How To Break Into Freelance Magazine Writing

Are you looking for ways to get started as a freelance magazine writer? You’ve come to the right place. Here are 10 tips for how to break into this line of work:

1. Research and study the magazine industry to understand target audiences and publication styles.
2. Develop a strong portfolio of writing samples showcasing your expertise and versatility.
3. Tailor your article pitches to each magazine, highlighting the relevance of your ideas to their readers.
4. Network with editors and other writers to gain insights and potential referrals for writing opportunities.
5. Be persistent and resilient in pursuing freelance magazine writing, as success may take time and effort.

Make A List Of Magazines And News Sites That You’d Like To Write For

There are tons of magazines out there that are looking for freelance writers. You just need to find them and figure out who the editor is, what they’re looking for in a story, how much they pay for a story, and when they pay for a story.

Building a successful career in freelance magazine writing requires determination and avoiding common pitfalls. Learn about 10 things magazine writers can do to not get rejected to increase your chances of acceptance.

Make A List Of Magazines And News Sites You’d Like To Write For

Find out who the editors are by searching on Google or using LinkedIn (or another social networking website).

If you have gone through their website and can’t find any information on who edits it then send an introductory email saying how much you love their magazine/news site/whatever! A lot of editors will respond back with an email saying “Thanks!” or “We don’t take unsolicited submissions.” 

It’s worth contacting them anyway because it will only take five minutes out of your day. Plus if one day they do end up needing someone then at least they’ll remember you! 

And then maybe someday down the line when we all meet up at our reunion party I’ll be able to say “Remember me?” and everyone will laugh but really mean it because we all know each other so well from being friends over this long period time now haha!

Get Feedback From Editors And Publishers On Your Writing Samples

Ask for feedback on your writing samples.

Get feedback on your writing samples from editors and publishers.

Get feedback on your writing samples from other writers.

Get feedback on your writing samples from other people you know, like friends or family members who are good at grammar (or who are just good at listening to you complain about something).

Writing for magazines can be a rewarding journey, but it helps to learn from the experiences of others. Explore our article on Magazine Writing 101: Things I Wish I Knew Two Years Ago for valuable insights from seasoned writers.

Create A Short Pitch For A Story To Sell It to Them

If there’s one thing you can’t afford to be when pitching a story to an editor, it’s boring. Editors are inundated with requests from writers with ideas they’d like to write about and they have limited resources and time. The best way to stand out is by creating a compelling pitch that will hook them right away and make them want to read more.

This is where your research into the magazine comes in handy: what kind of stories does it publish? What sort of tone does it take? How long do its pieces tend to be? Is there anything unique about this particular issue or topic that would make your article stand out among others in the same genre?

Get Articles Written By Other Writers Published In Your Target Magazines.

You can get your foot in the door by targeting magazines that publish content written by other writers. This is a great way to get started because it’s low-risk and there’s always the chance that you’ll hit it off with one of their editors or publishers, who might be willing to work with you on future projects. 

To find these opportunities, go ahead and check out the website of your target publication(s). Look for the following things:

The submission guidelines: These should include information about who to contact if you want to submit an article and what kinds of articles they’re looking for (or not looking for). If there isn’t a section labeled “Submissions,” then don’t worry; just keep reading as we’ll cover how to contact them later on in this post when we talk about reaching out directly via email!

The submission form: The form will ask you what kind of article you’d like published and may require additional details such as author bio information and links back to other pieces written by yourself online (like this blog post!).

Email addresses: You’ll probably see at least three different email addresses here: 1) The editor(s), 2) The publisher(s), 3) Managing Editor(s). 

You should also look for 4) Art Director(s) here too because sometimes artists are involved in creating illustrations or photos used within each issue print run so they might need some extra help getting their job done quickly enough before deadline day arrives.”

Crafting compelling magazine articles takes skill and technique. Dive into our guide on How to Write Better Magazine Articles: 15 Proven Techniques to enhance your writing prowess and captivate readers.

Submit Your Work To A Magazine, Either By Sending Them A Query Letter Or By Emailing The Editor Directly

If you’re looking to make a living as a magazine writer, the best way to get started is by sending your work directly to editors at publishing houses.

This is usually done using one of two methods: by submitting a query letter or emailing the editor directly.

The first step in sending a query letter (aka cover letter) is creating an outline that outlines what your article will be about and why it’s important; 

Manage The Process Of Selling Stories, Whether Through Pitches Or Submissions.

