As a stay-at-home mother of four, for several years I freelanced in my spare time and broke into various print and online publications. In 2008, I went back to college, and stopped freelancing. Six years later, after graduating from the college and university, I was eager to write again for my favorite magazines and websites.
However, my excitement turned to frustration when I faced the reality – many of my well-researched markets folded. Like a character of Dr. Seuss, “I learned there are troubles of more than one kind.” Almost all my familiar online markets also disappeared, along with my articles. My clips from print magazines were not useful because many editors asked freelancers to provide links to their articles published online.
To revive my writing career, I had to learn how to market my manuscripts more efficiently. Gradually I developed certain techniques that I would like to share in this article.
Looking for Markets Friendly to New Writers
There are lucky folks whose first bylines appeared in glossy national magazines. Yet, most writers work their way up by accumulating publishing credits from less competitive periodicals. My “quest” for new markets began with listings on WritersWeekly.com because they indicated whether publications welcomed new writers. That is how I found Mystery Weekly Magazine. I submitted my short story (which was rejected by major mystery magazines) and it was published!
My next step was to break into travel writing. I found Travel THRU History e-zine, and pitched a piece called “In the Footsteps of Dostoyevsky in St. Petersburg, Russia.” In my detailed query, I showed my knowledge of Dostoyevsky’s neighborhood and “Crime and Punishment.” Although I only received a modest honorarium, I had my travel article published online.
Searching for more travel markets, I joined Matador Network. When I found that GoOverseas.com was looking for writers who studied in Japan or South Korea, I applied for the job. My articles published on Travel THRU History helped me to get the assignment on South Korean cuisine. And, that food piece later helped me to get another assignment from Matador Network on Russian cuisine.
Learning about Markets and Selling List Articles
While looking for diverse markets, I came across Freedom with Writing site which buys market listings. I used this opportunity not only to learn about markets, but also to sell my 16 list articles (and earn $800). Later, I also sold a couple of list articles to WritersWeekly.com.
Generating Several Ideas to Pitch to the Editor
Before sending my query to the editor, I generate at least 3-4 ideas for other articles. If my first pitch is rejected, I want to send another right away while the editor still remembers me. For example, after I sold to My Itchy Travel Feet blog my first article on Russia, I
proposed another, also on Russia. The editor asked me to suggest a different destination so I queried a piece on France. Result? She assigned me the article.
To make my queries more “on target,” I look in my chosen market for articles similar to my proposed piece. Then, in my pitch, I explain why my article will not overlap with the published ones. This way, I also demonstrate to the editor my familiarity with the publication.
What was the invaluable lesson that I learned from my markets’ crush? I must expand my “market pool” regularly to prevent it from drying up again. While changes in markets are unavoidable, I am more equipped now to survive and move forward.
“I’m all ready, you see. Now my troubles are going to have troubles with me.” (Dr. Seuss)
Tatiana Claudy is a freelance writer from Indiana. Her bylines appeared in Creation Illustrated, Mystery Weekly Magazine, TRAVEL THRU HISTORY, My Itchy Travel Feet, Go Overseas, Writing-World.com, and FundsforWriters e-publications.