Updated date:

The Pros and Cons of Writing Magazine and Newspaper Articles

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

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

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

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.”

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

Comments

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on July 24, 2017:

Thank you Liam! To answer your question, I would start with the online magazines to build up your resume before trying the print magazines. Start at the bottom of the food chain and move up....it's the way it is usually done in this business, in this time.

Liam on July 24, 2017:

Well some nice insight about a dream career. My first comment would be that you didn't define "byline" and I realize that this article is geared toward a defined audience, but if someone came upon it and was unfamiliar with the language in the writer's profession, it might discourage them.

I did also wonder if you had any opinions on writing for print magazines vs the online format. I guess writing for a magazine would include the online content as well, but with the internet around, many writers are confused and a bit daunted.

Nice article: great organization, good - to the point diction, and interesting. You have a nice style that flows.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on February 13, 2016:

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

Geri McClymont on February 13, 2016:

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.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on August 13, 2015:

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.

Glenn Stok from Long Island, NY on August 13, 2015:

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.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on April 29, 2015:

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

Claudia Mitchell on April 29, 2015:

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.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on April 20, 2015:

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

Victor W. Kwok from Hawaii on April 19, 2015:

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

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on April 07, 2015:

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

Thelma Alberts from Germany and Philippines on April 07, 2015:

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!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on April 05, 2015:

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.

Deb Hirt from Stillwater, OK on April 04, 2015:

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.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on April 03, 2015:

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.

Mona Sabalones Gonzalez from Philippines on April 03, 2015:

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.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on April 01, 2015:

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.

Denise McGill from Fresno CA on April 01, 2015:

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

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on March 29, 2015:

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.

Hannah David Cini from Nottingham on March 28, 2015:

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.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on March 22, 2015:

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

manatita44 from london on March 22, 2015:

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

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on March 21, 2015:

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!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on March 21, 2015:

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!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on March 21, 2015:

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

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on March 21, 2015:

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

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on March 21, 2015:

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.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on March 21, 2015:

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

Mary Craig from New York on March 21, 2015:

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.

John Hansen from Queensland Australia on March 21, 2015:

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.

Audrey Hunt from Idyllwild Ca. on March 21, 2015:

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

Nithya Venkat from Dubai on March 20, 2015:

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.

James Bowden from Long Island, New York on March 20, 2015:

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

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on March 20, 2015:

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

FlourishAnyway from USA on March 20, 2015:

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.

Raine Law Yuen from Cape Town on March 20, 2015:

Thanks for this wonderful informative article.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on March 20, 2015:

And thanks again, Pages.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on March 20, 2015:

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.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on March 20, 2015:

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

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on March 20, 2015:

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

Dennis L. Page from New York/Pennsylvania border on March 20, 2015:

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.

Dennis L. Page from New York/Pennsylvania border on March 20, 2015:

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.

social thoughts from New York on March 19, 2015:

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

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on March 19, 2015:

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."

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on March 19, 2015:

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

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on March 19, 2015:

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.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on March 19, 2015:

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

Bill

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on March 19, 2015:

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

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on March 19, 2015:

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.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on March 19, 2015:

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

Sparklea from Upstate New York on March 19, 2015:

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.

Venkatachari M from Hyderabad, India on March 19, 2015:

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.

Graham Lee from Lancashire. England. on March 18, 2015:

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

Graham.

travmaj from australia on March 18, 2015:

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.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on March 18, 2015:

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!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on March 18, 2015:

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

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on March 18, 2015:

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.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on March 18, 2015:

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.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on March 18, 2015:

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

Susette Horspool from Pasadena CA on March 18, 2015:

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.

Faith Reaper from southern USA on March 18, 2015:

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

Heidi Thorne from Chicago Area on March 18, 2015:

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!

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on March 18, 2015:

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

Bill De Giulio from Massachusetts on March 18, 2015:

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 :)

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on March 18, 2015:

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.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on March 18, 2015:

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

Jackie Lynnley from the beautiful south on March 18, 2015:

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?

^+

Ruby Jean Richert from Southern Illinois on March 18, 2015:

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

Lana Adler from California on March 18, 2015:

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!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on March 18, 2015:

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. :)

Ruchira from United States on March 18, 2015:

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

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on March 18, 2015:

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

Denise W Anderson from Bismarck, North Dakota on March 18, 2015:

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.

Samantha Sinclair from North Carolina on March 18, 2015:

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.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on March 18, 2015:

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

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on March 18, 2015:

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

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on March 18, 2015:

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.

Ann Carr from SW England on March 18, 2015:

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

Samantha Sinclair from North Carolina on March 18, 2015:

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.

Clive Williams from Jamaica on March 18, 2015:

"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

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on March 18, 2015:

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

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on March 18, 2015:

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

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on March 18, 2015:

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.

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on March 18, 2015:

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

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on March 18, 2015:

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

Bill

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on March 18, 2015:

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

Marlene Bertrand from USA on March 18, 2015:

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.

Larry Rankin from Oklahoma on March 18, 2015:

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.

Sally Gulbrandsen from Norfolk on March 18, 2015:

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

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on March 18, 2015:

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

William Leverne Smith from Hollister, MO on March 18, 2015:

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!! ;-)

Sparklea on March 18, 2015:

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

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on March 18, 2015:

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.

Brad on March 18, 2015:

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

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on March 18, 2015:

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.

Brian Leekley from Bainbridge Island, Washington, USA on March 18, 2015:

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?

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on March 18, 2015:

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.

Sally Gulbrandsen from Norfolk on March 18, 2015:

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

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on March 18, 2015:

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.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on March 18, 2015:

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.