How to Write for Magazines | 7 Tips to Get Started

Learning how to write for magazines is one of those things I didn’t understand until someone else taught me. So I thought I’d do the same for you today.

Write for Magazines

How to write for magazines

Maybe you’ve been a writer for a while and you feel like you should know how to do this and now you’re afraid to ask.

Or maybe you’ve thought about writing for magazines but don’t know where to start.

Or maybe you know what you want to pitch to a magazine but you don’t know how to do it, if they accept pitches or where to send it.

All good! I didn’t know either.

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A lot of magazines accept freelance pitches and pay for articles but figuring that out can seem a bit overwhelming until you understand how it works.

How to Write for Magazines Free Worksheet

Want these tips as a PDF download? You can grab it in my resource library! This is a free download but you do need a password to access the library itself.

Pop your email address into the form below and I’ll send you the password. Then, when you’re in the library navigate to the freelancing section and look for “Write for Magazine Tips.”

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Ready to get started? Here are a few quick tips.

Tip 1: Figure out which magazines you want to write for

Tip 1: Figure out which magazines you want to write for

You should have a basic idea of the type of magazines you want to publish articles in, and even better if you have a few specifics in mind.

If you don’t know, start by doing some research. Go to your local library and look through their magazine stacks.

Ask yourself: Which magazines you’re interested in reading? Which ones publish articles in the style you write? Which ones would you like to see your byline in? Make a list.

Tip 2: Brainstorm several article/story ideas

Tip 2: Brainstorm several article/story ideas

When you write for magazines, much of the time it’s you, the writer, pitching ideas to them, the editor and/or publisher.

So you can’t go to a magazine and say, “I’d like to write for you, what are you looking for?” This approach outs you as an amateur and doesn’t get you far.

You need solid story ideas when approaching a magazine and, in general, you want a few in your back pocket so when the opportunity arises, you’re ready with your pitch.

So have a few ideas going before you need them and keep this list topped up.

Extra credit: How to Brainstorm Ideas for Writing

Tip 3: Before you pitch, do your research

Tip 3: Before you pitch, do your research

Cross-reference your list of target magazines with your list of story ideas. When you write for magazines, you want your pitch to stand out from the rest.

The best way to do that is to ensure your idea fits with what the magazine publishes and that they haven’t done it before.

Many magazines publish their upcoming themes on their website, which will also help you out.

Tip 4: Write a query letter or letter of inquiry (LOI) when pitching

Tip 4: Write your pitch (or write a query letter or letter of inquiry [LOI])

For the most part, you’re sending an inqueries about writing an article, not the full article itself.

This is a quick pitch, trying to see if there’s any interest in your story. Your goal from this letter is to get the assignment so make sure it’s good!

Extra credit: Tips on Pitching for Freelance Writers

This includes pitch templates!
Tip 5: Want to write for magazines? Ask your network for introductions to magazine editors

Tip 5: Want to write for magazines? Ask your network for introductions to magazine editors

I’ve said it before and I’ve said it again, your freelancer network is your strongest asset.

Your freelance writing friends may already be writing for magazines. Ask them which ones they’re writing for. Or, if there’s a specific one you’re interested in, ask if your writing friends have any connections there.

Then, ask for an introduction.

Not only will a referral get your query past the gatekeepers and into the right person’s inbox, it improves your chances of your pitch being read and considered.

One caveat: if you’re asking for a referral remember your friend is putting his/her reputation on the line for you. Be professional, be courteous and—above all—don’t be a flake.

Tip 6: Don't know who to contact? Look in the front flap at the masthead

Tip 6: Don’t know who to contact? Look in the front flap at the masthead

If you know which magazines you want to write for, look at the masthead and find the editor’s name for the section you want to pitch to. You’re looking for something like a departmental editor or features editor.

Can’t find their email address?

Look on the magazine’s website and see if you can find it. You may find a “write for us” area on the website where there will be more specific pitching instructions.

Do your best to send your query to the editor rather than the general info email unless you’re instructed to.

