Hi Writing Family, it’s Kelly Eden here.
A huge thank you to those of you who commented and responded to the Writing Academy post last week. I have exciting plans in the works now, so make sure the newsletter isn’t heading into your spam folder and keep watching this space!
A Big Question
Because you kindly took the time to answer my question, I thought it’d only be fair to answer one many of you have asked lately: “Where do I start looking for freelance work?”
Obviously there are lots of ways to be a freelance writer: you can find jobs on UpWork, Freelancer.com, send cold emails to clients, or write for blogs.
LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook can all be potential sources to find work and promote your writing services. Of course, you can set up your own website too or write on Medium to advertise yourself.
If you want to pitch websites and magazines like I do though, the easiest way is to just run you through my process.
Finding Places to Pitch
I enter this process in three ways:
With an article already finished.
With an idea for a topic I’d like to write about.
With an open mind.
Let’s deal with the first two.
If I’ve a story written or have an idea of a topic I’d like to write on, I start an internet hunt for publications that might be a good fit.
I keep all of these in a folder in my inbox and scan through them when I need to. (These emails go out of date quickly so you need to regularly delete old ones.)
I also Google my topic. For example: “Parenting magazine submissions” or “Relationships magazines that pay.”
This takes quite a bit of work, but once you’ve found a dozen or so places to submit your work it gets easier. Most writer have a group of topics they specialize in—travel, parenting, health, etc. Get to know the websites and magazines in your specialty.
Don’t just go for the big pubs. Modern Love for example takes 1% of the submissions sent in!
Small magazines and websites sometimes pay quite well and you’re more likely to hear back.
To find out if they take submissions Google “<Name of mag> submission” or “Write for <name of mag>”. It’s not always easy to find the submission details!
If you can’t find any, send an email. Politely and briefly ask what their process is for submissions.
Researching with an open mind
When I want more ideas for articles, I do a general search of paying publications online and in my everyday life.
I keep track of magazines and websites I come across that pay for submissions and add to this list whenever I can.
I read other people’s articles and notice where they’re being published.
When I’m out, I also look at magazines I come across, in the supermarket and bookstores, or waiting at a doctor’s office. I take photos of the editors contact details on my phone to research when I get home.
Often you’ll find an magazine and think, “I could write something that fits this style!”
I make a “dream” list too of publications I’d love to get into.
Once I have a publication in mind, I study their articles (at least 2) and search their site to see if similar ideas have been published lately. (Pitching the same story they’ve just run would be embarrassing!)
I read their submission guidelines well and tailor my pitch to what they want. Some want just an idea, others want to see the whole story.
Read it carefully!
Here’s a template for you:
Then I send it off and move onto the next one. You won’t hear back from everyone (especially when you’re new) so just keep pitching!
Good luck and see you next week,