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The Pros and Cons of Writing Magazine and Newspaper Articles

Updated on May 17, 2016

Getting High on the Byline

There is nothing quite like getting a byline in a magazine if you are a writer. If you don’t feel that high then check your pulse because you may not be breathing.

The first byline I earned had me glowing for days, so I understand.

And I think all of you understand as well, whether you have experienced it or are still dreaming of it.

My first byline was in a small regional magazine. I can’t imagine what it would be like to have a byline in a national publication like “Better Homes and Gardens” or “The New Yorker.” And then if we factor in the money….fifty bucks for a small magazine….five-hundred or more for the big boys…well, let’s just say it is understandable why so many writers seek that particular brass ring.

But…..

There’s always a but, isn’t there?

For those of you who are considering chasing this cash cow, I think it might be helpful to take a look at the cons as well as the pros. Having all the facts is helpful, right?

So what do you want first, the good news or the bad?

Let’s start with the good and get all you optimists out of the way.

Start with local publications
Start with local publications | Source

The Good News About Writing for Magazines and Newspapers

Anybody who is in freelance work, especially artistically, knows that it comes with all the insecurity and the ups and downs. It's a really frightening life.

Alessandro Nivola

We should start with money because, well, money talks and b.s. walks.

There is money to be made writing for magazines. Even small publications pay thirty to fifty bucks per article, and over time that can add up. Get a few of those published each month and you have a good supplemental income. If you are just starting out my first word of advice is to start small. Actually, you have very little choice in the matter. The major publications won’t consider you because you are unknown, so start with local and state publications and move your way up the food chain. Once you have moved up that food chain, then the major publications will pay attention to you, and they will pay anywhere from five-hundred to a couple thousand dollars for quality work.

And that leads us to the next pro in this discussion, namely moving up the food chain. Getting a byline is huge for a freelance writer, and each byline adds to your platform and your credibility. It may seem like no big deal getting published by an online publication few have heard about, but the reality is that every byline further establishes you as a serious writer who has game. Rack up enough small bylines and you move up the ladder of success. Build your platform one small byline at a time and pretty soon your platform is standing tall and can be seen for miles.

Writing for magazines also teaches you to write query letters. It helps you to learn how to deal with editors. It expands your networking skills and makes you a name in the writing business.

Writing for mags (or newspapers) is also a great stepping stone for book writing in the future. Agents and publishers are much more impressed with writers who have credentials, and credentials are all about bylines.

And, finally, writing for magazines increases your creativity and helps you to improve your writing skills.

I’m sure there are other pros to this discussion (like business expense deductions on your tax forms), but that’s enough to get you started. Now let’s move on to the bad news.

Move up to state and regional publications
Move up to state and regional publications | Source

The Cons of Writing for Magazines and Newspapers

Writing in English is the most ingenious torture ever devised for sins committed in previous lives. The English reading public explains the reason why.

James Joyce

Let’s begin this section with some brutal truth: If you can’t handle rejection then stop reading right now.

This is a numbers game, and you are going to have your query letters rejected often. If you have thin skin then don’t bother trying this freelance pursuit. It will crush your spirit and we don’t want that.

Secondly, starting out is tough. It took me eight months to get my first acceptance, and three more months to get my second. In other words, don’t quit your day job and assume you will make a living doing this. You’ll starve if you do and you’ll only have your passion for writing to keep you warm.

Thirdly, magazine editors are notoriously slow and inconsistent about paying writers. Many mags only send out checks twice each year. You need to learn how to make a spreadsheet and keep track of your proposals, acceptances and completed projects, and quite often you need to learn how to chase down a payment.

Fourthly, although it is true that good money can be made writing for magazines, what many people don’t seem to realize is that you have to keep writing to keep making income. This isn’t like writing books where you get royalties three times per year. With mags, if you don’t write you don’t earn. Resting on your laurels will put you in the bread line fairly quickly.

Lastly, as a freelance writer, you are responsible for paying taxes, something many writers don’t seem to comprehend. Let’s say you have a great year writing for magazines. You make ten-thousand bucks and you are on your way to stardom….just remember that come April 15th, you owe taxes on that income. Believe me when I tell you that lump sum tax payments are a real slap in the face if you aren’t expecting it.