Tip 7: Wondering which publications pay? Get a market guide

Tip 7: Wondering which publications pay? Get a market guide

If you can’t learn anything from your research or network about whether or not your target magazine pays for article, you can purchase a market guide to help you.

It will also give you a ton of magazine titles to consider, contact information for the editor you need to query and special instructions for pitching. This is a gold mine of information.

Here are a couple I recommend:


Remember, grab these tips as a free PDF download in my resource library. Enter your email address below and I’ll send you the password!

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I hope this helps you write for magazines! Let me know how you do.

Learning how to write for magazines is one of those things I didn't understand until someone else taught me. So I thought I'd do the same for you today.

One more thing. I think you’ll like my free resource library. This is where I keep my files, downloads, ebooks, worksheets and whatever else I manage to create. I love sharing what I learn and want to keep adding to this library so it becomes a wealth of helpful goodness.

This is a free resource but I do require a password to access the library itself. You can get access by popping your email address into the form below.

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Learning how to write for magazines is one of those things I didn't understand until someone else taught me. So I thought I'd do the same for you today.
Learning how to write for magazines is one of those things I didn't understand until someone else taught me. So I thought I'd do the same for you today. Here are seven tips for getting started.

A Five-Step Plan for Breaking Free from Content Mills

If you’re new to freelance writing you may have heard other writers warn you about content mills.

A Five-Step Plan for Breaking Free from Content Mills

But do you know how to spot them in order to steer clear? And what if you took a gig and found out later it was one of those content mills? How do you break free?

So, you want to be a freelance writer

For many new writers, the idea of making a living writing is an elusive dream.

They aren’t veterans with established credibility, they don’t have strong clippings from reputable sources, and they don’t have a network of colleagues to get advice from. They’re desperate for information but they hear conflicting advice and don’t know who to believe.

So they bid on jobs and take five dollars per article, all the while cold pitching blog after blog and freelance marketplace posting after freelance marketplace posting. Nothing is working.

They feel like frauds and wonder if it isn’t better to give up altogether.

Content mills AKA writers mills AKA content farms are all slang terms freelancers give to companies or websites that pump out cheap content intended to drive page views or profits and pay their writers next-to-nothing rates.

When you’re just starting out it’s easy to wind up in these content mills because they’re easy gigs to get and many new freelancers don’t know what a good rate is.

They’re so flattered and excited to get a job they take it without much consideration.

But wait. Doesn’t everyone start somewhere? And what if you’re already writing for content mills don’t even know it? Or what if you’re writing for content mills and you’re ready to make the break…what’s next?

Would you like free writing tips? Sign up for my weekly tips & tricks, from one writer to another at robynroste.com/writing-tips.
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Five tips for breaking free from content mills

Get a website

If you’re hungry for work you need a website promoting your writing. It doesn’t have to be fancy but you do need to let prospective clients know what kind of writing you do, what kind of writing you have done, and how to get in touch.

Here are seven essential writer website elements if you’re wondering what you should put on your website.

Write a blog

Yes this is a lot of work but it’s also a great example of your writing style and voice. This fills in the gaps if you don’t have many good-quality clippings and demonstrates your dedication to the craft.

On the fence about blogging? Here are four reasons why I think freelancers should have a blog.

Create a marketing plan

Keep it simple at the beginning, but have a plan. Answer these questions: what type of writing do you want to do, what is your rate, what problems can you solve for your clients, and where are your ideal clients? Then make a plan to get your ideal client’s attention.

Here are some tips for marketing yourself as a writer without feeling sleazy or braggy.

Ask for help

This is hard. But in your circle there has got to be at least one person who is willing and able to help you by offering mentorship, advice, or introductions. But you do need to be vulnerable and reach out. If you don’t know where to start you can ask me.

Joining a writing group is an awesome way to find people who can help you escape content mills. Here are my best tips for finding good writing groups.

Practice pitching

There’s a whole psychology to pitching and it starts with mindset. If you believe you’re a fraud or you don’t deserve more than five dollars an article then your pitching will reflect that. Practice pitching and work on your confidence. Ask other writers what pitches have worked for them and make adjustments to your approach as necessary.

