Wondering where to find your next freelance writing jobs during COVID-19 craziness?
You’re not the only one. It’s a volatile time for almost everybody. But businesses, magazines, and digital publications still have freelance writing jobs they need to fill.
In many niches, the demand for well-written articles and writers who know how to dig up solid research, interview sources, and hit tight deadlines is even greater than pre-pandemic.
How do you get some of that work? There’s an old-school skill that works in any economic environment. Pitch great story ideas to editors.
And if you don’t get a response right away…keep going. Just about every editor is scrambling to fill their editorial calendars right now.
Show up in their inbox with a fresh idea, and you’re a lot more likely to land freelance writing jobs than if you sit back and do nothing until “things get better.” Make sense? Good.
To save you some time, we’ve compiled a list of 39 digital magazines you can pitch right now. Check out the list and get to work.
Cosmo has an annual readership of 16 million. Last year they were paying as much as .25 a word for digital content in alignment with their brand, which is focused on the empowerment of young women. Senior editor Emma Barker accepts pitches at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The majority of GH’s 25 million readers are women who are married, have children, and work outside the home. You can pitch digital director Lauren Matthews via Twitter. They reportedly pay as much as .67 a word for short narratives on “blessings” and overcoming health challenges.
Into women’s style, beauty, entertainment, wellness, or culture? You can reach digital editor Perrie Samotin on Twitter about contributing to Glamour. There are no published guidelines for pitching, but they’ve paid .27 a word in the past.
Oprah Magazine is launching a new digital version this fall to continue inspiring women to live their best lives – online. No guidelines are available, but you can reach out to digital director Arianna Davis via Twitter. The print version has paid $2 a word, but expect less for digital.
LiisBeth publishes content focused on feminist entrepreneurs, creators, and leaders committed to gender equality. Writers of all gender expressions can email pitches to Margaret Webb or reach out to her on Twitter. They have pay rates listed in the guidelines, the lowest offer being $250 for personal essays to $800+ for policy/issue analysis.
Have a teen or connect well with teens? You can reach out to editor Samhita Mukhopadya at Teen Vogue via email to pitch topics related to teens taking on the world. Average pay is $0.30 a word for digital publication.
Calling all birders. You can reach editor Martha Harbison via Twitter. They’ve reportedly paid as much as $0.40 per word for stories on birds and their habitats.
Like to geek-out on science? Writers with proven expertise in medicine, physics, technology, space travel, paleontology and other science-based topics can pitch ideas to editor Eric Betz via Twitter. The pay rate for digital has varied widely, but the most reported was $0.52 a word. Discover encourages writers to keep pitching if not accepted the first time around.
Hakai uses short- and long-form journalism to report on coastal ecosystems. This magazine publishes work from freelance writers in two different sections; News & Views (300-800 words) and Features (1,000-1,500 words). On Twitter, you can find managing editor Adrienne Mason or senior editor Shanna Baker. They’ve paid as much as $1.05 a word.
Unsolicited proposals are accepted by Smithsonian Magazine from experienced freelancers pitching stories on art, history, science & innovation, and travel. You can reach editor Brian Wolly on Twitter. The pay rate varies, but the average is .36 a word.
Love to explore the natural world? This online magazine has several sections with various editors. Check the guidelines for the right editor to pitch your ideas on beautiful, unique, and wild places to visit. You can also try pitching to email@example.com, and they’ll direct you to the right section. Pay varies by section as well, but the lowest is $0.50 a word.
Established writers with a beat on the architecture of homes can pitch to editor Mike Chino on Twitter. Dwell reportedly paid $1.00 a word for an article that appeared in print and online. Pitches must include photos of lived-in dwellings – no staged images. Follow-up is encouraged, including resending your pitch a few weeks later if unanswered!
Write about architectural gems near and far – the houses, interiors, gardens, and landscapes of iconic places, designers, and celebrities. You can email your pitch to Digital Editor David Foxley. They’ve paid as much as 1.00 a word for digital articles.
New writers and photographers are encouraged to submit queries on American life from colonial times to the mid-1800s on topics related to antiques, architecture and decorating, history, studio crafts, and travel. You can pitch editor JeanMarie Andrews at firstname.lastname@example.org. The guidelines state they promise to pay and estimate $500 for new writers.
There are multiple editors for multiple sections, so check the guidelines for names, contact information, and details. The reported pay varies between .50 and $1.50 a word for stories on the modern American West.
Hoofbeats is 70 percent freelance written, so submit your ideas and photos on Standard breds and harness racing to editor Kim French at email@example.com. They pay upwards of $500 for features.
Pulitzer Prize winning New York Magazine publishes freelancers! You can pitch your articles to the editor at firstname.lastname@example.org. Average pay is around $0.70 a word.
Check out this interview with Paul Tullis on how to become a contributor for the digital version of this iconic pub. You can find editor Isabel Wilkinson on Twitter. The pay is reportedly $0.50 a word.
