The Renegade Writer

How to Find Markets to Pitch

Magazines for freelancersWith the economy being what it is, you may have had the idea to start pitching more in hopes of bringing in more cash. Or maybe you were inspired by my idea of doing a pitch blitz in How to Gain Control Over Your Freelancing Life. Whatever the reason, you want to expand your client base — and that means finding new markets to pitch.

But where are these markets? Writer’s Market, a print and online directory of magazine markets, is a great source to start with, but there are tons of magazines out there that aren’t listed in its pages. And then there’s the newsstand, which has an even smaller selection of magazines. You won’t find most custom pubs or trade magazines at Borders.

Here’s how to find markets that aren’t found in Writer’s Market or on your local newsstand.

The Custom Publishing Council. As I wrote in a post last year, custom publications are magazines that are published for corporate clients and organizations. For example, the magazine you get if you’re a Wells Fargo business customer is a custom publication. The free magazine you pick up at Shaw’s is a custom publication. That magazine at the checkout in Pier 1? A custom pub. You can often break into a custom publication by sending a letter of introduction. The Custom Publishing Council lists many of these magazines and even gives e-mail addresses for the pubs’ editors or publishers.

TradePub.com offers links to the websites of trade magazines in dozens of categories, from agriculture to utilities. As with custom pubs, you can sometimes break into trade magazines with a letter of introduction.

Mastheads.org has a list of the 600+ magazines in its database. Once you find a title that interests you, Google it to find its website. If you shell out $24 per year, Mastheads.org says it will give you “complete magazine staff lists for every department (editorial, art/photo, advertising, marketing, & business) with phone, fax, mailing address, and e-mail formats.”

Freelance Success, for $99 per year, offers a weekly market guide that gives a how-to-pitch for typically well-paying magazines.

Mr. Magazine is Samir Husni, the Chair of the Journalism Department at the University of Mississippi. His website gives you the scoop on new titles every month.

The Internet Public Library has a directory with links to magazines, journals, e-zines, and more.

Writer’s Market, but not for the reason you think. When you find an interesting-sounding trade magazine in Writer’s Market (or in any of the directories on this list), take note of the name of the company that publishes the magazine and search for its website on Google. Chances are, the publishing company puts out other magazines that are not listed in Writer’s Market.

TheMagazineBoy.com is another directory of magazine links, with such who-knew pubs as Bus Conversions and Medal News.

• Your mailbox. One of my phone mentoring clients last week shared with me a great idea he had for a financial article, and mentioned that it would be a perfect fit for members of the military. I told him, “You should check out USAA, a financial custom pub I write for that targets the military,” and he said, “Hey, I get that magazine! I never thought of pitching it.” So don’t overlook those magazines that show up in your mailbox from your bank, your insurance provider, your hospital, and so on.

Do you have any other suggestions for finding markets to pitch? Please share them in the Comments below. [lf]

Oct 20, 2008 Advice, Cool tools, Magazines, Marketing

11 Responses

  1. Valencia says:

    I’m a huge fan of Writer’s Market. I don’t buy a new edition every year, most of the information remains the same. But I will go online and check out the publication to make sure the editor contact information hasn’t changed. :-)

  2. See, this is what I like about you Renegade Writers. You bypass some of the tired sources for markets, or tell us to view them in a new way. And thus, I will have some new marketing venues to pursue over the next few months. Well done,and thanks!

  3. Andy Hayes says:

    Wow – excellent posting! I’ve had limited success with print media, but these resources have added a number of publications to my marketing to do list! Thank you!

  4. Amy says:

    This is a great resource. Thanks!

    I think I have the opposite problem though. The amount of mags, journals, and web markets out there is completely overwhelming! Do you have any great posts about narrowing it down?

  5. Thanks for your comments, everyone!

    Amy, I like to come up with ideas first and then figure out which magazines to pitch. That way I’m not looking at a thousand magazines and thinking, “Oh jeez, which one should I start with?” The universe of possibilities is much smaller when you brainstorm ideas first.

    For trades, I generally send letters of introduction to those that seem like they would pay a certain amount per word or more. Writer’s Market gives you an idea of what magazines pay, and you can also guess that all magazines by the same publisher pay about the same.

  6. Kayleen says:

    Good idea to pitch magazines you receive in the mail. For years we had received a certain insurance magazine. I always read it and found its writing clear and helpful. I never thought they would be interested in a freelancer, but finally told myself it could not hurt to try. I pitched an auto safety feature (they had covered this type of article in nearly every issue). While the editor didn’t take that idea, she proposed that I do another one for her. Since then I’ve written four for her. The editor was great to work with and the pay was excellent too. I plan to pitch more publications I’m familiar with.

  7. Kyrsten Bean says:

    I love how I can come to your blog and find exactly what I’m looking for. I’m doing a query challenge this month and have been struggling with finding markets to pitch to and for some reason it didn’t dawn on me to sit down and brainstorm first, before I pitch. I’m going to back off a bit, regroup and focus my efforts — after this holiday weekend.

  8. Thanks Linda. I feel like you just handed me some golden keys!

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