"Required reading" for today's smart writer.

"Required reading" for today's smart writer.
Information & inspiration to hone your craft and increase your cash...Since 2009

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Trade Secrets Revealed! Insider's Tips to Why You Should Write for Trade Publications

It only stands to reason that most of us writers pen pieces for the glossy publications we view with starry eyes at the local supermarkets.
The covers captivate us with celebrities we worship, while the titles draw us in with promises of quick fixes for common problems that plague us.

Additionally, these reads are widely circulated. You’ll likely find general consumer publications everywhere---from doctor’s offices, to coffee shops, to bookstores and local libraries.

But concentrating solely on submissions to these types of magazines can stunt your career growth and your earning potential. If you want to elevate your career and work smarter, not harder, here are a few things you should know.

A Trade Journal is simply a publication devoted to a particular industry or occupation. They range from magazines devoted to the wine and food industry, to teaching, to insurance, to writing, to agriculture.

And though these publications have been around for ages, here’s why they merit new consideration for today’s savvy writer.

5 Reasons you should write for trade publications:

1. Today’s writing climate is extremely competitive.
Blame it on a high unemployment rate, the ease of entry the Internet provides for those seeking to make money, and the “hype” that makes people believe that anybody can be a writer. But, truth is, writing has become as competitive as professional sports! Comparatively speaking, trade publications are less competitive, because fewer writers are aware of these journals, and for those that are, there’s the misconception that you have to be an expert in order to write for them. Less competition often leads to greater odds of acceptance for your work.

2. Trade publications afford writers greater flexibility and more options.
Many of these publications allow simultaneous submissions, accept previously published materials, and take complete manuscripts as well as queries. This saves today’s busy writer time and mental wear and tear. For example, Writers Journal
(http://www.writers journal.com/) doesn’t require queries to break in. While Yoga For Everybody (http://yoga4everybody.com/) accepts simultaneous submissions.

3. Often trade publications have a higher rate of pay than consumer publications and other writing opportunities.
Tired of penning blog posts for ten bucks? Or laboring over research-laden articles that yield the equivalent of minimum wage?
Writers can expect to earn anywhere from $50.00-$1200.00 for their efforts.

4. Trades frequently pay quicker.
While recently scouring over writing markets, I discovered that there were a great number of these magazines that offered “payment upon acceptance”, as opposed to “payment on or after publication.” Which is another added perk to consider. The Old Farmer’s Almanac and Family Fun Magazines are some noteworthy examples.

5. Trade publications have a higher percentage rate of “freelance written” materials accepted.
In consumer magazines, conversely, a lot of the departments and columns are written and reserved for in-house staff. Breaking in can be harder-- requiring clips, a resume, and writing that rivals a Pulitzer winner. Tip the odds in your favor by favoring trades.

Keep in mind that in today’s writing game, being "competent" isn’t good enough.
Take the me out of (me)diocre. The more strategic and resourceful you are, the greater your competitive edge and your bottom line!


Image: Stock Photo


  1. Jennifer, Several years ago I subbed a piece to Old Farmer's Almanac and an assistant editor actually called me at home to discuss it with me. He was very encouraging, but ultimately his higher up rejected. It was quite a boost, though, and I've looked to do the same ever since. Good post! Susan

    1. Jennifer Brown BanksMarch 21, 2012 at 7:43 AM


      That's pretty impressive to even get a personal phone call. Have had the privilege a few times myself. :-)

      Thanks for weighing in and starting the discussion off.

  2. Excellent advice, Jennifer. There are a few trade publications that I've had my eye on and I need to get with it and submit something Or, at the very least, write a letter of introduction to the editor. I've gotten assignments from contact that way too. Thanks for the info and encouragement!

    1. Jennifer Brown BanksMarch 21, 2012 at 7:45 AM

      Hi Karen,

      Indeed, go for it! What have you got to lose? :-)

      Thanks for your thoughts here.

  3. I agree; trade and regional publications are often easier to break into and, I've found, can have quite stiff editorial requirements. I enjoy gradually building my clips and my network by submitting to these smaller but often well-paying markets.

  4. Jennifer Brown BanksMarch 21, 2012 at 5:23 PM

    Hey there, Emily,

    Glad you agree. Glad to hear from you today. Thanks for chiming in. :-) Don't be a stranger.

  5. Trade publication editors often troll other publications within their trade to find competent writers. I've gotten quite a few gigs that way, and some have turned into longtime client relationships. Most trade pub editors are *dying* to find people who not only write well but understand the issues and language of their particular trade, so if you can make a name for yourself, the jobs sometimes come to you!

    Also, when you're looking at trade publications, don't neglect those published by trade associations. Professional associations often have multiple magazines, newsletters, books, etc., and they're often overseen by the same department. So if you do a good job on a magazine article or two, for example, there's a good chance that you'll get called back for press releases, manuals, and lots of other types of projects. I've only got a handful of "regulars," but I do a lot of different things for them.

    1. Jennifer Brown BanksMarch 24, 2012 at 12:59 PM

      Hi again, Julie!

      Excellent feedback. Thanks for sharing this. I'm sure it will prove helpful to many.

  6. Thanks for this post Jennifer,
    this definitely is an interesting topic,

    Since some years ago I actually did produce a small scale (full color) Internal Publication myself, that was also somewhat like a Trade Publication, only than aimed at only the employees of the company itself, for example it contained reports from the various representatives reporting about their experiences with visiting their accounts, info about new releases and developements in the trade etc. etc.

    Only I mainly just published it, and I was less involved in the actual writing or editing myself, just doing the whole Desktop Publishing part, the Lay-out and printing and also distributing it by email. Although I also did other (fun) creative things for it as well, such as drawing cartoons, working with photo's creating the Lay out, and things like that,

    I hardly ever actually wrote something really substantial for it myself, (or had time for) other than the occasional Last Minute Information (LMI) that usually where only just practical short messages. So I need to think about this, if there could be possible Trade Magazines I could write for.