courses advertised to teach you these skills. If you want to take a course, check it out thoroughly.

Your phone book Yellow Pages is an excellent place to start. Find a business category that you think you could write for and begin making calls. Just explain you’re a freelance writer and you want to talk to whoever is in charge of that. You’ll often get answers that don’t make sense, but you’ll also generate leads for yourself; it’s worth the effort.

Write well and often - market well and often too!



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Email Anne: Anne@AboutFreelanceWriting.com

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