As a freelance writer, it can be a struggle to find high-quality paying work.
It often seems like the only options available are $5-per-article scams and work from content mills, which can seem like good opportunities — until you check your bank account balance and realize it’ll take ages before your hard work adds up into real earnings.
While finding quality paying work is difficult, it isn’t impossible. In fact, there are lots of publications that will pay you a premium to write for them.
It isn’t necessarily easy to get into these publications, and it may take time and experience to build up your writing to a level that will help you get paid these rates. But you can take solace in the fact that writing work exists beyond content mills and low paying gigs.
While there are probably tens of thousands of magazines that pay writers, a much smaller number compensate writers really well.
Here are 10 magazines that will pay $500 or more for an article. Click on the title of each magazine for additional submission information!
Tai Chi Magazine focuses on the internal Chinese martial art of Tai Chi, and seeks articles about self-defense, health, meditation, fitness, self-improvement, traditional Chinese medicine and spiritual growth.
Articles range from 500 to 3,500 words. Tai Chi Magazine pay $75 to $500 per article depending on the length and quality of the article. It usually pays within 90 days of publication.
Lifestyle magazine Catholic Digest wants writers with a positive and encouraging voice who write from experience.
Their features are approximately 1,500 words and cover marriage, parenting, spirituality, and relationships, along with parish and work life. The magazine pays $500 for features, upon publication.
Earth Island Journal wants “compelling and distinctive stories that anticipate environmental concerns before they become pressing problems.” It covers a wide variety of environmental issues including wildlife and land conservation, environmental public policy, climate and energy, animal rights, and environmental justice.
The magazine pays 25 cents per word for short dispatches, which usually run 1,200 to 1,500 words, and investigative features of 2,500-3,000 words. A 2,000-word story would net you $500. If you’re new to the magazine, Earth Island Journal recommends pitching online reports, which pay $50-$100 each.
VQR is a journal of literature and discussion with a focus on publishing the best writing they can find.
For poetry, it pays $200 per poem (up to four). If they accept a group of five or more poems, it pays $1,000. Prose pays around 25 cents per word. Book reviews earn $500 for 2,000-2,400 words. VQR has limited reading periods, so check the schedule online before you submit.
AMC Outdoors magazine covers outdoor recreation, education, and conservation topics throughout the Northern Appalachian region, which includes states from Maine to Virginia.
It pays $500 – $700 for features, which usually range from 2,000 to 2,500 words. “We are always on the lookout for stories that have a unique hook, showcase an outdoor sport in a new and exciting way, offer a tangible sense of place and meaning, or profile individuals with unique approaches to conservation in the Northeast,” senior editor Marc Chalufour notes on AMC Outdoor’s submissions page.
The Sun Magazine is looking for essays, interviews, fiction and poetry. They prefer personal writing but they also accept pieces about political and cultural issues.
The Sun pays $300 to $2,500 for nonfiction, $300 to $1,500 for fiction, $100 to $250 for poetry and $1,000 to $2,000 for interviews. The editors will consider previously published pieces, but only pay half the rate for reprints.
7. The Nation
The Nation is a liberal opinion magazine covering national and international affairs, and they are especially interested in articles about “civil liberties, civil rights, labor, economics, environmental issues, privacy, policing, feminist issues and politics.” Foreign coverage includes political as well as socio-economic issues, and the Nation “is strongly committed to investigative reporting.”
It pays $250 for short comments of about 750 words and $500 for articles, which tend to be 1,500-2,500 words. No rate is listed for investigative reports of up to 6,000 words.
The American Gardener is the official publication of the American Horticultural Society, and it caters to amateur gardeners.
It seeks writers for horticulturalist profiles, and articles about innovative approaches to garden design, plant conservation, horticultural therapy, and biodiversity, among others.
It pays $300 – $600 for feature articles, which usually run 1,500 to 2,500 words. The magazine somtimes offers travel and expense reimbursement.
9. One Story
One Story is a literary magazine that features one story per issue, and it is mailed to subscribers every 3 – 4 weeks.
One Story looks for literary fiction in the range of 3,000 – 8,000 words, and stories can be on any subject. It offers $500 and 25 copies of the magazine for every accepted contribution.
Glimmer Train seeks original short stories for this thrice-yearly publication. Payment can be has high as $1,500 for category-specific “first place” submissions, but the “standard” category for stories under 12,000 words pays $700. Submissions for standard pieces are open in January, May and September. The magazine owns first-publication rights for every piece they accept. Glimmer Train does not accept poetry, children’s stories or novels.
Have you written for magazines that pay similar rates? Tell us about them in the comments!
Correction: This list originally included New West, a magazine no longer in production. The information has been replaced.