Then you can go national
Then you can go national | Source

Are you considering writing for magazines?

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I Could Go on but Why Further Discourage You?

I have a fear of poverty in old age. I have this vision of myself living in a skip and eating cat food. It's because I'm freelance, and I've never had a proper job. I don't have a pension, and my savings are dwindling. I always thought someone would just come along and look after me.

Jenny Eclair

The point is not to discourage you but rather to open your eyes to the reality of the situation. I have no regrets about my experience. I racked up some bylines and they have helped me over time. I made some money and I’ll never turn down the green…but….

I would still be pitching ideas today except for one truth: I don’t want to have to pitch ideas to editors for the next twenty years. I would rather take my chances writing books in hopes that I hit the big time that way. The idea of sending a query letter to some snot-nosed editor when I’m eighty-five just does not appeal to me. If it appeals to you then I say go for it!

I think there is great value in writing for magazines, and newspapers, and I think the pros far outweigh the cons. Just go into it with your eyes wide-open. I have a friend on HubPages who started out with an online series of articles about Boomer Lake, Oklahoma, and she has parlayed that into two weekly newspaper columns, so success can be had if you work at it.

2015 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

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    • DeborahNeyens profile image

      Deborah Neyens 2 years ago from Iowa

      Some other disadvantages are not being able to write exactly what you want to write about and having to adjust your voice to fit the style of the particular publication. Would I choose to write an article about challenges faced by business owners in the septic and sewer industry? No, probably not, but I will do it if someone is going to pay me $150 for an 800-word newspaper article. But then an advantage: I learn something about a business I've never even thought about before.

    • Janine Huldie profile image

      Janine Huldie 2 years ago from New York, New York

      Bill, love that you broke this down here for both the good and the bad. I have recently started to branch out to magazines myself and have won some and lost some. You are so right about having a thick skin and even recently was accepted and then had another person who was owed a fair bump me from my original acceptance. That one stung more then I imagined it could, but I picked myself up, dusted myself off and moved on - even as hard as it was. But still thank you for your brutal honesty here and truly appreciate it. Have a wonderful Wednesday now!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Great addition to the topic, Deb, and a valid one. I actually turned down $100 from a gun freak magazine....they wanted me to do an article on freedom to bear arms and I just couldn't do it. :)

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Janine, good for you for trying this. I had no idea you were doing this. Best wishes on this endeavor. I hope the rejections diminish in number soon.

      Happy Hump Day my friend.

    • pgiblett profile image

      Peter B. Giblett 2 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      A very well put together article and very sound advice. One of the challenges in my professional area is that most magazines do not pay (and never have). Some years ago I decided not to write for them if they would not pay me. Not always sure that was the best decision, but have stuck with it.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you for your perspective, phiblett. I think working for nothing early on when one is trying to become established can be a good thing, but I sure wouldn't do it for very long.

    • breakfastpop profile image

      breakfastpop 2 years ago

      I always keep in mind that "Gone With the Wind" was rejected many times. Voted up, useful, interesting and awesome.

    • DeborahNeyens profile image

      Deborah Neyens 2 years ago from Iowa

      Good for you for sticking with your guns, Bill. (Sorry, I just couldn't resist that one.) : )

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 2 years ago from Central Florida

      I've considered querying magazines. I think what's holding me back is the income is not steady and, as you say, payout isn't immediate. Many mags pay upon publication, which can be months down the road. I know many freelance writers are successful in writing for mags (Carol Tice and Linda Formichelli are two I can think of off the top of my head). They've been doing it long enough that the editors of mags they write for regularly will often come to them if they think a topic is a good fit, but they both say they have to pitch more often than not.

      I think my "pitch" efforts are better spent looking for steady work with local clients who have an ongoing need for a writer.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Pop, that's definitely a good one to remember. Most, if not all, of the great writers were originally rejected.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Nice one, Deb. I might have written the article but they wanted an NRA slant to it and I just couldn't do it. For me, money is not the god of the universe, and I've never needed $100 that badly.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      It's not for everyone, Sha, and I respect the fact that you know your area of expertise and stay with it. I would be a crazy man if I did that for a living..constant queries for a gig, delayed payments, then query some more....no thank you.

