Some writers believe writing articles for niche markets isn’t the best way to learn how to freelance write, while niche market writers believe specialized markets are the only way to go! These tips for freelance writers will help you figure out if you’re a niche market writer…
One of my readers recently pointed out that making money writing may be easier if you’re a generalist. Niche writers may have a more difficult time earning money in specialized markets because of fewer opportunities and lower readership levels…
Here’s what she says:
“The advice you give is fabulous, very useful,” commented Irene on my For Money Hungry Writers – 10 Tips to Make Money Writing article. “But…I’ve noticed that all successful freelance writers who claim making big figures from their writing (implying that therefore, other writers can do it, too!) are either financial advisers, or IT specialists, or psychology gurus, or have some other specialty currently well-paying and in high demand. What if a writer’s niche is tiny and not really popular? I’m a historian, for instance – what do I do? Get training as an IT specialist? Other than that, what can a writer who’s unlucky enough to have an “unpopular” specialization do? Thank you very much!”
Irene, I don’t have all the answers — but I do have a few suggestions! First, snuggle up to freelancing by learning as much as you can about pitching query letters, writing excellent feature articles, and working with editors. Feature and Magazine Writing: Action, Angle and Anecdotes might help – it’s a great resource for writers.
And, here are nine tips for niche writers…
Writing Articles for Niche Markets – How to Freelance Write
1. Remember that what you focus on becomes bigger. This “touchy feely” tip may be just as important as the more technical, practical tips for successful writers! Are you a writer who thinks you’ll never get published, never earn more than $100 a year from magazines, or never land a literary agent? Then you probably won’t be successful. No matter what you want out of life, you have to remember that what you think about becomes what you experience.
2. Explore different types of articles or niche markets. Even the most specialized niche market writers can stay busy with assignments if they focus on different types of feature articles. For instance, a writer could pitch a profile, a “how to”, a product report, an opinion article, a humorous article, or a human interest article – all related to one specific niche! The specialization may matter less than all the possible methods of exploration. For instance, if your niche is Braille writing, you might consider a profile about a blind person, a “how to teach/learn Braille”, a product review, an opinion piece, a humorous article, and a human interest piece – all for the same magazine.
3. Dig into the trade or niche publications market. Both The Writer’s Handbook 2009: The Complete Guide for all Writers, Publishers, Editors, Agents and Broadcasters and Writer’s Market list trade magazines and niche markets, but you’ll fine the most extensive list in the Encyclopedia of Associations, published by Gale Research. It lists trade, business, and commercial organizations, educational organizations, hobby and avocational organizations, and others. It costs over $600 on Amazon, but many libraries do have reference copies. I own The American Directory Of Writer’s Guidelines: More Than 1,600 Magazine Editors And Book Publishers Explain What They Are Looking For From Freelancers, which lists hundreds of magazine guidelines – many of them trades.
4. Remember that you don’t need to earn $1 a word. Many successful freelance writers earn a dollar or two a word from big national magazines, but they usually work hard for their money. Research, interviews, edits, more interviews, more research, more edits…all that work can translate to less than 50 cents a word when the article finally goes to print! But, the magazines that pay less (such as 50 cents a word) may not require as much work. When you’re learning how to freelance write, remember that it’s not always more lucrative to focus on the $1 per word assignments.
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5. Start a niche blog. If you’re not blogging about your niche or specialty, then it’s time to start! Not only will this increase your exposure and showcase your writing, it’ll give you more ideas to pitch to magazines. Trust me: once you get started, you’ll have more ideas than time to pitch them.
6. Don’t forget about web writing! Niche market writers can earn money in specialized markets – and online writing can bring in a few hundred dollars a month. It may not make you rich, but it’s great experience and exposure. In How to Find Online Writing Markets and Write for the Web, I describe five ways to freelance write online.
7. Consider self-publishing or writing ebooks. Here on Quips and Tips for Successful Writers, a guest author recently described his experience with self-publishing. His market is very specialized (green building design and construction), and he says, “the smaller your audience, the more success you will find.” Niche market writers might need to focus on different types of writing, and even consider working for themselves.
8. Flap your gums if you want to freelance write! I recently sat on a panel of bloggers at a workshop for writers; one of the other panels focused on writing for trade magazines. At the end of the day, I chatted with one of the trade magazine editors and he offered me an assignment then and there! Talking to people at seminars, workshops, and sessions that focus on your niche is a great way to promote your writing career. And it’s not just professional networking that helps: I landed my biggest client (a hospital here in Vancouver) via another writer, whom I met at a party.
9. Remember that making money writing isn’t just about freelancing. If you have a lot of knowledge about your specialty, can you teach evening classes or lead workshops at conventions? That’s a fun, potentially profitable way to be a successful writer – you not only earn money as a speaker, you may also run into editors and other potential clients.
To learn more about freelancing, read Do Writers Need Writing Degrees? 4 Tips for Aspiring Writers.
If you have any questions or thoughts on niche market writing or how to freelance write, please comment below…