Bridging the Gap – Writing for Trades By Martha Miller

Many times I get ideas for articles while chatting with friends. Several weeks ago, I was telling someone how my mother has played bridge all over the world. She traveled to visit my sister and me when we lived overseas and found bridge groups in Argentina and Italy, and she plays in tournaments in many U.S. cities. When I mentioned that my mother turned 80 last winter, my friend was astounded. Her reaction made me realize I should be writing about my mother’s adventuresome spirit but where would I pitch it?

I’d heard of trade magazines but hadn’t given them much thought. Touted as easier to pitch, trades seemed vague, industrial and out of my league. Years ago, finding trades to query may have been difficult; I wouldn’t know because I never tried. Now with search engines pointing the way, there’s really no excuse not to give them a shot.

I asked my mother if she knew of any bridge magazines, and then I searched the Internet for the one she receives monthly – surely they were in need of story ideas. She cautioned they might not pay but I cold called (gasp) the editor anyway. He was enthusiastic, but said they didn’t pay a lot for articles – maybe $100. The piece would be easy for me to write so I didn’t complain.

Shortly after I submitted the article, I received an e-mail asking for my contact information so they could pay me. No jumping through hoops, no delays, just acceptance and kind words for my work.

Trade publications exist for every possible sport, hobby, collectible, and career you can imagine. If you’re looking for another stream of income, I heartily encourage pitching your ideas to trades. You’ll be surprised how abundant and receptive they can be.

Martha Miller is a freelance writer with credits in Family Circle, Parents, the Christian Science Monitor, Catholic Digest and Transitions Abroad. Her columns “Living Greenly” and “Living Online” appear in regional parenting publications, and she blogs on Italian life at Visit her website,, and drop her a line: Martha (at)


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