    • sallybea profile image

      Sally Gulbrandsen 2 years ago from Norfolk

      Excellent read and some great advice. This is definitely something which interests me. Thanks Billy

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Sally, I have always believed your niche is perfect for periodicals. All you need to do is query those magazines that specialize in crafts...spend a good amount of time crafting the perfect query letter....and then start emailing the mags. Good luck...I hope you do this soon.

    • B. Leekley profile image

      Brian Leekley 2 years ago from Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA

      Which is more likely to make more money for a beginner, to submit 100 articles to local, regional, and state print and online periodicals or to post 100 articles of comparable content, length, and quality over the same amount of time to HubPages?

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Brian, that's a great question, and one I'm going to include in the Mailbag on Monday, but the quick answer is by submitting to magazines...no doubt about it. One mag payment would be more than you would make at HP in several months. Thanks for the question.

    • bradmasterOCcal profile image

      bradmasterOCcal 2 years ago from Orange County California

      billybuc

      I have to preface my comment by saying, no one is going to like it.

      I find the thirty to fifty dollars for an article an insult, this is 2015, and not 1915.

      A friend of ours with a great talent tried to five years to make a go of voice over work. There are probably tens of thousands or more of people that are in the Voice field. Many are really talented but the industry is not really about voice over, but of commercials.

      As any of these types of professions, if you don't know anyone then you line up at the trough. There are a couple of online services that broker talent with payers.

      They provide a script, the talent records their attempt on an mp3 file, and upload it. It can take from minutes to hours to get your mp3 file finished. In many cases, the client can take it as is, but they may only pay twenty five or fifty dollars.

      Like Real Estate Sales you have to do ninety percent of your work for free, and hope that the one paying attempt makes it worth it. Sadly, these Voice clients are getting hundreds, thousands or more without paying more than chump change.

      Yet, a Voice done by one of the million dollar actors can cost them tens of thousands of dollars, for the same quality work as they are paying fifty dollars to the no names.

      Compared to the pay on hp, I suppose that fifty dollars is a couple months of income.

      My point is that it appears that the magazines are using the same business paradigm.

      end Rant

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Brad, I don't know why that would upset some people. It's the truth. Supply and demand, my friend. You know it as well as I do. There are too many people out there who need money badly, and that means they will work for peanuts, which of course drives the price down, and pretty soon everyone is working for ridiculous wages.....and I don't see it getting any better soon.

      Thanks for your "right on" perspective.

    • profile image

      Sparklea 2 years ago

      Bill I am out for an appointment and just read this on my i phone. Will comment later at home. Excellent voted up and awesome. I'll be back later. Blessings Sparklea/Lea

    • Homeplace Series profile image

      William Leverne Smith 2 years ago from Hollister, MO

      Very useful and accurate information. I published articles on business acumen in over 80 magazines over 10 years, "a while back." Very satisfying, and decent month. But, it takes considerable time and energy... not to mention the taxes, etc. There are still MANY small niche magazines that work well here. IF that is what you want to do. As with any sales job, though, you must be very consistent in pitching, and... the spread sheet is essential, as Bill noted. You can get lost in this business quickly! ;-) Thanks for sharing, again!! ;-)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Lea! I hope the appointment goes well and I'll talk to you later.

    • sallybea profile image

      Sally Gulbrandsen 2 years ago from Norfolk

      That is very nice of your Billy thank you. I intend to do something about it, sooner rather than later. I really do value your support, thank you.

      Sally

    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 2 years ago from Oklahoma

      Great article. I definitely have problems with rejection, and it has hampered my career in the periodical forum,

      That is one of the things I like about blogging. You can just write it when you want and get it out there.

      That being said, I wish I could have the thrill of appearing in a magazine.

