By Katie Sluiter
So you’ve decided you want your writing to earn you some money. But where do you start? How do you find something that will pay? A good rule of thumb is to start with what you already read and branch out from there.
Poke around your local paper’s website for the name of the submission editor. Years ago I submitted a piece on celebrity baby names to my local paper and was unexpectedly hired as a freelancer for their print paper. But local publications aren’t limited to newspapers. There are probably many local publications—newletters, magazines, blogs, etc.—that you don’t know about yet because you haven’t looked. You may have the edge over another writer, because you are familiar with the local beat.
These are generally bigger and get many submissions, but they are worth a shot. Babble, Curvy Girl Guide, AllParenting.com, etc. are some that usually offer open submissions. Places like BlogHer takes submissions for syndication (which pays) and will often highlight work (which sends your site pageviews) Somewhere on the site you want to work with will be a “careers” or “submissions” link/button. There you will find guidelines and pay information. Watch social media as well, Babble, for instance, will tweet when they are looking for new writers for a specific section or column on their site.
Some Large scale print magazines will run essay contests and hold open submissions for articles. Watch for reputable, well-advertised contests, not the hidden ones in the backs of the magazines. Real Simple holds an annual essay contest that is legitimate, for instance, and gets the writer published in the magazine and a cash prize. Trade and scholarly journals will also have a section in the front of the magazine for calls for articles. The English Journal, for instance, has a space devoted to what themes and subjects it is looking for to publish in future editions.
It probably sounds obvious, but searching Google for writing opportunities will bring up various communities/groups you can join. Some come with a membership fee, some are private and you need to apply, but some are open to anyone. For example, Linkedin has a group you can apply to be in that posts paid writing opportunities and lists companies looking for freelance writers.
Corporations like Best Buy have programs where they hire bloggers to do their product reviews FOR them. You join their network and receive the latest products and gadgets to use and review. The catch is that you need to have your own blog to work with some companies as they do not have a review site.
It is undoubtedly overwhelming for the beginning freelancer to know where to look, but remember: The opportunities are out there. You just have to go find them.
Katie Sluiter is a freelance writer and teacher who should probably be grading papers or changing diapers but is more likely blogging, tweeting, or just overusing social media in general. She chronicles all this on her blog, Sluiter Nation.
Image credit: ba1969