Use Your Day Job to Break into Trade Journals By Diane Stark

Waking up early, putting on the required business attire, commuting to work, and having someone tell you what to do. Or getting up when you want to, staying in your pajamas, and working from home as your own boss. Which one sounds more fun to you?

It’s easy to see why many part-time freelancers long to quit their day jobs and make writing their full-time gig. While this is a great long-term goal, most of us are not currently earning a livable income from our writing. So instead of just counting the days until you can say ìadiosî to your day job – and your boss – why not use the experiences and expertise garnered in that job to draw you closer to your long-term goal of writing full-time?

Trade journals are a terrific way to gain experience, earn clips, and make money. Oftentimes, a good deal of money. These publications aren’t the glossy, high-profile mags you see on the newsstand shelves. But many of them pay medium to high rates, the competition isn’t nearly as tough, and in my experience, the editors are more willing to work with new writers. Best of all, the chances are good that you already have a knowledge base strong enough to help you break into these publications.

In a nutshell, a trade journal is any publication that focuses on a particular occupation or industry. The publication’s readership consists primarily of professionals who work in this field. Not coincidentally, the same is true for the publication’s writers. And no matter in which field you presently work, there’s probably a trade journal for it. For a complete listing of these publications, check out a current copy of Writer’s Market. Here are a few to get you started:

Business Field:

+ Business Travel Executive focuses on people who organize travel for businesses. They pay between $200 and $800 per piece. Guidelines found at

+ World Trade Magazine covers international business. They pay 50 cents per word and guidelines can be found at .

Education Field:

+ Teacher Magazine is focused on making teaching a true profession. They pay 50 cents a word. Guidelines can be found at

+ Teaching Tolerance helps all teachers (K-12) teach acceptance and tolerance in their classrooms. They pay between $500 and $3000 for assigned articles. Their guidelines can be found at

+ School Arts Magazine is geared toward art teachers. They pay between $30 and $150 for articles and suggestions of art projects. Further guidelines can be found at


+ AG Weekly is a biweekly agricultural publication covering farming and ranching. They pay between $30 and $80. Their guidelines and a media kit can be found at

+ The Vegetable Growers News is a monthly publication for commercial vegetable growers. They pay $100 to $150 per piece. For contact information, see their website at

+ Western Dairy Business is written for large-herd commercial dairy farmers. They pay $25 to $400 for assigned articles. For details, see their website at


+ Jems is a publication for emergency medical personnel like EMT’s and paramedics. They pay $200 to $400 per story and contact information can be found at

+ Managed Care Magazine is geared toward HMO medical directors and pharmacy directors. They pay 75 cents a word. Details are on their website at

And the one you’ve all been waiting for…


+ Masthead Magazine covers the Canadian magazine market. They pay between $600 and $850 for features. Guidelines can be found at

+ Poets and Writers Magazine is geared toward poets, fiction writers, and creative nonfiction writers. They pay $150 to $500 for pieces and guidelines are on their website at

+ Written By is for screen writers. They pay up to $1000 for articles. Details at

+ Writer’s Digest is for freelance writers. They pay between 30 and 50 cents a word. Guidelines at

These are just a few of the trade journals out there. They also have them for florists, firemen, lawyers and plumbers. There’s even a publication for bee keepers. And the best news is that there are far more trade journals for writers than I’ve listed here, more than two dozen, in fact. And we all have experience in that area.

Diane Stark is a former teacher turned stay-at-home mom and freelance writer. Her work has been published in national publications like Woman’s World, MOMsense, and Chicken Soup for the Soul: A Tribute to Moms. She can be reached at