The oldest general-interest magazine of its kind, Harpers accepts both nonfiction and fiction submissions. You can pitch to editor Rachel Poser via email. The average pay is reported at $0.70 a word.
Stories and Essays
Longreads publishes personal essays and narratives, longform journalism, features, investigative projects, and even book excerpts. There are various editors to pitch to, so check the guidelines for names and contact information. They pay an average of $0.23 a word for articles.
Send daring personal essays, fiction, and poetry to this ad-free magazine. Yes, you read that right — you might be able to get paid to write poetry by The Sun. You can pitch editors Sy Safransky or David Mahaffey by submitting online. The Sun has various sections, and they outline pay rates on their submission page. They’ll pay as much as $2,000 for longform essays.
The magazine of the Phi Beta Kappa Society accepts nonfiction submissions from new and established writers. You can pitch editor Robert Wilson via email or through the link on Submittable. Wilson says they pay more than $100 per article.
New freelance writers can contribute to the Perspectives and Connections columns of the Boston Globe Magazine. You can find editor Veronica Chao on Twitter. Pay is reported around $0.78 a word.
Pitch longform personal essays and cultural criticism that wows to BuzzFeed Reader. You can find editor Samantha Henig on Twitter. Pay is around .50 a word.
This magazine is looking for narrative journalism on social and environmental justice that promotes critical thinking about societal issues. You can find editor Jonah Newman on Twitter. Pay is at least $100 per piece.
Wired’s online content includes science, culture, gear, politics, and security. You can find editor Michael Calore on LinkedIn. Send pitches to email@example.com. The average pay for digital content is .50 a word.
Explain how things work for Popular Mechanics readers. You can pitch to editor Alexander George on Twitter. Pay has been as high as $0.40 a word.
The Atlantic is interested in pitches that address areas they haven’t adequately covered, especially in the education space. You can email your pitch to Editor Don Peck. Pay has been as high as .56 a word.
Vox publishes “provocative” personal narratives with an interesting slant on modern life in their First Person section. Follow the guidelines to pitch. Reported pay is $0.50 word.
30. Time Magazine
Write for a magazine with a 96-year history and over 100 million readers worldwide. You can reach editor Brittany Robins on Twitter. Digital content goes for $0.22 a word on average.
Pitching to Forbes will take time and connections. But, it can be done! Just ask Carol 😉 You can send an idea to firstname.lastname@example.org. Once you get in, they pay more than $100 per digital piece.
Find a unique angle on an issue in politics, culture, and world events that challenges readers. Do some original reporting, then pitch editor James Palmer via email. Average pay is $0.33 a word.
Have connections to a business exec or company that needs no introduction? If so, pitch digital editor Andrew Nusca via email. Fortune pays anywhere from $0.35 to $0.67 a word.
COVID-19 stay-home orders have hit the travel industry hard. For example, Delta Sky magazine laid off it’s entire staff, ceased operations, and poof went all their freelance writing jobs, too. But you can still go outside…sort of. And eventually, those restrictions will be lifted. Some online travel publications to pitch include:
Love to immerse yourself in foreign lands? Join Afar’s cadre of creative ambassadors. Read about one of them, Matt Gross, who expounds on his love/hate relationship with travel writing here. Then pitch editor Julia Cosgrove on Twitter. Pay is around .50 a word.
“We’re writing about our favorite places in our favorite cities, some of which are making the best of hard times and continuing to bring joy into our homes,” says Hemispheres Executive Editor Nicholas DeRenzo. This in-flight magazine for United Airlines is geared toward the affluent traveler.
Hemispheres accepts freelance pitches for captivating features as well as compelling content for their Navigator and Diversions sections. You can pitch to Editor Nicholas DeRenzo via email. Pay averages around $1 per word.
An avid backtracker, adventure runner, or ultramarathoner? Write about all things running for Runner’s World. Hailey Middlebrook is the digital editor. They pay $1 per word for content that runs in both print and online.
Financed by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Development Set publishes stories on global health and social impact. You can reach out to Editor Sarika Bansal on Twitter.
Have expertise in the recycling industry? Scrap is the trade magazine of the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries. They pay freelancers for content on market trends, new regulations and legislation, new processing and handling equipment, and management and operational techniques. You can pitch editor Rachel Pollack via email. Better writing and experience will you get more, but you’ll walk away with at least $100 for your article.
Pitch editors to get freelance writing jobs
Want more freelance work? Make pitching editors a regular part of your day or week.
- Study the online magazine.
- Pay attention to headlines, formatting, style and voice.
- Get familiar with the audience and the types of articles the magazine publishes.
- Then pitch the editor. It’s that simple.
When you’re done, pitch another story idea. Do this consistently. You’ll get better and start landing more freelance writing jobs. And don’t forget to check out our tips for proper freelancer invoicing so you get paid for the work you do!
What online magazines do you write for? Let’s discuss in the comments below.
Kathie Bullard Harris is a freelance health and wellness writer living in the Southern United States. When she isn’t writing copy, she’s working on her forever-in-progress first novel.