Market Report: Print Magazines

Here’s the thing about print magazines: they’re sicker and weaker than they’ve ever been. Magazines with long histories of success close every month. Others rely on their online content for much of their profits, or have moved entirely to a web format.


Magazines being weaker than ever is like saying an NBA center is shorter than ever. Even the receding magazine market is rich with opportunities to earn a living wage as a freelance writer. According to Wooden Horse Publishing, a resource database for freelancers, more than 400 active publications pay writers .$50 to $2.00 per word for articles in the 800 to 3000 word range.

That’s $400 to $6,000 for a single article. Not bad for a few days’ work.

Trade and special interest magazines are two of the best markets to start out with. They care more about your experience in the subject than extensive writing credentials, and they often get missed by the more active freelancers. Look into the industry and hobby magazines for your interests and send a pitch.

A final note

Getting in the door with a handful of magazines can make your life as a freelancer much easier. Take for example my experience with one magazine I write for regularly

First Article

  • Step 1: Write query email
  • Step 2: Wait two months, receive request for manuscript
  • Step 3: Write manuscript
  • Step 4: Wait three months, receive acceptance notice
  • Step 5: Wait 22 months, see article in print

Second Article

  • Step 1: Write query email
  • Step 2: Wait 2 days, receive request
  • Step 3: Write manuscript
  • Step 4: Wait 1 day, receive acceptance notice
  • Step 5: Wait 2 months, see article in print

Third Article

  • Step 1: Email editor “Hey, how about this idea?”
  • Step 2: Wait an hour for response “I liiike it.”
  • Step 3: Write manuscript, get contract on same day

It’s good to write for multiple markets, but a relationship with an editor streamlines the process considerably.

Thanks for listening.

2 thoughts on “Market Report: Print Magazines

  1. Greetings Jason,
    It’s terrific to see that you’ve mentioned Wooden Horse Pub, it’s one of the most comprehensive magazine marketing aids out there for freelance writers. We’re pleased to have Wooden Horse Pub as one of our in-kind sponsors for Travel & Words Spring ’12 conference, April 29-30 at Fort Worden State Park Conference Center in Port Townsend WA. Happy and successful writing to all those who browse your site. Myrna O., chair, Travel & Words Spring ’12.

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