    • MarleneB profile image

      Marlene Bertrand 2 years ago from Northern California, USA

      You are so right about keeping a spreadsheet, otherwise, trying to figure out who paid and who still owes you money could become a second job.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Bill, I appreciate you sharing your experiences in this matter. It's helpful to hear from someone who has been there and done that.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      You are very welcome, Sally. Any old time. :)

      Bill

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thanks for sharing the useful advice and analysis, Bill. This hub will be very helpful for someone who wants to write for magazines.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Larry, for sure you are not alone. Many writers I know have the same problems with rejection, and it hampers their growth in this business. Best wishes to you and thanks for sharing your experience.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Very true, Marlene. I know you understand this, so thank for the voice of experience.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I hope so, Alicia. If it is then it was worth writing it. Thank you!

    • clivewilliams profile image

      Clive Williams 2 years ago from Nibiru

      "You’ll starve if you do and you’ll only have your passion for writing to keep you warm." that is one thing i thing may writers are accustomed to...never thought about writing for magazines though....maybe i will give it a shot. Thanks bill

    • Samantha Sinclair profile image

      Samantha Sinclair 2 years ago from North Carolina

      Bill & Brad,

      Publications can only pay what their budgets allow. If that's $30 per article, that's it. If they've already used up their freelance budget for the month (or quarter) they cannot use your work. It's not personal. And, remember, the full-time writers at the publication aren't exactly making millions either.

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 2 years ago from SW England

      Realistic as ever, bill, and that's what we need.

      I was so excited when I received my first notification that one of my letters had been accepted by a women's magazine, then a couple more later on. I had two articles with photos accepted by 'Somerset Life' which was thrilling. Amazingly they paid well (for photos too) and fairly promptly so I was lucky. I suppose the thrill of that just spurred me on.

      I never assume that success is round the corner and I write for the pure pleasure it gives me so success is a bonus.

      Keep on telling it like it is, bill! We need your down-to-earth attitude to make sure our feet stay on the ground and our heads out of the clouds.

      Have a great evening!

      Ann

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks Samanthia. If I made it sound personal I certainly didn't mean to do so. It's all about supply and demand...writing is a business and as such is affected by the law of supply and demand.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Well maybe you should, Clive. You have as good a chance as any in this crazy freelance world.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks, Ann, and I love hearing success stories like yours, no matter whether they are big or small. We all need to know it is possible to "hit the big time" as we go about our days of writing.

      Have a splendid evening my friend.

      Bill

    • Samantha Sinclair profile image

      Samantha Sinclair 2 years ago from North Carolina

      Sorry, I was expanding on what you said- rejections and low pay may have nothing to do with the quality of your work, but has everything to do with the money the publication has available.

    • denise.w.anderson profile image

      Denise W Anderson 2 years ago from Bismarck, North Dakota

      Wow, this is an eye-opener! I have been looking at the possibility of writing for magazines. When I am in the waiting room browsing the mags on the corner tables, I think to myself, "I could have written that." In order for me to do it, though, I would have to get tough with myself, and I don't know if I am ready for that.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Oh, okay...thanks Samantha. I was a bit confused, but that's pretty normal for me. :)

    • Ruchira profile image

      Ruchira 2 years ago from United States

      Your pros and cons were well balanced and I don't deny them. I was asked by my local magazine to write for them, but it the editing of crucial lines that ticks me off. They don't want to publish things that could put them in the limelight thus, the censorship makes me feel as if I am choking since I am saying something while I am thinking something...

      Voted up as useful, Bill

      xoxo

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Denise, I do think you are good enough to be published, but there is another side to that business, and that other side stops many writers. I hope you find the answer. :)

    • kalinin1158 profile image

      Lana Zakinov 2 years ago from California

      Definitely something to think about! I haven't plunged into the mag writing world yet, will see how the book goes, but there's some serious insecurity that comes with freelancing. I do wish we writers didn't have to chase jobs and publications. Thanks for sharing your experience Bill!

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 2 years ago from Southern Illinois

      It must be great to see an article you've written appear in a magazine. Thank's again Bill..

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 2 years ago from The Beautiful South

      This reminds me that before I ever came here and started even calling myself a writer that I sent a magazine a couple of funny stories in a few years and they got told; but not to my credit! I guess it was possible someone else had the same stories....truth is though I couldn't even tell you for sure which magazine so I guess it didn't mean that much to me...what can you do? I'd have never dreamed of a copyright then. Live and learn; huh?

