fisherman_catching_shoeI got a copy of the 2015 Writer’s Market the other day. I don’t buy this annual regularly, but I do get one every few years. I particularly like this one because it also gives me access to Writer’s Digest online database.

One of my complaints about Writer’s Market is that very few of the magazines that I have written for appear in its pages. I have found a few more in the database, but I’d say about 75 percent of the magazines I work for aren’t there.  You can look at that as I have less competition, but if it’s that incomplete for my region of the country, what about other areas. Are there potential markets I’m not seeing if I rely on that database?

That’s why it’s not my only source. I use it as a tool. One of many to hunt down potential new markets.

I’m also always curious about the rate pages that lists the high, low, and average payments for different types of writing. The numbers always look pretty good until you realize that it’s a range. I tend to ignore the top end because I figure that’s very few markets and the assignments are few and far between. However, even looking at the average, I am surprised at how high it is.

The numbers I see in my region of the country tend to skew lower. So maybe Writer’s Market tries to weed out the lower-paying magazines, but I’ve written for some big magazines that pay anywhere near the top end of the scale.

I’m curious as to how you get those high-end rates. For instance, who pays $600 for a local newspaper column and what is the column about? How often does it run? How about $1,040 for a newspaper feature article?

I used to work as a newspaper reporter. I was expected to write multiple stories each week. So by these numbers, I should have made around $2,200 a week or 114,400 a year as a reporter. Maybe in three years, but not a year! And my writing won plenty of awards so it’s not like I was the reporter whom the paper kept on to do grunt work.

The rate chart is a nice tool to have. While magazines and newspapers don’t negotiate rates much, I find these numbers very helpful when quoting copywriting projects. The chart is written evidence from a reputable to back up my quote with a client.

So I’ll guess I’ll go fishing in  and see how big an assignment I can find