Do you want your writing career to flourish? Then follow the money. This may sound shocking to the purists out there that believe writing is solely a creative expression. Yes; writing should fill you with joy and fulfillment. Yet I know we all believe in being rewarded for hard work and commitment.
I discovered writing as a second career path. I tried everything. I wrote short stories, essays, poetry, three novels, interviews and articles. Amid the avalanche of rejections, I noticed a pattern. Most of my informational articles yielded quick acceptances. Plus, the checks were noticeably larger.
I honed my writing skills as I built up my portfolio of published articles. I still sent out my fiction, but even when I got an acceptance, the pay was paltry compared to my article sales. So I concentrated more on my nonfiction writing.
Everyone’s career path is different. I recommend trying different genres and exploring different fields of the writing business. Don’t force yourself to fit into a particular niche, just try some out for size. When you start to get acceptances, notice how much each piece pays.
You can easily determine how lucrative your various assignments are by breaking it down to how much you are paid per hour. For example, if you are paid a flat rate of $100 for a 1,000-word article and it takes you five hours to research, interview, write and edit it, you are being paid $20 an hour.
Now let’s say you are a whiz at short stories. You crank one out in half an hour and later spend about half an hour editing and honing it before submitting it. It is accepted for $50, some contributor’s copies and the prestige of being in that magazine. Although the check is half of the article payment, you have more than doubled your hourly wage.
Sometimes the numbers don’t tell the whole tale. You have to look beneath the bottom line to discover the true worth of your writing. For instance, you may write ads to pay the bills, but your passion is writing steamy romances. Getting that first acceptance for your story, even if the payout is minimal, can be more thrilling than a hefty paycheck.
Just as success is measured differently for every writer, money can be viewed a host of different ways. A ten-dollar check may seem like an insult to a veteran novelist, but to a newbie writer it can feel like a million bucks. Getting paid for your writing is rewarding on many levels. What is acceptable at one stage of your career will probably change as you accumulate more success.
Sometimes you may write at a lesser pay rate for other reasons. You may have developed a great working relationship with an editor. You might want to get your foot in the door of an up and coming magazine. You might want a certain credit for your resume. Maybe you are doing a favor for a friend. Whatever your reasons, keep an eye on your bottom line.
Money isn’t everything, but it can clearly point you down the most lucrative path as you pursue your writing career. A paycheck, or lack of one, can point out your strengths. It is up to you how far you follow the money.
WOW! Women On Writing
Pays $50 – $150.
“Our Columns pay a flat rate of $50-$75. Feature articles pay a flat rate of $150. Feature interviews pay a flat rate of $75. Please visit our Contact Page for complete writer’s guidelines.”
Pays $25-$100 for tips, $250 for 600 word column, Features pay more.
“We invite woodworkers of all levels into a community of experts who share their hard-won shop experience through in-depth projects and technique articles.
“Out of The Woodwork: This one-page article, averaging about 600 words, reflects on the writer’s thoughts about woodworking as a profession or hobby. The article can be either humorous or serious. Payment starts at $250. This is a good entry-point for first-time freelancers. We purchase six of these columns a year. The writer does not need to be a professional woodworker.
“Tricks of the Trade: Payment varies from $25-$100 for this collection of tips from readers.”
Deer and Deer Hunting
Pays $25 to $600.
“This is a specialized magazine devoted to deer and deer hunting (with a strict emphasis on white-tailed deer). Readers include a cross-section of the deer hunting population: individuals who hunt with bow, gun or camera.”
Pays $100-$350 for Departments, Features significantly more, on acceptance.
“Most of our stories are contributed by freelancers. If the topic has a contemporary regional interest, and if University of Oregon involvement can be demonstrated (through faculty or alumni participation), we’d like to hear about it. Our goal is to reach a broad, well-educated regional audience, whether or not they have ties to the University of Oregon.”
Pays $150 for brief comments, $350-$500 for articles, $225 and up for art pieces.
“We are a weekly journal of left/liberal opinion, covering national and international affairs as well as the arts. Submission by regular mail or an online form.”
Pays $35 for reprints, up to $350 for features.
“TheWAHMmagazine is a content-driven digital magazine for work-at-home parents. Our goal is to provide one resource that encompasses the issues (challenges and joys) that work-at-home parents face. We are looking for tightly written articles that are about but not limited to work-at-home issues that pertain to parenting, business issues, relationships (especially those beyond love and romance), relaxation and rejuvenation, education, women’s health, men’s health, children’s health.”
Quill & Quire
Pays $90 for brief reviews, $300 for features, 45 cents a word for accepted articles.
“Quill & Quire is the monthly magazine of the Canadian book trade.”
Pays $500 to $1,300.
“The Progressive accepts a lot of freelance material. What we want: Investigative reporting, electoral coverage, social movement pieces, foreign policy pieces, interviews, activism-payment $50 – $100, poetry-payment $150.”
Pays $1 a word.
“EatingWell is the only national food magazine that focuses exclusively on eating healthfully. We welcome ideas from new writers.”
Pays $400 to $1,000 for features, $50 to $450 for shorter pieces.
“Orion welcomes your thoughtful submissions concerning the collision of nature and culture, the commingling of people and place. The editors place a high value on fresh and surprising material. Currently, Orion considers unsolicited essays, narrative nonfiction, interviews, profiles, short stories, photoessays, and portfolios of fine art. We also consider submissions for our Point of View, Making Other Arrangements, Sacred & Mundane, Reviews, and Coda departments. No unsolicited poetry, please. We look for compelling writing that connects readers to important issues. We do not publish material that is academic or theoretical.”
Pays $150 to $450.
“Her Sports is for smart, active women who use sports and fitness to balance their busy lifestyles. Our readers are strong, independent women who participate in a variety of active sports-including running, triathlon, mountain biking, skiing, surfing, snowboarding, hiking and other popular individual sports. Query letters via e-mail are preferred, although completed manuscripts will occasionally be accepted if they are in keeping with the magazine’s tone, style and overall philosophy.”
Shaunna Privratsky enjoys a fulltime writing career from her North Dakota home. Discover your writing success with her book, Pump Up Your Prose at The Writer Within. Please sign up for the free newsletter. “We are a paying market.”