Getting Paid for Your Articles

Dina Giolitto

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If you've been writing web articles to help promote your business, you may also wonder if you can write articles and get paid for it. What type of articles will land you some extra cash, and what control do you have over the resubmission of your content once you hand it over to the editors?

Type 1. Magazine and Journal Articles.

These articles are at least twice the length of a typical web article, in-depth, highly focused on a topic, slightly academic and ethereal in nature, and often have extended quotes from authorized experts. These are the articles that you read in your magazines and journals. REALLY GREAT WRITERS write these - that is why they get paid the big bucks.


You can get paid anywhere from maybe $35 to $2,000 depending on the size of the publication and your reputation as new or a seasoned freelance writer.

Other Important Info:

- Requires a Cover Letter. You must “pitch" your work to a. . . well, let's call them Elitist group of editors. The less known your name is, the harder you will have to sell yourself. There is an exact procedure for writing a cover letter - I recommend that you do research on it because if you get it wrong you're tossed right into the trash bin no matter how fabulous your article topic is.

- Requires a manuscript (editable first draft). You must submit your article BY MAIL, printed out in a standard font in a specific format that includes headers, footers, line spacing, page numbers an EXACT FORMAT. If you screw up the format, you screw yourself. Some “kinder" publications will send you a little card telling you what you did incorrectly, some won't even acknowledge you if you're brand spanking new and not aware of the protocol.

- You must include CLIPS - the industry term for samples of your work that were already published. Does a “web article" qualify as a legitimate clip? I really do not know. My guess is that the higher the quality of your piece, the better off you'll be. . . but I really can't say.

- Your article will be edited. IF it gets approved, and that's a BIG IF, it will be mailed back to you with corrections. The editors may wish you to take a new direction with it or modify in some other way. You must work with them.

- Your magazine article is NOT going to be published “over and over" the way that internet articles are. Why? Periodicals don't want to run the same articles as their competitors. You get a small shot at publishing something a couple of times in a few different places, but it's a slim chance. FRESH content is the name of the game. THAT is why magazine people are willing to PAY for it.

Are these types of articles a good way to sell your business? Perhaps if you're hitting the world with some breaking insights. . . but that will likely be in ONE in-depth article, and by some stroke of luck that your area of expertise matched the publication's need for hot content.

Magazine articles are certainly NOT the advertising tool that internet articles are. I mean really, when was the last time YOU read a magazine article, took note of the author and said to yourself, “Hey maybe she's selling something I need! Let me scan for a website and visit it right now"?

Web businesses aside; some writers really just want to write for the thrill of writing itself: thoroughly researching an industry, creating some beauteous prose about it, and getting paid. This along with a byline and the thrill of being a published author can make freelance magazine article writing quite appealing. If this sounds like your cup of tea, start honing your article researching and writing skills, and practice those cover letters!


If you think you have the gumption AND talent to write in-depth articles for magazines or trade publications, do a Google search on Freelance Writer Jenna Glatzer and see what advice she has. Sign up for her publication, Absolute Markets and start finding out what types of industries need articles and who is willing to pay cash for them.

Flip through your magazine rack and pick out the magazines you might want to write for. Then select a section of the magazine where you might be able to contribute to a general topic category.

You'll find “all the big names" of editor-in-chief and staff, along with the mailing address, within the first few pages of the magazine. You will need this information because this is who you'll be speaking to in your cover letter.

GOOD LUCK. You must have patience and perseverance and you must be EXACTING to get anywhere in this industry. Oh yeah, and it helps to KNOW PEOPLE. :)

Type 2: Articles That are Resold by Content Websites.

There are a handful of websites out there who will pay for your content. I don't know a whole lot about them, but I would think that submitting your work to these is mostly a WIN-LOSE situation, with you as the loser. I think it's because they pay you a few dollars to OWN THE RIGHTS to your work. You get a byline, and that's it. In most cases the byline doesn't even include a URL or author bio, so you're really just selling yourself out for some measly chump change in this situation.


The website who buys your content is probably going to sell it at a higher price than you wrote it for. Again, this is just speculation on my part- but they must be doing something with your content to put a good amount of money in their own pocket or why would they bother? Perhaps they charge publications a membership fee to select articles to use in their own printed work. Again, I don't know much about these places but I will share what I do know.


Content buyers may pay anywhere from $5 to $100 an article. I guess if you're really desperate to pay the rent this month, you can write four or five articles, spend 2-3 hours on each of them and then get $15 back per article. But I really would think that you'd have to be desperate to do this. Legally, you can't submit the article elsewhere once you've signed it over. But the person who paid you ten dollars for 2 hours of work can and will.

Other Important Info:

- THEY dictate the content, not you. Here's an example: I went to Associated Content to see what the scoop was, and they had listed a few types of articles that they were looking for. One was “tourist information on your local area. " Nothing I want to write about, so there goes my shiny opportunity.

I would think that the requests for content either come directly from the people who buy the content from the Content Seller, or maybe it comes from some kind of supply and demand consensus that they come up with. Whatever the case, it surely isn't in your control and right now the demand is LOW.

- They can edit the content if they so choose. I believe that you sign away your rights to leave the content intact once anyone buys it from you. So, whomever gets your content via this type of merchant can do basically whatever they want with it, chop it up, add some oregano, whatever. Therefore it is no longer representative of your ability or a reflection of you. You SOLD IT, so now you have no control- that's the difference between this and article marketing via content distribution sites.

- If they don't like your article, you don't get paid for it. Upon receiving your rejection notice, are you allowed to “take your article back" and distribute it all over the net for free? I don't deal much with content sites so I don't know- but THIS IS A QUESTION WORTH INVESTIGATING.

If content buyers legally prohibit you from submitting elsewhere once they have your work, then to me that would be just another reason not to sell yourself short to this type of content seeker. But if you're allowed to use articles that they rejected, I'd snatch it back and go submit it everywhere else that I could.

- This type of site is not going to plaster your content all over the net the way that a “free content distribution" site would. So, not only are you fairly anonymous, NOT selling your business due to the subjectmatter that was dictated to you by the content website, AND getting paid a very miniscule sum of money for your work. . . but after it's all said and done, barely anyone is going to see your article anyway.

Do a Google Search on the title of an article you sold to a content buyer, and watch what comes up. Almost NOTHING. However, if you really need a quick source of income, you may as well do some research and see where you may strike gold where I haven't.


If you ever want to submit articles anywhere, paid or not paid, I recommend you do a Google search on a specialized term of your choosing, along with the words “submit article" in quotes. It's also worth doing a little research on copyright law and what type of reprint restrictions can be placed on your article once it's accepted for publication.

Best of luck in your article writing endeavors!

Copyright 2005 Dina Giolitto. All rights reserved.

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