      ^+

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I understand, Ruchira. There is no doubt that can be a problem regarding writing freedom. Thanks for sharing those thoughts.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Kalinin, there is no doubt it is difficult. And it is getting more difficult daily and more and more "writer wannabees" flood the market. Good luck to you on your journey.

    • bdegiulio profile image

      Bill De Giulio 2 years ago from Massachusetts

      Great topic Bill and one that is close to my heart. I would love to write travel articles for a magazine and someday I will pursue this. It's always good to know the pros and cons before heading into a venture. The thing that I don't like about this idea is the constantly having to chase work. Ideally it would be great to get a gig writing a weekly or monthly travel column like what Deb has done. Great advice, I am paying attention :)

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Wow I sure learned a lot. I thought by line was when they said goodbye to you.

    • heidithorne profile image

      Heidi Thorne 2 years ago from Chicago Area

      Always glad you share the reality check and gut check with the writing community! I've not wandered into the paid magazine/newspaper arena, but have contributed to them over the years (and edited one for many years). Like you, I think I'd rather write books and blogs, too. Voted up, useful and definitely sharing!

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 2 years ago from southern USA

      Wonderful article, Bill. You have set it all out as clear as a bell for all to understand what they are getting into, good and bad. This is a useful article from which many will benefit. I have always thought about magazines, and realize you are right about starting locally and then getting the experience under one's belt.

      Peace and blessings always

    • watergeek profile image

      watergeek 2 years ago

      I'm still exploring this realm. I've published for bylines in three magazines so far - two paid, the other volunteer. The 1st paid $150 and the 2nd one $70 per article (an ongoing assignment). They were all articles in my area of strength, which is sustainability, and which makes them interesting to write. But in order to continue, I've had to acquire a part time job, just done. I can already feel how much more relaxed and confident I'll be, once basic living expenses are met. The confidence will translate into more daring query letters.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      It is pretty cool, Ruby, but now I have bigger fish to fry. Thank you, my friend.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Live and learn for sure, Jackie. Copyright laws protect us as soon as we publish something, unless it is stated that you won't get a byline on it...which is probably what happened to you. Thanks for sharing that.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Bill, in all honesty, that's the only way I would approach it. A travel column for a local newspaper or mag.....The Boston Traveler, or something like that. I know you can do it, buddy.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Eric, it's a damned good thing I posted this for clarity. LOL You always make me laugh and I thank you for that.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Heidi, maybe it's a younger man's game, but I have no desire to be chasing editors for the next twenty years. I'm going to make it big with a novel or die trying. :) Thanks, Chicago!

    • travmaj profile image

      travmaj 2 years ago from australia

      All very true and most informative.

      One of the most important factors is knowing and understanding the market you are writing for, the style, the genre, the tone -

      Also respecting the word count. It's easy to ramble on and so easy to be rejected.

      I do okay but can't say I make a fortune - and much is changing - newspapers/magazines often relying on online content - all most interesting.

    • old albion profile image

      Graham Lee 2 years ago from Lancashire. England.

      Hi Bill. Another pearl of wisdom here. Thanks for your efforts and encouragement of others.

      Graham.

    • Venkatachari M profile image

      Venkatachari M 2 years ago from Hyderabad, India

      Here is some useful and excellent advice to writers. But, as already mentioned by you, it is not so easy to get to them. They have their own obligations and mind settings and it is very difficult to get even their attention.

    • Sparklea profile image

      Sparklea 2 years ago from Upstate New York

      Good Morning Bill: On my way to Barnes & Noble to read and write and later to go to the Divergent/Insurgent marathon...can't wait! Read both books...the author wrote this trilogy while in college! I read every first person book I can get my hands on. Veronica Roth is an excellent writer!

      LOVED this hub, great, perfect advice, as I have been down the road of magazine writing...EVERYTHING you mention I have been there...especially the rejection slips! I agree with Deborah, and I learned, after quite some time, that it is TRUE that a great disadvantage of writing for magazines is that you have to fit your voice to the style of the magazine. I remember having to drive to Elmira and interview people that ran a gift shop for a certain magazine...I also wrote for a couple publications where I had to go to a zoo and interview people. They never kept their promise to pay me...after all the legwork, gas money, and writing about things that were not my genre, I am doing what you are doing...concentrating on writing a book with what I want to say and share with others from my heart.

