Freelance Writing Jobs Online: 17 Outlets That Pay $500 or More

Finding high-paying freelance writing jobs is not terribly hard, it just takes some digging – which I did over the last few days. Following are 17 outlets that pay $500 or more. Before we get to the listings, following are a few things I noticed that I want to pass along that will give you more insight into how to land them.

9 Quick Facts about These High-Paying Freelance Writing Gigs

1. Where’s the work? Magazines are where a lot of the good-paying work is.

2. Writing style: Most prefer the AP style of writing.

3. Wait Time: Many prefer you to pitch/query instead of sending in a completely done post. The average wait time seemed to be anywhere from a couple of weeks to 2-3 months. Some were as long as a year.

This is one reason I never went after magazine work – have to query and wait, then wait some more for pay after your story is accepted – it would just drive me bonkers! But it is a good way to get some good clips ot build your portfolio – if you have the patience for it.

Note: Here’s some great insight from an actual editor on how to get them to respond to your pitch.

4. Pay: Most paid upon publication, although there were some that paid upon accepted submission.

5. Experience: For the vast majority, experience was NOT needed. What the publications wanted was a story that fitted their style (which means reading the publication to get a feel for what would work), and as long as your pitch was accepted, and you delivered a well-written story, then you’re good to go.

6. Clips: These were asked for about a third of the time, but again, if you send in a well-crafted pitch that suits the voice of the publication, you have a shot of being published. Many paid extra for pics as well.

7. Length: Requested length was in the 700 to 2,000 word range.

8. Original material: Most requested original material and bought all rights. Some bought all rights for a definitive time, eg, first North American rights for one year.

9. Pay/No Pay/Pithy Pay? There were many more leads that I could have passed along, but I chose to only list those where definitive rates were listed. I also saw plenty of low-paying gigs, eg, $50 for a 1,000-word travel story. That’s why I didn’t pass along those where no rates were listed.

To be interested in writing for a publication, only to query then, wait a few weeks or a couple of months for them to get back to you only to find out that they paid pennies is a waste of time.

Pitch. Write. Get Paid.

1. The Artists Magazine. Welcome pitches o that emphasize the creative process and how an artist works with a medium, solves problems and conducts business. Respond to queries within six months.

Pay: Buy all rights and typically pay $400 to $600 for features.

2. HIGH TIMES. Primarily focuses on marijuana cultivation and counterculture lifestyle, and also publishes pieces on travel, entertainment and psychedelics.

Pay: Word length ranges from 1,500 to 3,000. Rates are $500-$1,000.

3. One Story. Seeks literary fiction. Only accept stories between 3,000 and 8,000 words. They can be any style and on any subject as long as they are good.

Pay: $500 and 25 contributors copies for First Serial North American rights. All rights will revert to the author following publication.

4. Sierra. The storytelling arm of the Sierra Club, the United States’ oldest, largest, and most influential grassroots environmental group. Seeks stories that “reflect an understanding of the Sierra Club’s motto— “Explore, enjoy, and protect the planet”—as well as knowledge of recent issues and topics. Response time: 4-6 weeks.

Pay: Feature lengths range from 2,000 words to (rarely) 4,000 words or more with payment starting at $1/word and rising to $1.50 word for more well-known writers. Expenses may be paid in some cases.

5. LADIES HOME JOURNAL. Seeks stories on everything from personal finance, to health, motherhood and psychology. Targets 30-55 year-old women who recognize the importance of taking time for themselves. Length: 1,200-2,400 words.

Pay: Up to $2/word.

6. BACKPACKER. Primarily covers hiking, but also seeks stories on canoeing, kayaking, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, and other human-powered modes of travel. Stories should help readers “identify and research new places to go, techniques and skills to use, or the gear to take.”

Word Count: From 100 to 5,000 or more words (depends on dep’t/section writing for). Wait time: Allow 2 to 4 weeks for replies on print stories, or up to 2 weeks for queries on web-only pieces.

Pay: $.40 to more than $1.00 per word, depending upon the complexity and demands of the article.

7. EatingWell. National food magazine that focuses exclusively on eating healthfully (our motto: “Where Good Taste Meets Good Health”). Seeks stories on cooking and nutrition science, and also the origins of food and social issues related to food networks. Wait time: Up to a month to get a response from an editor.

Pay: Up to $1/word. All rights purchased, including Web rights.

8. The American Gardener. Official publication of the American Horticultural Society. Readers are mainly experienced amateur gardeners, hence, seeks stories on profiles of individual plant groups; innovative approaches to garden design; profiles of prominent horticulturists, etc. Length: 600 to 2,500 words, depending on dept.