Wondering where to start with pitching? Learn how to write a query letter.

By following these five steps you will be on your way to creating a platform and landing clients. And with the support of fellow writers, you’ll pick up even more ways to reach your freelance writing goals.

If you're new to freelance writing you may have heard other writers warn you about content mills. But do you know how to spot them in order to steer clear?

One more thing. You may be interested in my free resource library. This is where I keep my files, downloads, ebooks, worksheets and whatever else I manage to create. There’s a writing section and a freelancing section I think you’ll get a lot out of.

I love sharing what I learn and want to keep adding to this library so it becomes a wealth of helpful goodness.

This is a free resource but I do require a password to access the library itself. You can get access by popping your email address into the form below.

Get Access to My Free Resource Library

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If you're new to freelance writing you may have heard other writers warn you about content mills. But do you know how to spot them in order to steer clear?
Content mills aka writers mills aka content farms are all slang terms freelancers give to companies or websites that pump out cheap content intended to drive page views or profits and pay their writers next-to-nothing rates. When you're just starting out freelance writing it's easy to wind up in these content mills because they're easy gigs to get and many new freelancers don't know what a good rate is. Want to break free? Here's your five-step plan for breaking free from content mills.

3 Smart Questions to Ask to Discover Your Ideal Reader

No matter if you’re a freelance writer or an author, knowing who your ideal reader is will make a huge difference to your writing career.

Ideal Reader

What is an ideal reader?

This is a fictional persona to whom your writing will most appeal. While this is not a scientific process, creating a profile helps you write with purpose and enables you to craft elements into your writing that surprises and delights this person.

Your ideal reader represents who you are writing to. It’s one person, not many people. This is a specific process and if you do it right, your ideal reader will come alive in your mind.

What this means is you need to figure out who your ideal reader is, what his or her interests are, and why your ideal reader reads.

Your most important question is why will your ideal reader be interested in your book?

Whatever the why, all readers have one and it’s your job to discover it for your ideal reader.


Discover Your Ideal Readers Worksheet

Do you want the worksheet that goes with this training?

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Once you’re in look for “Discover Your Ideal Reader Worksheet” in the writing section.

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Your ideal reader is your biggest fan

When you know who you’re writing to it gives your writing purpose and direction. This may seem like a strange exercise to go through but trust me, it’s a key step.

Even if it’s a loose definition, think about the person (real or fictional) who would most be interested in reading your work.

ANSWER THESE QUESTIONS

  • What does this person tend to focus on?
  • On social media, what does your ideal reader like sharing about?
  • From what you can gather, what does he/she most need/want/desire?

Once you know the answers to those initial questions answer this one: what problem are you solving for your ideal reader through your writing?

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Through thinking about your ideal reader you should have a few words and phrases jotted down. Take a look and add a few more words to the page.

This time, write down things about your ideal reader. Noting things like hopes, dreams, challenges or family dynamics can help you paint a picture.

It can be vague or specific, long or short. Just jot down as much as you can think of in a five-minute period.

Look at the list you came up with and compare it to your first one—are you seeing a character emerge? Write a biography for this person—whatever comes to mind with as much detail as you can include.

Remember, this is a creative exercise. You’re trying to imagine who the person is who can’t wait to read what you write. The more human you can make this person, the better.

No matter if you're a freelance writer or an author, knowing who your ideal reader is will make a huge difference to your writing career.

Here are a few marketing applications

In essence, marketing your writing is simple—put your writing in front of the people who will love it. If you have an idea of who your ideal reader is then finding those (real life) people is a lot easier. The more you know, the better.

  • What stores do they shop in? Now you know where to sell your work
  • Where do they hang out? Now you know where to hold workshops or readings
  • What is their favourite social media platform? Now you know where you need to be online
  • What are their biggest fears? Now you know how to help them
  • What do they care most about? Now you know how to relate to them
  • What type of marketing will they best respond to? Now you know what you need to do

There are a lot of ways you can find your ideal reader (or book buyer, or ideal client, etc.) so it’s important not just to parrot what you see others doing online but to find something that works for you and feels natural.

free fillable worksheet discover your ideal reader

Don’t forget to download your free worksheets for this training

Pop your email address into the form below, confirm your email subscription and I’ll send you the password to my free resource library. Once you’re in look for “Discover Your Ideal Reader Worksheet” in the Writing section.