      Yes, I did publish quite a few articles, which has resulted in a good Resume' in case an agent would want to see it...and it has gained me experience in writing query letters...

      For any hub friends who want to really pursue writing for magazines, I found it very beneficial to attend writers' conferences. I was able to get 15 minute interviews with editors face to face, then follow up immediately and send them a manuscript if they said they would look at one. As a result I published two articles in Celebrate Life magazine which paid $50 a page...all because I met the editor in person and was able to make an impression.

      BUT, onward now to working on a book! Voted up and awesome and your hub is splendid as it is packed with vital information on magazine publishing. God bless, Sparklea PS: I will definitely be in touch with you this weekend regarding the chapters you sent me.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Faith! There is gold in them thar hills, but you have to work hard for it. If a writer understands that going in then the journey won't be nearly as hard.

      blessings always my friend

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Watergeek, if you can get a column in a newspaper, or a recurring series of articles in a mag, then you are sitting fat and sassy. Something to shoot for, yes?

      Thanks for the visit. It's always nice to see you.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Maj...I always appreciate hearing from the voice of experience.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      It's my pleasure, Graham. I appreciate you stopping by. Hope all is well in your little world.

      Bill

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Venkatachari M, all very true my friend. There is nothing easy about this process. It takes determination and willingness to overcome, and then, still, there are no guarantees.

      Thank you for your input.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Lea, I love it when writers share their experience as you have just done. Thank you for that and I concur,writer's conferences are very important and helpful. I haven't been to one yet, but I have heard from others how useful they are. Hopefully I'll get to one this summer and I'll let you know my impressions.

      The new book is calling me so I'll cut this short. Have a splendid day, my friend, and as always, thank you!

      Bill

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Isaac Weithers 2 years ago from The Caribbean

      I like writing magazine articles because they're mostly non-fiction. I had several articles published, before I was rejected for being motivational when they wanted instructional. It was an education, though. Thanks for this lesson including the "brutal truth."

    • social thoughts profile image

      social thoughts 2 years ago from New Jersey

      Thank you for so much information! It gives me a lot to consider. I'm still going to try freelancing.

    • pagesvoice profile image

      Dennis L. Page 2 years ago from New York/Pennsylvania border

      You make some really good points and give the reader a candid look at the good, bd and ugly side of magazine and newspaper writing. There's a euphoric feeling the first time a writer sees their story in a magazine and newspaper. I remember so well seeing my name in a national magazine. I thought my heart would beat right out of my chest. It isn't the money that motivates me to write. Rather, the emotional high in knowing people actually find my articles interesting. That, to me, beats any paycheck.

    • pagesvoice profile image

      Dennis L. Page 2 years ago from New York/Pennsylvania border

      You make some really good points and give the reader a candid look at the good, bd and ugly side of magazine and newspaper writing. There's a euphoric feeling the first time a writer sees their story in a magazine and newspaper. I remember so well seeing my name in a national magazine. I thought my heart would beat right out of my chest. It isn't the money that motivates me to write. Rather, the emotional high in knowing people actually find my articles interesting. That, to me, beats any paycheck.

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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Dora, I like that you have tasted success in this. Thank you for sharing your experience with others.

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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Kailey, you are a good writer and I hope you do give freelancing a fair try. Best wishes to you my young friend.

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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Pages, you just hit the nail on the head. The money comes and goes, but those emotional highs will stay with us for quite some time. Thanks for sharing those true words.

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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      And thanks again, Pages.

    • Raine Law Yuen profile image

      Raine Law Yuen 2 years ago from Cape Town

      Thanks for this wonderful informative article.

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      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      This is useful, Bill. It would be interesting to hear some direct quotes from positive and negative feedback you've heard over the years. It may help others not take things so personally.

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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Raine, you are very welcome. Thank you for stopping by.