Pay: From $150 to $600. Also pays a 25% kill fee.

9. LitMag. Seeks fiction; short stories/novellas. Length — Print: 15,000 words; Online: 4,000 words. Buys First North American Serial Rights, which revert to author upon publication. Accepts submissions from September 1 to August 15.

Pay: Upon acceptance, $1,000 for fiction or nonfiction (Print); $250 (online); $250 for a poem (or the rare short short).

10. Popular Mechanics. Typical reader is male, mid-30s, married with a couple of kids, owns his own home and several cars, makes a good salary and probably works in a technically oriented profession. Keep in mind when pitching. Has various departments to submit to. In any article query, be specific as to what makes the development new, different, better, interesting or less expensive.

Pay: From $300 to $1000 and more for features; on acceptance and purchases all rights.

11. Ruralite. Readers are predominantly rural and small-town residents who are interested in stories about people and issues that affect their Northwest lifestyles.

Pay: From $50 for a short, 100- to 200-word feature to $500 for a major, well-illustrated article. Images: For inside color is $25 to $100, depending on size and use; for cover photo, $250 to $350. Stories and artwork are purchased as a package. Payment on acceptance.

12. FamilyFun. Country’s number one magazine for families with children ages 3 to 12. Seeking stories that give parents the information and inspiration they need to create unforgettable family moments. Note: Has 10 different departments to submit ideas to.

Pay: Anywhere from $1.25 per word, to flat rates of $100-875 for pieces ranging from 100 words to 3,000 words.

13. Chatelaine. Canadian women’s magazine (aged 25-54). Seeks “smart articles” about everything from politics to engaging profiles to first-person narratives. The magazine is organized into five sections: Style and Beauty, Home, Health, Life and Food. Wait time: 6 to 8 weeks.

Pay: $1/word and buys first North American rights in English and in French, as well as the right to archive story and post it on Chatelaine.com.

14. Alaska Airlines Magazine. Seeks pitches that range from business personality profiles, to new museum exhibits in cities served by Alaska Airlines. They also cover travel destinations, personalities, technology, sports, education, personal investing, architecture and a range of other topics.

Pay: From $150 to $700 for 200-2,500 words. Pays within 30 days of publication, buying First North American Rights and reprint rights. They also pay a kill-fee of one-third the contracted price.

15. The Sun. Publishes essays, interviews, fiction, and poetry. Tends to favor personal writing, but also looks for provocative pieces on political and cultural issues.

Pay: From $300 to $2,000 for essays and interviews, $300 to $1,500 for fiction, and $100 to $200 for poetry. Purchases one-time rights, which revert to author upon publication.

16. Wptuts+. Calling all WordPress experts! Seeks articles and tutorials on using WordPress.

Pay: From $60 for quick tips to $500 for “Premium” level tutorials/screencasts. Ongoing work — ie, submit an article a week, and one large tut/screencast per month, you can expect to earn between $1,000 – $1,200 each month.

17. Heroes and Heartbreakers. Romance writers here’s your shot! Seeks original short stories (15k-30k words) as well as novellas (30k-50k words) and category-length works (up to 60k). Wait time: 8-12 weeks for review of your manuscript.

Pay: $1,000 per story against a 25% royalty.

Going to Apply for One of These Writing Gigs? Land a Gig?

In the comments section, please let me know if these interest you and/or if you land a gig from a lead posted here. I spent a lot of time tracking down these leads, so would love to know if they help. Also, let me know if there’s a particular genre you’d like me to research and come up with some leads in, and I’ll see what I can do, ok?

Good luck applying guys, and hope you had a good weekend.

Next Post: Friday, 12/16.

Content Writing Tips that Land High-Paying Clients: 11 Skills Freelance Writers Should Develop to Skyrocket Their Income NOW

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    1. Hi Yuwanda,

      Interesting list! Is it still up to date? Did you land a piece for Ladies Home Journal?

      Best, Nanouk

    2. Ivan Jordon says:

      Freelance writers all around the internet,it’s time for you to shine plus you can earn money!Join the club now,hurry!

    3. Wow! This is just what I’ve been looking for. Thank you so much Yuwanda. I haven’t landed a gig yet. But I’m definitely applying. I will come back to tell you how it went. Thanks so much

      • You’re very welcome Jade. And yes, please let me know if you land something. Even though I don’t like pitching, I plan to submit something to Ladies Home Journal myself when I find a minute. The thing I like about these kind of leads is that they tend not to “expire.”

        Good luck!