Tuesday, March 7, 2017
Freelancing: Getting Paid to Write Nonfiction Articles
Nonfiction writing, on the other hand, can be quite lucrative. Many magazines will pay handsomely for a nonfiction article, especially if it is instructive. The flow of information is key in the information age, and publications are always hungry for more.
Even if you primarily write poetry or short stories, you can make money as a nonfiction freelancer because everyone is an expert at something. Are you a parent? There are many parenting magazines interested in your expertise. Do you collect stamps as a hobby, own pets, have a garden? Are you a foodie or like to travel? Can you write a compelling book or movie review? There are even magazines that want to hear about your experience as a writer. What is your writing process? How do you overcome writers' block? And if you're published - how did you get your agent or publisher?
There is one important difference between creative writing and nonfiction submissions. While fiction is submitted in full, nonfiction is pitched. A pitch is a brief description of the article you want to write - one that will convince the editor your idea is a perfect fit for their publication. The pitch also includes your credentials and/or expertise, which are essential for nonfiction writing.
Do some research before you pitch. Read submissions guidelines carefully, and get familiar with the publication. Unlike literary journals, nonfiction publications respond quickly. If you don't hear back from the editor within a week, follow up with a polite email. If you still don't get a reply, move on.
Here are some helpful articles:
How to Write the Perfect Article Pitch
How to Pitch
How NOT to pitch editors
These sites provide some great resources for freelance writers.
Who Pays Writers
This is an enormously useful site for both fiction and nonfiction writers. It gives detailed information on hundreds of publications, including how much they pay, when they pay (upon publication, 30-day net, etc.), how to submit, platform (print, online), whether there is a contract, and helpful comments.
Contently Rates Database
The Contently database is organized by date, format, category (writing, photography, etc.), and pay rate. The comments are very helpful. (It's interesting to look at this list just to see what every news outlet pays freelancers.)
Write Jobs is one of my favorite resources for finding calls for submissions and writing contests. The site also features numerous opportunities for nonfiction writing, along with pay rates and detailed information for submitting. Some of these are longer term gigs with hourly pay.
Make a Living Writing
This is a site that features 92 paying markets organized by topic: Business, Career, and Finance; Essays; Family and Parenting; Health; Lifestyle and General Interest; Tech; Travel and Food; and Writing. The site also offers tips for pitching, resources for freelance writers, and many other informative articles.
And for those who are looking for something more than a one-off:
Freelance Writing is the go-to site for finding longer term writing jobs. The site compiles job offerings from a number of different sources. You can search by location, job source, skills, and sort by date. You can also apply for jobs directly from the site.