The digital age has made it difficult for print publications to stay in business. That has given many a budding journalist reason to wonder if pursuing a career in print journalism still represents a wise choice. Those wanting to freelance as magazine or newspaper writers also pause to consider if querying these traditional publications is a waste of time.
In fact, you can still find many opportunities to write for both local and national magazines and newspapers. National magazines continue to have a budget, in most case, for freelance articles, and community newspapers often rely on freelancers to provide stories.
That said, other magazines and newspapers have little or no budget for feature writers in addition to their staff. They may, however, have a small budget for short fillers, op eds or online articles. And once you have proven yourself as a reliable provider of articles, you might be able to finagle yourself into a larger article for pay.
Many print publications have transitioned into online, rather than printed versions. These may have more money to pay to freelancers because their overhead costs are less. Drop your idea of holding a printed publication with your by-lined article in it and become accustomed to “clipping” articles on the internet instead. You will actually find these much more useful for landing additional assignments; you can provide 3-5 links to your published work in your next query letter.
I received my education and training as a magazine journalist. I have stacks of magazines everywhere and regularly bring home magazines for which I hope to write. I even write for several simply for the promotional reward they offer.
If you are like me and love magazines or newspapers, don’t let anyone tell you they are dead. Some have moved into cyberspace, but many are still alive and well in the physical world. And the editors might be quite happy to see your query letter come across their desks—and to pay you for your article.
If you want to submit to a magazine or newspaper, first:
• study the publication and come up with an idea that fits its readership, or
• come up with an idea and then find a publication that might be interested in the topic
Then write a great query letter. Submit it to the editor. Research the editors to see which one accepts queries. There might be submission guidelines listed on line. The guidelines will tell you how to submit. These days it’s usually by email. You might also use 2013 Writer’s Market; it’s a fabulous resource for discovering publications and submission guidelines.
I love getting my work published in print publications and online publications. I’m sure you will, too. In fact, working as a journalist has been one of my favorite jobs. Let me know if you enjoy it, too.