If your writing is good enough to be published by a third party, it’s good enough to be paid for.

If your writing is good enough to be published by a third party, it’s good enough to be paid for.

You deserve payment for the talent, time and effort that went into those accepted stories or poems, so next time, aim higher – aim for earnings.

These tips will guide you through the maze of submission opportunities, online and in print.

Check for payment pledges for your writing

Before submitting a piece of writing to a magazine or website, check their submission guidelines for references to payment for accepted work.

They may offer a rate per word or line, or a set amount for a particular genre of writing, such as verse or flash fiction. Even a low rate may be worth accepting as a starting point.

It’s also worth checking when you can expect to receive their payment. Some publishers delay payment until several months after publication, while others pay on publication but set the date for it a year or two ahead.

A minority will pay a decent amount, based on union rates, and within a reasonable time-frame, too, so keep an eye out for these top-notch ones.

Offers of “negotiable” pay suggest that something, at least, will be forthcoming. If it turns out to be minimal, put in a polite request for more. 

If payment is not mentioned, assume none will be offered and look elsewhere,  or consult the editor.

Watch for catches when seeking payment for your writing

You may be drawn to a submission opportunity by a mention of compensation for work accepted, but check the details and you could find your hopes raised in vain.

The editor may be referring to a competition prize, and competitions tend to have entry fees, so unless you win, you’ll lose money by entering.

Sometimes a payment pledge turns out to mean payment in kind, often in the form of copies of the magazine or a link to your website. But gestures like these do not amount to payment.

Some magazines ask you to buy a copy first, to get a feel of their style, but you’ll end up worse off that way  if they subsequently reject your work, so don’t be caught out that way, either.

Widen your search to find a paid home for your writing

There are countless websites, magazines and book publishers around the world on the lookout for quality writing in English.

Some of them will pay, and a few of those will pay decent or even generous rates.

By searching online, you can find extensive, up-to-date lists of magazines and websites that pay for the work they publish, with details of what sort of writing they want.

Fine-tune your search for individual genres, such as short stories, humour or rhymes for children, then add words like “international” or “latest” to your search terms, to sweep up anything missed from the first list.

Copy the most promising ones into a document or email to yourself for future reference.

Build rapport with the best professional publishers

Once you find a satisfactory home for your work, where your writing is accepted and satisfactorily paid for, make the most of it.

Address your editor with cordial respect and accommodate any style preferences they may have.

Submit writing to them regularly, so they remember you, but not so often as to burden them.

Show your appreciation by referencing them on your website or social media pages.

Many published writers earn nothing at all for their work, so take pride in any earnings you can make, however modest.

With each paid publication, you’ll be another step forward in the wonderful profession of creative writing.

Categories: Funding

Ol Adams

Letter Review is currently edited by Ol Adams, who is a PhD candidate in Creative Writing, casual academic, and guest lecturer at the University of New South Wales. Ol Adams has had short stories published in leading literary journals such as Overland, Southerly, Seizure, and TEXT. Ol has had novels long listed for major awards such as the KYDUMA, has received government funding to produce plays from Create NSW and screenplays from Screen NSW, and has performed / produced professional work at major theatrical venues such as the Sydney Opera House.