Friday, September 24, 2010

Freelancing For Magazines

My good friend Allison over at Pink Fibro is what I would call a serious wordsmith. She is also a freelancer and did a post on breaking into this business which generated quite a bit of interest this week. Here is my two cents worth on the subject.

I am the first to admit that for the two of us, who have worked in glossies for many years, it is somewhat easier to crack this market as we already have the contacts and a "feel" for different publications.
If you have ambitions to contribute to magazines or newspapers, I would offer the following advice:
- try to write about what you are passionate about and the enthusiasm will shine through.
-what kind of writer do you want to be? are you a stylist as well? Do you write about houses or about general features as well? Have a focus. Know what area you wish to pursue.
- have a good look at the sort of stories the magazine/newspaper publishes and anticipate what THEY might be looking for, not what YOU think they should run.
-just pick the phone up and call the features editor or the homes editor. Who knows, you just might get through.
-always send in clean copy. If your copy is riddled with typos and spelling mistakes they will bin it.
-I usually put a suggested heading and introduction and sometimes breakout boxes if that is their style.

I have always been a writer of sorts although I spent most of my early magazine career on the visual side. Now I do both producing and styling as well as writing. And although I'm not as skilled a wordsmith as dedicated writers like Allison who writes on serious topics like finance and parenting, I do quite well in my niche of design and lifestyle because I am passionate about it and combining the visual with the words works well for me.


  1. Great advice Catherine, thank you!

  2. Your house stories rock because you have a great eye. I have no eye to speak of, which is why I generally stick to text only. This is great advice for potential freelancers!

  3. Catherine, this is such a timely post. Thank you for the insight. I'd love to venture into freelance styling for magazines.

    I'm curious, as a freelance stylist for say an interiors feature, would you contact companies yourself to borrow items for a shoot and come up with the theme yourself? Or, is the concept, products etc commissioned by the relevant magazine? I could imagine that accessing items to style would be quite a challenge for a newcomer.


  4. Hi Tara. The best advice would be to assist a reputable stylist for a while and then branch out on your own. This way you learn lots on the job and get to know all the suppliers. Assistant stylists don't earn much on editorial shoots but they do earn a bit on advertising shoots.