Earn Money by Writing Articles for Magazines as a Freelance Writer


These tips for earning money by writing articles are based on a reader’s questions about freelancing for magazines. Here, I discuss writing successful query letters, finding writers’ guidelines, researching magazines, and taking writing classes….and all my answers revolve around earning money by writing articles! Gotta love it.

Before the tips, here’s a writing quip from Elmore Leonard: 

“I don’t believe in writer’s block,” says Leonard. “I don’t know what that is. There are just certain little areas that I know I’m going to get through. It’s just a matter of finding a way.” 


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What a great way to approach freelance writing, a career as a novelist, and life in general: know that you’re going to get through; it’s just a matter of finding a way. These tips for getting published will help you find your way to earning a living as a freelance writer. For more info, read The Renegade Writer: A Totally Unconventional Guide to Freelance Writing Success — it’s one of my favorite books about freelance writing.

Earn Money by Writing Articles for Magazines as a Freelance Writer

Reading books about successful query letters for freelancers. Reader question: “Your post on successful query letters was extremely informative, and I was wondering if you used a particular book to help you get the hang of writing queries (I noticed you had a photo of The Renegade Writer’s Query Letters That Rock: The Freelance Writer’s Guide to Selling More Work Faster).” 

  • Answer: I didn’t use one particular book to learn how to write a successful query letter. Rather, I read as many books as I could about freelance writing, and created my own query letter based on all my research. Successful query letters should represent your personality as much as your writing skills, great article ideas, and professional image. Reading blogs about freelancing are also helpful when you’re learning about the trade (or even if you’re an established writer). But, guard your time! You can spend hours looking for the perfect query letter or a list of good writing tips, and lose valuable writing time.

Finding writer’s guidelines for magazines. Reader question: Sometimes I find it tough to find writer’s guidelines or really anything about queries on a magazine’s website. Have you found a good way to locate that info?” 

  • To find the writer’s guidelines, I usually go to the Site Map, About Us, or Contact Us of a print magazine’s web page, or an e-zine’s homepage. Sometimes the magazine clearly lists Writers’ Guidelines…and other times there’s nothing at all. Even if there’s nothing, I send in my query letter if I think I want to write an article for them.

Researching magazines before pitching. Reader question: “How do you research the magazines you’re going to pitch? I know it’s suggested to review 12 issues of a magazine, but that can get expensive (to order back issues).” 

  • Some magazines (Reader’s Digest, for instance) have been kind enough to send me past issues, at no charge. I’d already had experience writing for those editors, though, and they wanted me to learn more about their magazine. To research other publications, I visit their website to get a feel of their writing style and content, and go to the library all the time. I’ve also sold articles to magazines I’ve never read! For more info on pitching new magazines, read 7 Tips for Writing for Trade Magazines.

Taking writing or journalism classes. Reader question: “Have you taken additional writing classes since you’ve been out of school?” 

  • No. My degrees are in Education and Psychology, and I did take a nonfiction writing course at university – and really enjoyed it. My Reader’s Digest editor once told me that the stuff I’m learning from her (about editing, readers, sourcing materials, etc) isn’t taught in Journalism school. No offense to Journalism grads – I believe it’s a valuable degree – but I found that learning on-the-job was better for me than taking writing classes. However, if you can’t get on-the-job training because you can’t sell your article ideas, then an online writing class or a night course would be a smart move. For more tips from an editor (not the Reader’s Digest one), read 19 Tips From a Senior Editor.

If you have any questions or thoughts about earning money by writing articles, please comment below….


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2 thoughts on “Earn Money by Writing Articles for Magazines as a Freelance Writer

  • Laurie PK

    Hi Trevor,

    I’m glad you found the tips helpful. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask!

    Welcome to Quips & Tips for Successful Writers 🙂

    Laurie
    .-= Laurie PK´s last blog post ..6 Tips for Long-Term Success as a Freelance Writer =-.