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Other helpful articles

No matter if you're a freelance writer or an author, knowing who your ideal reader is will make a huge difference to your writing career.

One more thing. You may be interested in my free resource library. This is where I keep my files, downloads, ebooks, worksheets (like the worksheet from today’s training!) and whatever else I manage to create. I love sharing what I learn and want to keep adding to this library so it becomes a wealth of helpful goodness.

This is a free resource but I do require a password to access the library itself. You can get access by popping your email address into the form below.

Get Access to My Free Resource Library

* indicates required
No matter if you're a freelance writer or an author, knowing who your ideal reader is will make a huge difference to your writing career.
No matter if you're a freelance writer or an author, knowing who your ideal reader is will make a huge difference to your writing career.

Easy Tips on Pitching 4 Proven Steps to Get More Assignments

More and more I’m seeing a need for tips on pitching in the freelance writing world.

Tips on pitching for freelance writers | Pitch tips for freelancers

People aren’t sure how to craft a pitch, or they’re feeling insecure. Or they’re writing WAY too much. And not including the right elements.

No matter if you’re new to the biz or have years of freelancing experience, getting and staying in pitching shape is a good idea!

Would you like free writing tips? Sign up for my weekly tips & tricks, from one writer to another at robynroste.com/writing-tips.
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Tips on pitching for freelance writers

OK, so you might be thinking you don’t need tips for pitching because you’re getting by from other ways of getting gigs.

And I’m sure that’s true! Cold pitching (or any pitching really) is just one way freelance writers get work. But it’s SUCH an important skill and quite helpful when it’s time to up-level or up-sell.

Quite. Helpful.

And in my effort to be a conscientious and effective literary citizen I’m trying to put more helpful pitching advice into the world.

Pitch Tips Templates

By the way, I have four pitch templates for you! These are free downloads but you’ll need a password to access them in my resource library. Just pop your email address into the form below and I’ll send you the password.

Once you’re in the resource library navigate to the freelancing section and look for “Pitch Templates.”

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I’ve written much more about pitching (and included four pitch templates) on my post for Story Board, 4 Pitch Templates for Freelance Writers.

Here’s an easy and repeatable approach to cold pitching

  1. Make a list of 10 cold prospects in your target market (LinkedIn will be a gold mine here)
  2. Send them an email asking if they work with freelance writers. Keep it short to the point (see my pitching templates below for more on that!)
  3. Once you’ve sent your 10 emails make a new list with 10 new people
  4. Repeat steps 1-3

Make sure to download my four pitch templates. There’s a cold pitch template, a letter of inquiry template and more!

These are free downloads but you’ll need a password to access them in my resource library. Just pop your email address into the form below and I’ll send you the password.

Once you’re in the resource library navigate to the freelancing section and look for “Pitch Templates.”

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Having trouble choosing a niche? Just pick something and start. Start with what you already know about.

You’ll know fairly soon if you’ve chosen the right path once you start taking action. Focus on one pitch at a time. Don’t expect to strike it rich or get into your dream publication with your first pitch.

Just keep pitching.

Other pitching resources

Here are a few great pitch tips from around the web I hope will be helpful!


More and more I'm seeing a need for tips on pitching in the freelance writing world.

People aren't sure how to craft a pitch, or they're feeling insecure. Or they're writing WAY too much. And not including the right elements.

No matter if you're new to the biz or have years of freelancing experience, getting and staying in pitching shape is a good idea!

One more thing. You may be interested in my free resource library. This is where I keep my files, downloads, ebooks, worksheets and whatever else I manage to create. I love sharing what I learn and want to keep adding to this library so it becomes a wealth of helpful goodness.

This is a free resource but I do require a password to access the library itself. You can get access by popping your email address into the form below.

Get Access to My Free Resource Library

* indicates required
More and more I'm seeing a need for tips on pitching in the freelance writing world.

