Freelance writing for consumer magazines

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Freelance writing for consumer magazines

Postby landman6271@gmail.com » Fri Mar 01, 2013 9:10 pm

I am new to the writers digest community, and have many questions! This one is about freelance writing for consumer magazines.

I have been writing short stories for several years, and think that I am ready to enter into the world of freelance writing for consumer magazines. I have considered this for several years, however, I do not know where to begin. I have researched so many websites, and the amount of conflicting information is simply overwhelming. I understand that the competition in this area is immense, so I do not expect to make a living doing this. I am currently a college student, and will soon graduate in Psychology, with a minor in English. I say this to let you know that I am used to compiling monumental amounts of research to complete research papers for both Psychology and English. My curriculum has provided me the opportunity to write about a vast array of subjects, so I am not worried about "winging" a subject that I do not have specific knowledge on.

Here are my specific questions. Please note that I am open to any advise, so if my questions do not cover something, please advise anyway!
1) I have never had any works published, so where would a new and unknown writer get started?
2) There are many magazines in WD that I fill I could write for, how do I approach the companies? I understand the concept of the query letters, but with no specific subject matter, how does one know what to write? Am I supposed to present them the idea for an article?
3) Should I send editors examples of my work?
4) Are there any "rights" that I should attempt to negotiate for?
5) Is it realistic for one to expect to make an actual career doing this?

Thank you for any advise!

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Re: Freelance writing for consumer magazines

Postby pls » Sat Mar 02, 2013 10:55 am

In general, you research and write articles first before submitting them directly to magazines. First North American serial rights are usually standard. With the article you'd submit a cover letter but not a query. As for making a career out of freelancing? It's possible if you can produce several articles per week - I have a friend who does exactly that with travel articles alone.
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Re: Freelance writing for consumer magazines

Postby landman6271@gmail.com » Sat Mar 02, 2013 12:16 pm

So I should come up with an idea for an article (based on the target magazines content), write the article, and submit it to the magazines with a cover letter. This makes a great deal of sense considering I am not know to anyone!

So after I've written, and hopefully published several articles, I can start using query letters with simultaneous submissions?

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Re: Freelance writing for consumer magazines

Postby Jowen » Sat Mar 02, 2013 12:45 pm

There is much to learn. Suggest you take a course in writing for publication.

Two ways to go:

1) Research target magazine. Write article based on magazine style, content and guidelines. Submit article with cover letter.

2) Research target magazine. Come up with super-fab idea for article. Submit idea to magazine editor via query letter.

Articles are nonfiction. Some are accepted via submission and cover letter, but most (especially mags that have a set editorial calendar) are assigned by editor.
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Re: Freelance writing for consumer magazines

Postby mammamaia » Sat Mar 02, 2013 12:51 pm

in all cases, follow the magazines' submission guidelines to the letter!

some will allow simsubs, some will not...
some will want the article prewritten and submitted with a cover letter, some will accept a query for a proposed article...
some will want list of paid credits and/or clips of published [paid] work, some will want samples, if you have not yet been published for pay...

i mentor many aspiring freelancers, along with all other writing breeds, so drop me a line if you want help along the learning path...

love and hugs, maia
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Re: Freelance writing for consumer magazines

Postby landman6271@gmail.com » Sat Mar 02, 2013 1:03 pm

I have considered taking these classes, and have spent countless hours on the internet seeking information. I even found one website that will sell me the secrets to becoming a millionaire freelancer, without the necessity of skill! (with a one time payment of $1000.00) of course! :D

But on a serious note, I definitely want to take courses in this, do you have any suggestions? I am currently in college, so the mention of another class makes me cringe; but I know this will be more beneficial than most of the courses in my curriculum. Do I really[i][/i] need that calculus? :lol:

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Re: Freelance writing for consumer magazines

Postby mammamaia » Sun Mar 03, 2013 12:42 pm

i don't see what a costly course can do for you that you can't do for yourself... if you want to give mentoring a try before shelling out big bucks, i'll be glad to add you to my roster of mentees...
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Re: Freelance writing for consumer magazines

Postby LoveWriters » Sat Mar 09, 2013 10:12 pm

If you want to simply get your feet wet and get paid for writing, you could always set up a profile on several outsourcing sites (which are always looking for content writers for blogs/sites etc) and just get started. Here are the top three in order of personal preference: Elance, oDesk, Freelancer.
Best of luck!


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