Writing Tip: Writing for Magazine Publications

Freelance Writing: Envisioning Your Reader Type


You may come up with successful market ideas through envisioning your audience for your article and then asking yourself what magazines or newspapers the reader might read. Envision the reader by asking questions regarding your subject idea:

Who will identify with the subject of my profile article? (People in his age range, people in his profession, people of his religious denomination, people who have similar physical handicap, people of his race or color.) Who would be concerned by this event or information? (People in the geographical area, people who work in the industry that makes it, people who must buy the product involved.) Who would benefit? (Those who have access, people who invest money.) Who needs to know? (Those who teach related subjects, or impose related regulations.)

If you have already come up with some people who might be interested, there is no need to invite them all to dinner and read your article idea. They've already been rounded up, in the form of readership of magazines that are for individuals of certain ages, people with handicaps, people of certain religious beliefs, people who invest, people who teach, etc.  There's a publication for virtually any reader you can think of, and chances are it will not be on your neighborhood newsstand with Redbook and Playboy. What you see on the magazine rack makes up a tiny fraction of the overall magazine market. There are thousands of magazines you have never heard of, and nearly all of them buy editorial material from freelance writers.


Why Freelancers?

Companies that publish magazines have offices complete with the necessary gadgets to run a publishing company. So why don't they just hire a few full-time writers to write the magazine and leave it at that? Because buying material from freelance writers represents an incredible bargain for magazine publishers. They don't have to pay until they literally buy a story. Even a hundred staff writers can't possibly read all the books and magazines, watch all the TV programs, visit all the libraries, meet all the people, survive all the experiences, and come up with all the ideas that all the thousands of freelances have access to.

All it costs them is the expense of working on the ideas and manuscripts that do come in. Even when they do purchase a story, they save money. They pay only for what they get, not for your sick time or vacation time. They do not pay any insurance benefits for you. You never use their water cooler, or their heat or electricity or their phones. Rather than paying a staff writer to fly to California for a story, they just buy it from a freelance writer who's already in California. Instead of paying a staff writer to learn about canoes, they simply buy it from a freelance writer who's already an expert on canoes. This deal is very beautiful it borders on stealing, and you'd think editors will be embarrassed ever to complain about having to work with freelancers.