Nonfiction writing is not just about writing and publishing books. You also can write and submit articles to publications. And many nonfiction writers earn a decent living writing for publications.
Writing articles for publications also provides a phenomenal way to promote your books in your target market. When magazines (online or off) in your target market publish your work, this exposes you and your book to your ideal audience.
Additionally, writing for publications can be fulfilling. You get to write about your favorite topics, interview interesting people, and see your name in print.
If you know nothing about articles, here’s a short primer on the seven primary types of pieces you could write and submit to publications.
1. Essay: Most essays are short to medium-length pieces about a personal experience or an opinion. Typically, an essay revolves around one subject and presents your views.
2. How-To: These prescriptive pieces contain steps, ways, or tips that help the reader do something specific. They provide the Rx (solution) for a problem or the answer to a question. (Think recipes. Write a how-to article in a similar manner to writing down a recipe.)
3. Question and Answer: This is an article based upon an interview. However, with the exception of the lead or introductory paragraphs, you do not analyze or build a story around the interviewee’s answers to your questions. Instead, you pose your questions and provide the answers you receive.
4. Personality Profile: This type of article revolves around a person’s life (not yours) and accomplishments. Based on an interview, you provide an in-depth look at her life, including early beginnings, significant life events, accomplishments, quirks, faults, character, and strengths. (Think People magazine.)
5. Trend: Just as the name implies, a trend article showcases an increasing or decreasing movement over time, such as in housing prices, the number of people playing Pokemon Go, or couples getting divorced.
6. Lifestyle: These articles focus on a lifestyle issue, such as health, relationships, or recreation, and can include interviews as well as statistics. Such a piece might discuss the private school options in a city, how to use a new walking path in a town, or the best restaurants around town.
7. Shorts: Many publications feature short pieces. These might be 150-500 words in length. The topics vary but always focus on the target market of the particular publication. Sometimes a magazine will have a section on health and fitness, for example, and it might consist of four to five short pieces on the topic.
You can find variations on any of these article formats.
You also might find an opportunity to write additional pieces, such as:
- book reviews
- movie reviews
- restaurant reviews
- op-ed pieces (opinion)
Writing articles provides a wonderful opportunity to get out in front of your ideal audience, get paid, and pursue your interests.
Are there other article formats you like or have been asked to write?
Photo courtesy of kconcha / pixabay.com
Mike Walmsley says
Thanks Nina! Some great tips as a primer to a wider market. Wondering if you have any tips on how to approach some of these magazines to become a recognized “supplier” of articles for their publications? Thanks!
Nina Amir says
You need to write a great query letter…and don’t give up if at first you are rejected! Research query letters on this site, Mike. Or join my Nonfiction Writers’ University. I have some great info in there about writing for publications, including a challenge that teaches you how to write a query letter for anything at all.
how long should each of these articles be? ????
Nina Amir says
The length of the article depends on the publication for which you write it.
Donald mokwana says
Hi Nina, I would love to write a book but i dont know where to start
Can you please advise??
Nina Amir says
Grab the free guide on this site, Donald!
Jusper Odi says
I have learnt a lot from your insights. I would like to become an effective freelancer or content writer so I can write articles for publication and you have just opened my eyes on the same. Thanks a lot.
I want to write a magazine story base on election pls how do i go about it
Nina Amir says
My site has many articles about how to write and submit articles, Victoria. You need to send a query letter to the correct editor at a magazine. If they like the idea, they will offer a contract. Then you write the piece. You might consider joining the Nonfiction Writers’ University (basic or Masters) to get more support as you begin writing for publications. Find out more here: http://www.nonfictionwritersuniversity.com or http://www.ninaamir.com/nfwum/
Very informative, eye opening. Was looking for ideas on types of articles to write and I think I just found my answer.