How to Make Money Writing Articles

Article writing is probably the best known of all short writing opportunities, yet it's also one of the most misunderstood.

Yes, there is a vast market for freelance articles, but you do need to understand where this market is and how best to approach it.

Many people, when considering article writing, think immediately of a narrow band of well-known consumer magazines - Reader's Digest, Cosmopolitan, Vanity Fair, and so on. In fact, these markets are among the toughest of all to break into, and not really suitable for most new freelances.

The good news is, though, there's a huge variety of other publications that use articles. Apart from the well-known consumer magazines such as those mentioned above, there are literally thousands of others devoted to hobbies and activities, special interests, beliefs and spirituality, local and regional matters, and so on. And that's before you even start to consider all the thousands of trade journals.
Nearly all these accept material from freelances, and many are crying out for writers who can supply the type of articles they need.

What type of article you write is crucial, however. Many new writers start by writing about their feelings and opinions. The bad news is that this is an almost certain recipe for disappointment. Unless you are a well-known public figure, it is unlikely that an editor will want to publish an article based on your personal opinion. The readers' Letters page is the place for this. So what DO editors want? There are three key requirements:

1. The article should be WELL RESEARCHED
As I noted above, there is little demand for opinion pieces from unknown writers. Overwhelmingly, what editors want is well-researched, well-written factual articles.

2. The article should be ORIGINAL
I'm not saying here that your article must concern a topic nobody has ever written about before - clearly, that would be almost impossible. However, what you must try to do is find an original slant.

For example, there is a lot of interest in so-called New Age therapies at the moment, and many magazine editors regularly receive articles and proposals from freelance writers on this subject. While "An Introduction to Aromatherapy" might therefore provoke groans of "Not again!?", a piece with a more unusual slant such as "Aromatherapy for Your Pet?" might very well be accepted!

Many new writers make the mistake of writing with only a general idea of who may publish their article. Again, this is a recipe for disappointment. Editors are busy people, and they want articles that will fit into their magazine with a minimum of additional work. Unless your article accurately meets the length, style and content requirements of the magazine in question, the likelihood is that it will be rejected.

This means that to succeed in article writing, you need to analyze your target publication carefully, and prepare your article with its requirements foremost in your mind. If, even then, the article is rejected, you may still be able to sell it elsewhere, but you are likely to have to rewrite it first to meet the new publication's requirements.

Quote of the Day: "Trust yourself. You know more than you think you do."—Benjamin Spock

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