“How do magazines pay writers for articles and stories?”

This post addresses Question 2 (see Magazine Writing Basics for all 12 questions) about how to start writing and selling to magazines.

Q. “How do I get paid for my articles or stories?”

Freelance writers for magazines are usually paid per published word. (Newspapers usually pay per column inch or per column.) How does this translate to actual income?

Articles are usually submitted in 12 pt, Times New Roman font, double-spaced, with 1” margins. This translates to about 250 words per typed page.

A magazine page with all text would have about 1,000 words. Of course, most magazine pages contain at least 1/3 graphics, with plenty of additional white space created by the use of lists, headers, quotes, fillers, etc. Many articles are about 750 words long (in other words, three of your typed, double-spaced pages). In some magazines, features run 2,000 to 3,000 words, but you will notice that material usually includes sidebars or a collection of mini articles on one theme. (I will explain later how to increase your article sales by strategically writing filler and sidebar material.) If you do the math, what this means is:

A magazine that pays .25 per word will earn you $250 for a 1000 word article; .50 will earn you $500, and $1 per word (from very high circulation magazines) will earn you $1000.

The rights you sell for that pay rate is another story. Low to moderate pay for a reprint can be better to receive than moderate (or even relatively high) pay for all rights. It is critical to know that if you only sell one-time rights, you can resell the same article over and over again to noncompeting magazines. (I’ll share more about how to do this, later.)

There are other benefits besides monetary. Of course, seeing your name in print is fun, and I already mentioned how rewarding it is to impact readers. But depending on the magazine, you may be able to have more than a simple byline (your name printed with the article) and get a bio note.

A bio note is a brief paragraph at the end of an article, which can include your website address and a bit about you, including a book title and link if you are a book author. If the article is archived on a magazine’s website, readers can click on your website link and pop to your site to see what else you have to offer. In some cases, it is better to receive no pay for an article and retain control over it than it is to get a low per-word rate.

To read more tips on getting your articles or stories published, visit CrossConnectMedia.com.


2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Joyce Brock on February 18, 2012 at 5:21 pm

    I have a story about outfitting Rosa Parks to go to the White House to be the first civilian to receive The Congressional Medal of Honor. My story takes place in my store which was the first Celebrity Resale Store in the country. Which in itself is a fascinating story


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