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      James Bowden 2 years ago from Long Island, New York

      Bill:

      You may be able to guess, or maybe not. But after I read this great article on mag & newspaper writing. I actually have a question to ask from this read, for one of your next mailbag series sequels.

      And you know I started writing for magazines back about ten years ago. I wrote the Query letters. Received the nicely worded rejections, but never the less - rejections.

      And then about 8 months later had an article published about Lyme Disease in a small publication back in June 2000. I found this publication in the Writers Market handbook. It was called the Readers Review and was based out of Burlington, Iowa at the time.

      And I remembered that big smirk on my face when I received my first fifty bucks for that first Byline. Man was I happier than a clam. Thanks for rekindling an old, but fond first time publishing memory. Loved this article - 2 Thumbs up! (; Jim

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      Nithya Venkat 2 years ago from Dubai

      Useful and informative article. It is always better to know what to expect when you write for a Magazine or a Newspaper and your article gives a clear idea about what to expect. Thank you for sharing this.

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      Audrey Hunt 2 years ago from Nashville Tn.

      Thank you Bill for this useful hub. I've often wondered what the pros and cons are for writing articles for magazines and newspapers. Great information which I'll be sharing.

      You're the best!

      Audrey

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      John Hansen 2 years ago from Queensland Australia

      Good article and advice Bill. I am glad you didn't compromise your beliefs to write for the gun mag. Years ago I regularly submitted "letters to the editor" and poetry to newspapers. I also submitted a couple of stories to magazines but received rejection letters so was discouraged. I am a much better writer now so I am considering trying again. I recently had my story "Just a Humble Hero" published in an anthology "We Go On" however and received my free copy in the mail yesterday. I am thrilled to actually see something I have written published in a book I can hold in my hand, available for the public to read, and have a byline.

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      Mary Craig 2 years ago from New York

      I think the main thing here, as you said, is how good it looks and major publications pay attention to you. Having experience always gives you a leg up and having a magazine article to your credit it considered experience of course! Anything we write and get published is another plus one.

      Deb's bird watching was (and is) truly inspirational. She certainly deserves a newspaper column!

      Thanks for more sound advice my friend.

      Voted up, useful, awesome, and interesting.

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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks Flourish. Are you referring to the rejections from editors? I could do that....not a bad idea at all, my friend.

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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Jim, thanks for sharing your experience. It really is cool to get that first check and see that first byline. I'm not a young man any longer, though, and constantly sending queries out and not having security is not my gig any longer.

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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Vellur. If I accomplished that then this article hit the bullseye.

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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks Audrey! I'm glad I answered some questions you had. There are singing and music mags, you know....right up your alley.

      love,

      Bill

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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      John, congratulations on that anthology. You have a right to be thrilled. I suspect you could be published many more times if you chose to steer down that path. I hope you do.

      Thank you and Happy Weekend!

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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks Mary! Deb should be inspiration for anyone who is considering the magazine and newspaper game. She is a walking, talking success story, and it all started here on HubPages!

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      manatita44 2 years ago from london

      Excellent, helpful and positive article. Best wishes to all the promising writers here.

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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Manatita. All writers need best wishes and positive vibes for sure.

    • Hannah David Cini profile image

      Hannah David Cini 2 years ago from Nottingham

      This was such a helpful article. I haven't written for a magazine yet but I have considered it and there were some very useful points here.

      I think despite all the cons there is something classic and traditional about being published in a newspaper.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Hello, Hannah. Welcome to my site and thanks for the following. I agree with you, there is something classic and traditional and that has always appealed to me.

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      Denise McGill 2 years ago from Fresno CA

      Bill,

      I loved this. Comprehensive and informative. You should know that illustrators feel the exact same frustration. You send out artwork only to be rejected everywhere. Oh and the joy of that first publication... awesome. I find that some children's magazine publishers pay very little and some work years in advance. Last year I received a check for a piece of artwork that I "sold" two years earlier. And they pay so little I found I have to write the article AND illustrate it if I want to make it worth my time! Like you, I don't want to be doing that till I'm 85 either.

      Blessings,

      Denise

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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Denise. Maybe if I were in my thirties I wouldn't mind playing that game, but I'm much too old now. I'm betting the pot on getting published and having a best-seller. At least that way I'm doing what I love to do.

