Weekly Writing Challenge: Discover New Outlets

Sure, you could browse through the latest edition of the Writers Market looking for outlets to query. But then you're just querying the same outlets that all of your competition already knows about.

This week I want you to forget about your typical go-to sources for writers' markets and your more well-known niche publications. I want you to step a bit outside of your comfort zone, and find five completely fresh outlets within your niche. Then query them!

It sounds easy enough, right? But where do you find these elusive markets that aren't already oversaturated with submissions from other freelancers? Here are a few tips and resources to get you started:

1. Pick up a media directory

No, not a writers' market directory... the kind PR people use when they're sending press releases and such to the media. You'll find all kinds of editor and beat journalist contact information there for newspapers, magazines, and more.

Look for some of the smaller, niche-oriented publications, and make some contacts. It never hurts to ask for writers' guidelines, and chances are that most of your fellow freelance writers aren't thinking to use this source.

You can search Google for free media contact databases, but to get the most up-to-date information can be costly. Burelles offers a free trial of their online media contacts service if you wanted to give it a try, or your local library may have a print copy of Gales or another media directory available.

2. Peruse the classifieds

Online classified job postings are usually filled with announcements of new websites or magazines looking for writers. They may not all pay very much (if anything), but if it's a particularly well-targeted niche site or publication, it may be worthwhile to submit a piece or two, just for the sake of making a contact should that publication grow down the road (even if it's a bit less than you'd normally accept, if you're in need of "filler work" it might be an option to consider).

Google can be your friend when looking for new and lesser-known writers' markets. Search for specific terms related to hiring writers or writers' guidelines, and browse through results after the first ten or so pages.

You may have to dig a bit, but if it's buried, it's less likely that a lot of others have found it that way (and being poorly optimized for search doesn't necessarily mean it's not a worthwhile publication or site for your industry or niche).

How else do you go about finding more obscure writers' markets? Share your own tips by leaving a comment here.

Profile image for Jennifer Mattern

Jennifer Mattern is a professional blogger, freelance business writer, consultant, and indie author. She runs numerous websites & blogs including All Freelance Writing, Freelance Writing Pros, NakedPR, and Kiss My Biz.

Jenn has 25 years' experience as a professional writer and editor and over 20 years' experience in marketing and PR (working heavily in digital PR, online marketing, social media, SEO, new media, and thought leadership publication). She also has 19 years' professional blogging and web publishing experience (including web development) and around 18 years of experience as an indie author / publisher.

Jenn also writes fiction under multiple pen names and is an Active member of the Horror Writers Association.

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