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Writers: 8 Alternatives to Magazine Markets

For a few years now, skeptics have been sounding the death knell for traditional print magazines. Now, I don't necessarily agree (and a glance at my income spreadsheet shows that there is still money to be made from magazines). But for the sake of diversification, I've been brainstorming about alternative writing markets. Here are just a few of the opportunities available to freelance writers: 1. Newsletters - Often newsletters use a writing style that's similar to a magazine, but it's usually shorter and more focused than a magazine. I have several newsletter clients right now, including a nonprofit organization and a leadership coach. Generally, you'd find this kinds of opportunities through networking rather than querying. 2. Mobile apps - I haven't explored mobile apps very much, but Michelle Rafter wrote a blog post all about getting into mobile news apps, and I know a few entrepreneurial writers who've partnered with a developer to create food or travel apps depending on their area of expertise. (UPDATE: check out this guest post about creating content for iPhone apps.) 3. Greeting cards - This is another area that I haven't fully explored, but I'm told it can pay pretty well. There are lots of online resources for writers who want to break into greeting card markets, including this one. 4. eBooks - I self-published an ebook about breaking into online writing markets, but there are tons of other topics that might be worth on eBook. From my experience, the key is finding a topic that has a built-in audience and hasn't been done to death. 5. Essay anthologies - According to a panel I attended at ASJA earlier this year, anthologies are dead. But I know one writer who's sold five essays to anthologies just this year, so clearly there are still some opportunities out there. Check the websites of Chicken Soup for the Soul, Cup of Comfort, or Google terms like "essay anthology" and "call for submissions." Sometimes you can also hear about upcoming anthologies on writer's forums or social media sites. 6. Catalogues - As part of my copywriting work, I've written product descriptions for several retail companies. However, some companies now put out what's called a "magalogue:" a hybrid catalogue and magazine that takes a more editorial approach rather than trying to sell, sell, sell. Again, networking is often your ticket to these kinds of assignments. 7. Websites - Writing opportunities abound online, both for the web version of traditional publications and for standalone web publications. I compiled a directory over 40 freelance-friendly websites and put it into an eBook. You can also find websites that buy freelance content by doing some digging around the internet. 8. Radio - Radio stations, particularly NPR, purchase essays and other stories that would appeal to listeners. I haven't pursued this market, but I know several writers who have. Fellow writers: have you explored any of these markets? Or are there other writing opportunities we should know about? Do tell!
Flickr photo courtesy dianagavrilita

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Writers: 8 Alternatives to Magazine Markets + sources