People aren't sure how to craft a pitch, or they're feeling insecure. Or they're writing WAY too much. And not including the right elements.

No matter if you're new to the biz or have years of freelancing experience, getting and staying in pitching shape is a good idea!

Coworking Space or Shared Office Space, Which Is The Right Choice?

Remote work is one of those trends that isn’t going away. In fact, I daresay it’s NOT a trend and is, in fact, an awakening to a better work/life balance However, working remote doesn’t have to mean working from HOME. Sometimes having a coworking space or shared office is the right way to go, even if you’re a remote employee.

Coworking Space or Shared Office Space, Which Is The Right Choice?

Home office versus coworking space

If you’re a freelancer who has been home for two years straight (or more), then you may feel the need from time to time to venture out into the world and become socialized. At least a bit. Whether it’s a local coffee shop or a downtown office space, it’s nice to change things up every now and then.

Now, there are plenty of good reasons for having a physical office space outside of your home but for some people, running a virtual office will do the trick. It all depends on your needs.

If your home set up doesn’t give off professional vibes and you want your clients to see you as a professional, then you may benefit from giving coworkign a try.

Either shared office or coworking spaces provide you with a business address, a place to meet in person with clients, a professional atmosphere and social interactions you may not have when working from home.

Would you like free writing tips? Sign up for my weekly tips & tricks, from one writer to another at robynroste.com/writing-tips.
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What is a coworking space?

A coworking space is a large, open area with desks lined up. Depending on the coworking space, the desks are either completely open or divided into partitions.

The first time I saw a coworking space I didn’t really get it. “So, like, everyone is working on their own thing and they all come to this space to do it? And they share a kitchen?”

Now that I’m a freelancer, I UNDERSTAND THE APPEAL. It’s not just that you’re sharing a space with other people who are working on different things, for different companies and industries. It’s more than that. Often, you’re working with people who are similarly wired and while you may not work together, you have things in common.

This is a rare and unexpected treat when you’re used to not fitting in and not being around people who “get” the entrepreneur thing.

By the way, coworking spaces are especially popular in the startup and artistic communities.

In general, these types of businesses benefit from open, collaborative, community settings and coworking spaces provide just that. Who else are you sure to find at a coworking office? Many times you’ll find collectives working together, such as marketers, writers, and graphic designers working on a client project together. You will also see start-ups collaborating to improve their investor pitches and grow their businesses.

While this type of workspace is great for working collaboratively, there are some drawbacks. They lack privacy and you have no control over who you share the space with.

What is a shared office space?

If you want or need more privacy then a shared office space may be the right choice for you.

This type of setting provides private rooms for individuals, located in a business centre. Other businesses can use the space, but they have their own private offices as well.

When you share office space, you share resources such as reception and administration staff, as well as things like photocopiers, printers, and utilities. They often have things like canteens and security provided by reputable companies, such as @ironhorsesecurity, giving you additional peace of mind.

Shared workspaces are ideal if you prefer working in an office environment with other businesses but also want the option of having a private, quiet space. This way, you can concentrate on your work, take meetings and make phone calls without any interruptions or distractions.

This type of setup is usually more expensive than becoming a member at a coworking space but will benefit you if this is what your business needs.

So, what do you think? Working from home is a wonderful, wonderful thing but sometimes you need to meet with a group or change your scenery.

Or you have to get out of there because *suddenly* every window in your home is being replaced. Just saying. These things happen.

Remote work is one of those trends that isn't going away. In fact, I daresay it's NOT a trend and is, in fact, an awakening to a better work/life balance However, working remote doesn't have to mean working from HOME. Sometimes having a coworking space or shared office is the right way to go, even if you're a remote employee.

One more thing. You may be interested in my free resource library. This is where I keep my files, downloads, ebooks, worksheets and whatever else I manage to create. I love sharing what I learn and want to keep adding to this library so it becomes a wealth of helpful goodness.

This is a free resource but I do require a password to access the library itself. You can get access by popping your email address into the form below.

Get Access to My Free Resource Library

* indicates required