I’ve run into some interesting situations while doing print writing. As publications started to develop their presence online, there were some opportunities to make a little more money here and there.
What? More money? Do tell, right?
Some magazines also offer partial (or full) articles on the web as well as in their print version. And some of them will pay more for it. This is one example of how you can slant things in your favor and make some extra cash when writing for print. I had one mag pay me extra to run a shortened version of a piece I wrote–and more money for the photos too. It wasn’t a lot, but it all adds up…
If a magazine wants to use your work on the web in addition to the printed publication–but they don’t want to pay extra–what should you do? You could say no–provided the contract doesn’t include that as part of the deal. Or…you might want to consider asking for a byline that has a link to your website (you do have a website, right?) as a substitute for actual cash. Or have them run your bio if they don’t want to do a link. That way at least you get something out of it.
Another way to get more mileage out of your print writing is to re-slant an article and sell it to an online publication. That way you do the research once and get paid twice. I’m here to tell you that it feels good. Naturally, this works the other way around as well. Just look up similar magazines on the web and change the focus of the piece so you aren’t doing the same exact thing–unless you are selling a re-print. If that is the case, just make sure you have the right to do so. (Rights should be a part of your contract.)
You can also save yourself some money by using the web to get ideas for articles. Instead of driving to the bookstore and buying magazines to flip through, browse online publications and get a feel for what topics are hot right now. It saves you gas money as well as time and the cost of the magazines.
One caution–if you are going to pitch a particular print pub, be sure you have actually looked at it before. There’s no substitute for that step, because each publication has their own particular voice and style. But for getting ideas and narrowing your focus, the web is perfect.
Over time I’ve come to realize that the online magazine market isn’t the enemy. Although print writing is by far my favorite, I’m all about making some extra dough–and the web provides an additional outlet for my writing skills. There is no reason you can’t do both.
So the next time you are going to send out some queries, try thinking things through in a way that will maximize your income. This means not counting the web out as a possibility. Don’t worry, I’m still old-school, but I’m not going to recommend that you ignore the chance to make additional dollars just so you can say you’re a print writer.
If the opportunity is there…why not take it?
Do you have any suggestions for other writers in terms of how to combine print and web writing? Something that has worked well for you? If so, please do share!