50 Ways to Sell Your Writing — #3 Nonfiction Magazines

50 WaysNonfiction Magazines

Part 3 of a multi-blog series on how many ways there are for writers of all stripes to make a living doing what they love. Check out #1 over at FictionalCafe.com.

Thousands of print magazines are out there, and they all need somebody to fill their pages each and every month. Most pay enough you’ll make $200 to several thousand per assignment.

You’ve seen these at the newsstand, on airplanes and on waiting room tables. If you’ve thought about writing nonfiction professionally, there’s a good chance this is what you thought of first. A lot of people are starting to think print is dead or dying, but the market for solid writers to serve print media is still huge. There is a place for you if you’re willing to work for it.


  • Bottomless market
  • High rate of pay per word
  • Feels good to have that print magazine on a shelf


  • Hard to break in
  • Even harder to get recurring assignments
  • (Often a) long lag time between pitching and payment

Find Submission Guidelines at…

Pro Tip

The highest-paying magazines don’t take a chance on features ($1.00 a word for a couple thousand words in many cases) with somebody they don’t know. Break in with a shorter piece in the “front of book” section — those little 100-200 word blurbs in the beginning of most consumer magazines.

8 Markets to Find Freelance Writing Work

Kick Ass 1Over the past couple of years, something strange has happened. I went from writing my butt off to writing my butt off and mentoring several writers about their own work.

I like the move. I’ve always enjoyed coaching and teaching, and it’s fun to watch my friends’ careers blossom.

By far what I get asked most is where to find work. Mostly I find mine through existing contacts, and people those people know. But I still go back to this well a couple of times a month to keep my inbox runnething over. Here are my 8 best places to find people who will pay me for what I do.

  1. All Indie Writers — a job board that updates not as frequently as I’d like, but lists the payment levels before you click to view the job description. Note how they label the payscales. “Pro” is anything over $100 a post.
  2. Problogger — frequently updated job board wit a mixture of Craigslist shares and unique content. The signal-to-noise ration leaves something to be desired, but it’s a good place to hit regularly for the gems that pop up.
  3. Facebook — you know all those articles your friends share with you every day? Somebody has to write them. Pay attention to which sites you click through to often, then find out how to submit. Most pay in the $50 to $100 range.
  4. Online Writing Jobs  — somebody is combing through lots of Craigslist pages and finding the better writing gig postings. You should hit CL early and often in your first years freelancing, and this makes that process much easier.
  5. Your Chamber of Commerce — join and attend meetings for your local Chamber. It puts you in touch with people who own small businesses in your community. Which is to say people who need content written by a professional. See also Rotary Club and the Elks.
  6. Your Local Hobby Shop — whatever it is you’re passionate about, somebody runs a shop near you who doesn’t write as well as you do. You probably already have a relationship, so reach out. Double-dip here by contacting every hobby magazine on the shelf in that shop. They have a similar need for people who know the subject and know how to write.
  7. Media Bistro — has some good jobs posted from time to time While you’re at it, subscribe to their newsletter.
  8. Blogging Pro —  it costs $30 to post a gig on this site for a month, which tells you that every potential client found here was willing to invest in finding good talent. Which means they’re willing to invest in professional writing.

Dishonorable mention: oDesk, eLance and similar content mills. Although I’m not opposed to the idea of spending a little time there as you start gathering clips, these places are a race to the bottom in terms of payment and client quality. Step up into the bigs by taking better gigs.

Hey, that rhymed.