Thanks to the Internet, getting something “published” no longer means releasing a New York Times best-seller or writing for Time Magazine.
While those are still valid options for a writer, the World Wide Web has opened up a plethora of other roads for us – ones that can get us a byline, put our work in front of readers and, most importantly, pay our bills.
So if you’re sitting there thinking “I want to be a freelance writer, but there’s no way I can get published in things like X, X or X” … think again. There are more venues for publication than you think. Just use this handy writer’s guide to getting published. All it takes is a few easy steps!
Perfect Your Pitch
When it comes to getting published, your pitch is what will make or break you.
It’s what an editor, publisher or blog owner will judge and evaluate you by, and if it’s not impressive, you’ll get dismissed immediately.
Take your time to personalize and really put some effort into your pitches. Include detailed info on your ideas and the sources you plan to pull from, and also include samples that show off your skills. Make sure those samples are in the same vein (either topic-wise or in format) to what you’re pitching, and you’ll get bonus points.
Include a link to your portfolio website, as well as snippets of testimonials from your past clients. Those can go a long way in impressing editors – especially if they’re from people in the industry they know or recognize!
If you want to learn more on how to find where these high-paying, high-quality clients are who will pay you what you are worth, before you finish reading this article, check out my latest free eBook, The Freelance Writer’s Complete Strategy Guide for Winning High-Quality Clients. Download it and then head back here! 🙂
It’s okay to go for the big-time publications – the ones you see on newsstands and in the checkout line, but remember: there are millions of other options out there, too. Don’t be afraid to start small.
Try getting published in your local paper, opt to write guest posts for already established websites and blogs, or look for trade magazines in your niche or specialty. Those often pay more anyway!
Double and triple-check the submission directions.
Most publications will have strict guidelines on how freelance writers can submit their work. You may simply need to email a specific person, or you may need to submit a detailed pitch letter and attach a number of references, samples and other information. If you really want to impress whomever you’re contacting, follow those directions exactly. Show them that not only are you a great writer, but you’re also detail-oriented, too.
Contact the Right People
If you’re blind pitching (meaning sending someone a pitch out of the blue, without any previous contact with the publication or editor), then make sure you’re pitching to the right person.
Don’t just send a pitch through a website’s “contact us” form or email the firstname.lastname@example.org address. Comb their website for a direct email address for someone in charge – an editor, director or someone on the editorial board. If you send your pitch to the wrong person, it will likely just end up going in the trash, so don’t waste your time or theirs!
Time it Right
There’s something to be said about timing.
Yes, you can submit a pitch at any time of year, but if you really want to make sure yours gets noticed, try sending it right before summer or around the holidays. During those periods, editors are often in desperate need of content. Their regular writers are traveling or on vacation, and there’s a real dearth of great copy at their publication. Send your pitch during one of these times, and you’ll maximize your chances of getting published!
This should be one of the biggest lessons you get from this writer’s guide to getting published: Don’t be afraid to get creative.
The Internet has provided us with billions of venues for our work, so think outside the box and come up with new and innovative ways to get your writing out there.
Get to know your niche, and tune in to the sites, blogs and even newsletters that the movers and shakers read. Consider writing for a company’s blog or helping with email blasts for an industry veteran. Remember, all that matters is that you’re writing and that you’re getting paid for it!
Build on Your Opportunities
Once you get published and get paid to write, use that accomplishment to land other opportunities.
Post your newly published work on your portfolio site, brag about it on your social media accounts, and use it as a sample when pitching to other publications. You can even ask your editors if they know of any colleagues or others in the industry looking for writers. Many times, magazines and papers are owned by a larger publishing company, and if you get in with one, they’re able to refer you to other publications that share an owner or even a common workspace. It never hurts to ask!
Last but not least, always remember: You can publish your work all by yourself!
Nook and Kindle have marketplaces where you can upload eBooks and even sell them for a small fee, and you can always create your own blog and start publishing work instantly. If that’s the route you take, remember to monetize your site by selling ad space or joining an advertising network like Google Adsense. This will allow you to make some cash off all that hard work!
I hope this handy freelancer writer’s guide to getting published helps you find more work.
Do you have any other tips? Please share them in the comments below.