An online search for writing sites produces no fewer than 400,000 possibilities. Whether a writer hopes to write for technology, cooking or beauty advice, there's something for everyone. Writers new to the craft may wonder about the difference between online and print writing markets.
Online writing markets
How do writers know which site is compatible with their skills when there are so many sites to choose from? Browse the Web site and read its content to learn what kind of articles it accepts. Familiarity with article format, style and word count could mean the difference between acceptance or rejection.
While some sites accept articles if they fit the Web site's criteria, others put the writer to the test. They want a resume as well as one or more samples of work. The days are gone when writers had to wait weeks or even months for an acceptance or rejection notice. Thanks to email, a response can be expected within days.
Writing sites that don't pay their contributors are generally more relaxed about submissions than those that do. Paying sites are more selective and enforce stricter guidelines. Writers shouldn't assume that they will waste their time on a no-pay site. There is always the possibility that their submission can lead to bigger and better things, or that they might get commissioned by a Web site to write for them. Another benefit is that every article written can be included in a writer's portfolio.
Print writing markets
Writing for print markets is similar to online writing, but clients are more selective as most newspapers and many magazines have their own writers. Just as with online writing, familiarize yourself with the publication of your choice. Read a couple of articles, and make notes of the style and word count.
It's important to find out the name of the editor before sending a proposal. Starting your query with "Dear Sir or Madam" or 'Dear Editor' will not work in your favor. In addition to a proposal, some editors will want to see a copy of your writing credentials, a brief synopsis or the article in full.
Knowing that editors get hundreds of queries, learning how to pitch your story idea is crucial. You need to grab the editor's attention within seconds, so be brief and to the point. Editors don't read long explanations.
Exercise caution with writing markets
Be aware that along with reputable writing opportunities come writing scams. Print publications are generally safe, but the same cannot be said for Web sites. Scam artists post ads promising to supply you with writing opportunities if you are willing to pay for that information. Slogans such as "Make $5,000 per month or more with freelance writing" are all over the Internet. Don't be fooled. While professional freelance writers make a decent income, the majority of hobby writers write just for the love of it. In their minds, any monetary reward is a distant second place.
Remember, an honest, paying writing site will never ask you to invest money. Online and print writing markets will either pay you up front for an article or story, or they will pay per Web-site view. Anything that sounds too good to be true probably is.