The internet is fraught with content mills. When so many of these mills pay $5 an article, it’s no wonder freelance writers get discouraged.
But dig deeper, and you’ll find out that all is not so bleak.
We’ve put together a list of websites that pay writers a decent amount of money.
And this list is just a starting point. There are so many other businesses out there that are willing (and able!) to pay a good rate for a professional writer.
And because we didn’t just want to give you just a plain ole’ list, we curated the best pitching advice from the pitching requirements on every website.
Pay: Extended guides pay $150-$250, depending on the topic. Articles pay $50-$75.
Topics: Healthy recipes, nutrition tips, entertaining menus, fitness guides, buying guides, reviews of cooking courses and kitchen appliances.
Pitching lessons: Cooking Detective recommends that writers read this extended Buffer guide and learn how to write better headlines before pitching.
Topic: Parenting with the motto Great parents are Made, not Born. Raising happy and well-adjusted kids the slow and steady way.
Pitching lessons: A Fine Parent asks writers to include as many examples and personal anecdotes from their family and friends as possible, as well as links to authoritative references that support their points, with at least one of them pointing to a respected research study or published book.
Good to know: Submissions aren’t always open, so you should sign up for their waiting list to find out when submissions are open. Pitching usually follows seasonal writing prompts. A Fine Parent is one of the most popular websites that pay writers, so expect some competition.
Pay: $75 to $100 (plus a $150 bonus for top shared articles)
Topic: Motherhood and following your career dreams. Freelance Mom is a community for moms who believe that women can still be who they are after becoming a mom.
Pitching lessons: Your article should offer current practical and actionable advice, tips and be in-depth enough that the reader walks away with new knowledge and new approaches. Your article should be well-organized, written in short paragraphs and include lists and bullet points where it makes sense.
Good to know: Men are also welcome to apply.
Pay: $200 to $225. Longer stories can pay significantly more. Short stories or sidebars often pay half the basic rate.
Topic: International and national news, features about people making a difference, a Christian perspective on science, books, the new economy, and energy voices.
Pitching lessons: Every section has different requirements. Get in touch with the right editor and never start writing before you have a contract.
Good to know: Work from new writers is accepted on spec only. This means that the editors want to see the full story before they accept it for publication. You’ll have to write and submit before you get paid.
5. A List Apart
Pay: The pay is $50 per mini-article, $100 per article and $200 per feature.
Topic: They welcome thoughtful submissions from all kinds of web professionals: designers, developers, architects, strategists, writers and project managers.
Pitching lessons: Make sure your submission:
- Has a thesis and offers a clear argument—not just a list of tips and tricks.
- Has a voice. Be bold, interesting, and human.
- Is supported with convincing arguments, not just opinions. Fact-check, and cite sources where appropriate.
Pay: $100 to $300 per published article, depending on the assignment.
Topic: Building a writing career.
Pitching lessons: Get to know our style. Know and understand our audience. A good rule of thumb is to ask yourself the following questions about any freelance writing articles you’d like us to consider:
- Does it offer new or unique tips on writing?
- Will it help other writers build their businesses?
- Can it provide assistance as somebody builds a freelance lifestyle?
Pay: When I was first researching for this article, Upworthy was quoting a rate of up to $200 per story. The rate no longer appears on their Write for Us page, but they reportedly pay $0.23 to $0.35 per word.
Topics: Positive news, social justice, original stories that support the mission of creating a better world.
Pitching lessons: Upworthy is looking for stories that are:
- Surprising (Is the topic, narrative, character, or outcome something truly new?)
- Meaningful (If a million people saw this story, would it make the world a better place?)
- Shareable (Would you share it? Would your friends share it?)
Pay: $100 to $200 for every accepted article or tutorial.
Topic: Graphic design, Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, open source design and utility software for designers.
Pitching lessons: Always credit your sources. It’s a part of protecting and respecting your community of artists.
Pay: They pay 25 cents/word for shorter pieces (1,200-1,500 words) and for longer investigative features (2,500-3,000 words). You can expect to earn about $750-$1000 for an in-depth feature story.
Topic: Environmental issues, including: wildlife and lands conservation, innovations in science and technology, public policy, climate and energy, animal rights, public health, environmental justice and cultural survival, related film, music, and books.
Pitching lessons: We prefer that writers query us before submitting a story. Please describe why you believe the story is newsworthy, specific angles you will investigate, and whom you will interview. The more details you can provide, the better.
Pay: They pay $50-$75 for articles they request for the website, $100-$150 for interviews and personal stories, and $150-$200 for articles with specific income advice.
Topic: The craft and business of getting paid to travel.
Pitching lessons: Familiarize yourself with their style before you pitch by signing up for their free newsletter.
Topic: College experiences
Pitching lessons: Our dream contributors are active members of the Cosmo community and follow Cosmo on multiple social media channels.
Good to know: This is on spec work. This means that you have to submit your completed story, not just the pitch of an idea. The good news is that once you’re on their roster of writers, you might get assignments easier.
Pay: $1.75/word for a feature in the print publication (not confirmed on their website)
Pitching lessons: Before you query us, please take a close look at our magazine at the library or newsstand. This will give you a good idea of the different kinds of stories we publish, as well as their tempo and tone. In addition, please take the time to look at the masthead to make sure you are directing your query to the correct department.
Pay: $100 (not confirmed on their website).
Topics: Parenting, Body and Mind, Work and Money, Home, Relationships, Entertainment, Beauty, Food, Travel.
Pitching lesson: Tell us the topic of your piece in 1-2 lines maximum. Then explain your angle — your new contribution to the topic, what’s insightful/entertaining/counter-intuitive/poignant about your approach. For this, again, 1-2 lines maximum. Give us the first paragraph of the piece and then an outline of the rest. If it’s a list, include a few sample entries.
14. Working Mother
Pay: $0.20/word for a piece with limited reporting. (Unconfirmed on their website.)
Topic: working moms and their relationship with work, family, personal well-being or a mixture of these topics. They’re looking for tightly focused pieces that celebrate working moms.
Pitching lesson: The best way to pitch an idea that can work: Read Working Mother for content and tone.
Have you pitched any of these publications? How did it go? Feel free to link to any posts that you published on any of these websites.