Magazines published by hundreds of associations and professional organizations offer lucrative freelance markets. The ‘Associations’ section of WritersMarket.com lists 34 association magazines and there are many more. The ‘Encyclopedia of Associations’ lists over 135,000 nonprofit membership organizations worldwide while the ‘National Organizations of the U.S.’ details over 22,200 national associations. (Both these directories are published by Thomson Gale.) The association listings in these directories indicate whether specific organizations publish magazines or newsletters. Some of these publications target members of a specific profession such as ‘Contract Management’ or people interested in working on various types of civic projects such as Rotary International’s ‘The Rotarian.’ Yet others such as ‘The Elks Magazine’ are published by fraternal organizations. Some are for people sharing a common recreational interest such as The Ramblers Association’s ‘Walk’ and ‘USDF Connection,’ which covers dressage, an equestrian sport. Some target readers interested in self improvement such as Toastmaster’s International’s ‘The Toastmaster.’
Association magazines cover a broad range of other topics as well. For example, ‘The Rotarian’ and ‘The Lion,’ publish articles on their clubs’ community service projects as well as on business, medical concerns, science and many other subjects. These and other association magazines offer freelancers unique opportunities to write for national audiences while covering local stories – outstanding projects of the organization’s chapter in your area. Some such as ‘The Lion’ and ‘The Optimist’ focus primarily on these stories. Local chapters of many associations are happy to add freelance writers to their mailing lists in hopes of receiving national coverage. However, in some publications such as ‘The Elks Magazine,’ all organization news is written in-house.
Many professional organization magazines publish articles on job hunting and career development. Examples include ‘Black MBA Magazine,’ the official magazine of the Black MBA Association and the ‘National Society of Black Engineers Journal.’
It’s not easy getting published in many association magazines. As for all magazines, freelancers have to understand the readership and what sorts of articles they are interested in. Both Rich Kolb, editor-in chief of VFW Magazine, and Suzanne Frey, manager of The Toastmaster emphasize that to get published in their magazines freelancers need to understand what the organization does and what sorts of people are members. For this reason, generalized queries often will not win assignments. For example, many professional association magazines publish articles on evergreen topics such as writing rÈsumÈs and employment interviewing. However, generalized queries on these subjects will not win assignments because each profession has their own ‘rules of the road’ for finding jobs and achieving career success. Freelancers need to take this into account when crafting queries, choosing and interviewing subjects and writing manuscripts. Freelancers need to illustrate points and support their ideas with concrete examples relevant to the association’s members.
While most association magazines require submission of queries, Cheryl Stachura, editor of The Elks Magazine, prefers to see a completed manuscript.
Don’t only think print. While some associations post articles from their print magazines on their websites, others have stand-alone electronic publications. For example, the American Psychological Association offers PsycCareers online with articles on such subjects as writing rÈsumÈs and getting university tenure. Some of these articles have bylines while others do not.
So where can you find information about these interesting but often low profile magazines? ‘WritersWeekly.com,’ ‘Writer’s Market,’ and online market listings on ‘The Writer’ website list some. The websites of many associations provide information on their magazines and often provide writer’s guidelines. Using the keywords ‘association AND magazine and ‘writer’s guidelines’ in a Google search resulted in 102,000 hits but with a sizable percentage being false hits in that the word ‘association’ was used in a different context than a membership organization.
ABA Journal – pays $800 for a 1300 word manuscript
Writer’s Guidelines – http://www.abanet.org/journal/guide.html
Air Line Pilot – pays $150 per magazine page to $500 for 5-6 magazine pages
Writer’s Guidelines – http://www.alpa.org/alpa/DesktopModules/ViewDocument.aspx?DocumentID=432
Contract Management – pays $300 for 2,500 – 3,000 words
Writer’s Guidelines – http://www.ncmahq.org/publications/docs/CMEditorialGuidelines.html
DECA Dimensions – pays $125 for 800 – 1,000-word articles
Dramatics – pays $100 – $500 for 800 – 4,000 word manuscripts
Keynoter – pays $200-$300
Writer’s Guidelines – http://www.kiwanis.org/magazine/writerkc.asp
MSW Management – $650 for $3,000 – 4,000 words
Propeller Magazine – pays $50 – $100 for 500 – 2,500 words
Racquetball Magazine – pays $500 for feature articles
T + D Magazine – pays $0.80/word
The Retired Officer Magazine – pays $1,800 for 2,000 – 2,500 word features, $1,000 for 1,500 word manuscripts
The Rotarian – pays $0.50 – $1.00 per word
Writer’s Guidelines – http://www.rotary.org/newsroom/rotarian/contribute.html
The Toastmaster – pays $250 – $350 for 700 – 2,00 word manuscripts
Women in Business – pays: $100 for 500 words
John Borchardt is a full-time writer specializing in science, technology, careers and the workplace. He has more than 1,100 articles published in magazines, newspapers, encyclopedias and online. He is also author of the book Career Management for Scientists and Engineers, a Library of Science monthly selection.