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Freelance Writing: Feature Articles

With so many types of freelance writing projects out there, it can be difficult to know where to start. Over the past two days, I posted about keyword articles and sales letters. Today, I want to talk a bit about feature articles. These pieces make up a large portion of my business, and for this reason I truly believe that every freelance writer should look into moving in this direction.

What is a Feature Article?

Many people are under the impression that a feature article has to appear on the front page of a magazine or similar publication. While this can be true, it is not a prerequisite of being considered a feature article. In fact, I can only think of a couple past pieces of mine that have been mentioned on the front cover.

Generally speaking, you will write feature articles for magazines. But keep in mind that these publications also ask for other pieces such as small fillers, etc. In most cases, your editor will be able to tell you whether your article will be used as a feature or in another capacity. When writing a query letter, I usually make it clear that the piece is going to be long enough to qualify as a feature. This way there is no confusion and the editor knows what to expect.

Feature articles can vary in length. I have put together pieces as small as 500 words, whereas others have exceeded 2,500 words. The length of your article depends on many factors. In most cases, your editor will give you guidance in this department.
Feature Article Payment

How much money can you get paid for writing a feature article? For many freelance writers, this is the best part of these types of projects. Once again, the amount that you get paid depends on the publication that you are working for. Small, local magazines may only pay $.05/word. Although this may seem low, it gives you a start which will allow you to more easily break into larger publications over time. Speaking of larger publications, they have a bigger budget which allows you, the freelance writer, to earn more money. It is not uncommon to come across publications that pay $1/word or more. Keep in mind that these publications are the most difficult to break into. After all, who wouldn’t like to write for $1/word?

In most cases, I receive anywhere from $.25/word to $.75/word. After writing a few features for one publication they may decide to offer you a pay increase. This is why it is important to keep a good relationship with every editor, and to always turn in your best work. 

Finding Markets

Are you interested in writing feature articles? If so, you must start out by finding magazines that accept freelance writers. As I have mentioned many times in the past, the best way of doing this is through Writer’s Market. You can either purchase the book or signup for an online subscription; I do both. Once you have access to Writer’s Market, you can then search for publications that suit your experience level, desired pay rate, and topics of choice. In my opinion, there is no better way to break into writing feature articles.

It can be a lot of fun to write feature articles. In fact, some writers earn so much from these pieces that they never have to dabble in other projects. Once you begin to form relationships and receive repeat work, you will find that increasing your regular income through feature articles is a definite possibility.

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4 Comments »Freelance WritingJune 11th, 2008

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