Chuck Sambuchino reports:
"Selling articles ups your credentials and credibility; it gives you something awesome to talk about in the Bio section of your query letters; it generates nice paychecks; it puts you in touch with media members who can help you later; it builds your writer platform and visibility, and more. If you want to make more money writing and expand your writing horizons, think about penning short nonfiction pieces for outlets seeking good work. It’s a simple way to do some good for your writing career...All publications have guidelines, which, simply put, are an explanation of how writers should contact the publication in consideration of writing for them. Writers’ guidelines usually address three key things: 1) what kind of pieces the publication is looking for (including length, tone, and subject matter), 2) how to submit your work for consideration (details on formatting and whether they accept e-mail or snail mail submissions), and 3) when and how they will respond to your request...Selling a nonfiction article is exactly like selling a nonfiction book—you sell the item based on the concept and a 'business plan' for it. Here’s how it works: You compose a one-page query letter (typically submitted via e-mail) that details what the article/column will be about, as well as your credentials as an article writer. From that point, the publication, if interested, will contract you to write the article—and only at that point will you write it...Remember that in your case, the goal is platform. The goal is getting your name and work and bio in front of people who will buy your book and become followers. [I]f an editor asks you to write a long piece for little money, that’s not good. But are there benefits? Will you get more assignments in the future—and therefore more platform? Are you doing the editor a favor he will remember? Will writing the article put you in touch with key people you’d like to know?...New publications are actively seeking content to fill pages and are willing to work with newer and untested writers. I would suggest signing up to the Writer Gazette and Writer’s Market newsletters (both free) to get notices of any new publications or paying websites that pop up...Write for local publications. Besides the fact that you’re befriending local media pros who can help you later, you should know that local publications have a natural affinity for local writers...[Y]ou know your hometown and community better than anyone else...Feel free to aim high, but expect to start small. You’ll have an easier time getting things published if you pitch shorter pieces and aim for small to midsized outlets. The goal is to break in, and then use your success and accomplishments to get bigger, better assignments...You can recycle ideas and get multiple paying jobs. One of the best parts about being a freelancer is your ability to recycle and reuse ideas...Get familiar with several target markets and read back content, either online, with a subscription, or through issues at your local library. Note the tone of articles, the sections of the magazines, and the general feel of the magazine and its advertisers. From there, you will be better off pitching the best article ideas—and you will also find out if the idea you want to share has been used recently. You never know [where] a writing opportunity or assignment will lead you, so challenge yourself and stick your toe in different waters."
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