Once you’ve got a story idea in mind, your next step is to pitch it. This can be a nerve-wracking process for many writers. But remember that this is not just about selling your ideas it’s also about building relationships with editors, who may become important contacts for you down the line. Here are some tips for making sure that happens:

Be persistent but polite. If an editor doesn’t bite on your first pitch or submission (and they won’t always), don’t take it personally and keep trying until they do. Editors appreciate persistence; they know how hard freelance writers work to get their stories noticed and published, 

So if you’re nice about it, chances are good that if she rejects your story once or twice, she’ll eventually say yes!

Be concise and professional in all correspondence with editors. Don’t use textspeak or another informal language in emails; write formally instead of informally (for example, use “I” rather than “u”). Write short sentences so they’re easy to read; include a cover letter when submitting materials via email too!

Finding the right markets for your freelance magazine writing is crucial for success. Discover valuable tips in our article on How to Find the Best Magazine Markets and explore opportunities that align with your interests.

Write Query Letters That “Sell” The Editor On Your Story Idea

Query letters are a sales pitch. This is your chance to sell the editor on why they should pick up your story idea, and you need to be able to explain it in one or two paragraphs.

Include a brief bio of yourself and any relevant information about the story such as length, deadline, and whether you intend to work with a photographer or illustrator. Include a brief outline of the story so that the editor has an idea of what it will look like when it’s published (or better yet, attach an outline or short sample).

Keep In Touch With The Editors Of The Targeted Magazines And News Sites Who Buy Your Work

As a freelancer, you should keep in touch with the editors of the targeted magazines and news sites who buy your work. Don’t be afraid to ask for more assignments. If they like your writing, they’re likely to give it to you again and again. This is true even if you’re out of school and working full-time as an editor yourself (which is what I do).

It’s also a good idea to ask them for letters of recommendation whenever possible even if there isn’t anything specific that needs recommending at that moment! Writers need letters of recommendation all the time: 

When applying for jobs, grants, scholarships everything! So don’t hesitate to ask whenever it comes up even if it feels awkward or presumptuous at first glance (it doesn’t have to).

Read what other writers are doing in your field too, so that you can learn new things about this specific subject area.

It’s important to read what other writers in your field are doing as well. You don’t have to follow every writer on social media that would be overwhelming but you should add some of the best ones to your feed and see what they write about.

You can also look at their books, or sign up for their mailing lists. Or even just listen to interviews with them, like this one with Jessica Hagy (a former magazine editor) or this one with Joshua Waldman and Michael Lopp (two authors).

Mastering the art of magazine writing involves continuous improvement. Check out our list of 15 Tips for Better Magazine Writing to elevate your skills and create impactful articles that resonate with your audience.


The best way to break into freelance magazine writing is by building a network of contacts and pitching your work to them. 

You can do this by finding editors who are interested in your field of expertise, and then making sure they see what you have to offer through email or snail mail submissions. Once you’ve established a relationship with an editor or publisher, it will be easier for them to see what value you bring as an author and hopefully, they’ll want more from you!

Further Reading

Indeed – How to Find Freelance Magazine Writing Jobs: Explore tips and strategies for discovering freelance magazine writing opportunities on Indeed’s career advice section.

Make a Living Writing – 7 Great Ways to Break Into Freelance Writing: Discover seven effective methods to start a successful career in freelance writing on Make a Living Writing.

Freelance Writing – How to Break Into Magazine Writing: Learn valuable insights and steps to enter the world of magazine writing from experienced freelancers on Freelance Writing.


What are the essential skills for freelance magazine writers?

To succeed in freelance magazine writing, you need strong writing and research skills, an ability to meet deadlines, and a keen eye for storytelling.

How do I pitch my article ideas to magazines?

When pitching article ideas to magazines, tailor your pitches to the publication’s style, audience, and topics they typically cover. Craft a compelling query letter with a concise summary of your idea and why it’s relevant to their readers.

How can I improve my chances of getting published in magazines?

Improving your chances of publication involves studying the magazine’s guidelines, producing high-quality content, building relationships with editors, and persistently pitching your work.

What types of magazines should I target as a beginner freelance writer?

As a beginner, target niche magazines that align with your interests and expertise. These smaller publications often offer more accessible opportunities for new writers.

How can I build a strong portfolio for freelance magazine writing?

Start by writing for local publications or guest posting on blogs. As you gain experience, compile your published works into a portfolio to showcase your writing skills to potential clients or editors.