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?
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