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      Mona Sabalones Gonzalez 2 years ago from Philippines

      Dear Billybuc, you are so right, it is VERY hard to get published in the USA. When I was young and pursuing my MS Journalism degree in Boston, I thought I could get published in the US having written professionally in the Philippines. WRONG. Someone who makes it in the US has REALLY paid their dues. It's much easier being published in a third world country like the Philippines. Just the fact that you have been published in the US after just 8 months is already very impressive. I think you should keep it up. You are a wonderful mentor, and if you write about your lifestyle in The New Yorker, I bet someone is going to find it and feature it. Otherwise, their editorial staff would have to be blind. You have so many hubs that I think can be reworked for the larger publications over there. So very, very many.

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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Mona, thank you for your kind words. I don't have any doubt I could be published. The thing is, it is a constant process to keep the money coming in, and I just don't want to wade through that process for the next twenty years. Besides, my love is in writing novels.

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      Deb Hirt 2 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      I actually found the con in that rather quickly, Billy. With this economy, not everyone can afford newspaper ads, so my second column was short lived. The paper had to drop thirty pages for the week due to the lack of advertisement. As the old saying goes, last one in, first one out.

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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I'm sorry to hear that, Deb, but I have no doubt another opportunity will open up. Once you get established then finding gigs isn't nearly as hard to go. Good luck and thanks for sharing that.

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      Thelma Alberts 2 years ago from Germany

      I have written twice in the European Filipino Expat Online Magazine originated in The Netherlands but I know I wrote it for free unless they publish my writings in the hard cover magazine which I hope will still be. I wrote about being a Filipino Expat in Germany. I was excited though just to see my writings in the magazine online. Thanks for sharing this useful and informative hub Billy. Take care!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thelma, thank you for sharing your experience. It is a thrill, isn't it? :)

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      Victor W. Kwok 2 years ago from Hawaii

      Thanks for sharing, Bill! Sounds like something to consider.

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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you vkwok. There is money to be made out there for a good writer, and you are a good writer.

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      Glimmer Twin Fan 2 years ago

      I think it would be wonderful to get an article in a magazine or a newspaper even with the cons. It got me thinking about a question for your mailbag. I think I have mentioned to you before about regrets about not using my name when I started here. What are your thoughts on using a real name to write versus a screen name/alias not only here at HP, but in all forms of writing? And apologies if this has been asked before.

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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Glimmer, I love the question. Thank you! I'll answer it this Monday.

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      Glenn Stok 21 months ago from Long Island, NY

      I think you really covered all the bases with what's necessary and what's important in order to write successfully for magazines and newspapers.

      Back in the 1980’s I wrote several articles that were published in a couple of computer trade magazines. They paid well, about $100 to $200 per article.

      Many times I never knew when they would be printed. I was paid for the rights, and the rest was up to the editors to use it or not. Once I was browsing the index of a magazine to find what I might want to read, and suddenly noticed my name on a title. It was published, and they never told me.

      I enjoyed those days and I should have kept it up. But my writing had changed it purpose, writing mostly user manuals and instructions for products I had created. Then when the Internet came along, I got back into writing articles, only this time online.

      You got me thinking that I should consider trying magazine writing again. There was less competition in the 80’s though. And I wrote for magazines that had a niche with the development of home computers. But when we consider how we all have grown by writing on HubPages, we all have a lot going that can be applied to writing for printed media.

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      Bill Holland 21 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Glenn, thank you for confirming what I wrote here. It's always good to hear from people who have been there and done that. You might give it a try again. I've been published by mags so I know it's possible for you. Best wishes.

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      Geri McClymont 15 months ago from Colorado

      Bill: Thanks for sharing the ins and outs of freelance writing based on your own experiences. I agree that it's important to not quit your day job until you're making enough as a freelancer to support yourself because, as you said, "you’ll only have your passion for writing to keep you warm." A very informative and also witty article, and very helpful to me and anyone who has recently entered the world of freelance writing.

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      Bill Holland 15 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Geri, it is my pleasure! If I can be of any help feel free to contact me. Good luck!

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