In Print: Thinking Outside The Magazine

In this column we've covered a lot of different ways to break into print. Today, I'd like to talk about some unconventional ideas for getting jobs in the industry. So we're going to delve into "Thinking Outside The Magazine"...

Glossies and trade mags are all well and good, but there are other things you can do if you want to get published in the print industry. Here is a list of some of them to help inspire you:

Greeting Cards

Got a knack for delivering a message? You may want to try your luck at greeting cards. Although this won't line your pockets with the big bucks, it can be a great way to make some extra dough. Birthday cards are always in demand, but there are also markets for holiday cards, anniversary cards and others. Why not try it out? Brainstorm some ideas and jot them down to smooth out and work through. It can be a fun change of pace.


Some calendars have text instead of photos--or in addition to them. Again, this may not make your car payment, but it can round out your monthly bottom line.


Some businesses hire professional writers to author a newsletter for one reason or another. Sometimes it is an in-house deal, while other times it is more promotional.


Marketing copy is another area you may want to consider. Brochures, press kits and other "collateral" as it is referred to in the industry is always in demand.

Custom Publications

Not quite a trade mag, custom publications are usually those written by a particular organization. Sometimes they are produced by the group itself, but they are just as often outsourced to a custom publisher to handle. Prove yourself here and you could make some nice money.

So how do you get into this stuff? Per usual, Google is your best friend here. Google "writers guidelines, greeting cards" or a similar phrase and dig in. It really is that easy--and that difficult. You'll find you have to really target your pitch and make sure you position yourself properly to get a response. But if you do--you can really find yourself in a nice spot. These markets are generally not as competitive as the magazine industry, precisely because:

A. People don't think to try them, and

B. They aren't as prestigious

I have actually done all of the above in my career and have found some really rewarding jobs in the process. And made some pretty good money too.

A few last words on the topic...

For newsletters and marketing materials, you'll have to work a little harder than just using Google. Think local. See what companies and marketing/pr pros you have in your area and either call or drop an e-mail. (I'd actually suggest doing both.) Make sure you have a solid pitch ready, and some work to show them should they ask.

Has anyone else out there made some money in one of these arenas? I'd love to hear about it!

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Catherine L. Tully has over nine years of experience writing for magazines such as American Style, AAA Living and Boys' Life. She is the editor for an award-winning blog on freelance writing and also owns and edits a blog for dance professionals.

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