Wednesday, December 9, 2009

How the Web Helps You Break into Fitness Writing

Editor Lisa Tant's blog post over at Flare magazine got me thinking about when I was first trying to break into writing health and fitness articles for pay.

It seems easier these days to connect with editors (and hopefully charm them with your brilliant ideas and pithy writing).
Plus, with today's web tools, you can put your writing in front of an audience any time you want to--no need to wait for an article assignment.

Here are three ways to use web technology for breaking into writing fitness articles that pay.

Blogs. Way back when--like, you know, 5 or 10 years ago--if you wanted to prove to an editor you could write, you had to first somehow get published in the print media. Then you'd photocopy your prized article and snail mail it around.

Now blogs let you create your own publishing platform and, if you go about it the right way, an audience of interactive readers.

Of course, blogging isn't a direct money-maker for most people. But if your posts are decent, they make good writing samples that could lead to paid assignments in magazines, on websites, on other blogs and even--and here's where you've got to be a real superstar--a book deal.

Plus editors have blogs too! You can and should read editors' blogs and comment on posts--it helps build a friendly rapport and keeps you in the loop about what's on their minds, which could help you write more targeted queries.

Web Exclusives. Magazines used to simply throw whatever articles were in the print magazine onto their website. Now a lot of big-name magazines are developing web-exclusive content--articles you can only find online, not in the magazine.

Sometimes you can sell an article to a magazine's website even when you're not having any luck with the print mag. (Did I mention I recently got my first assignment at

The downside for writers is that web-based articles generally pay less than what you can nab for a print article. BUT ... a lot of editors offer this silver lining: The editing process is less "picky" with web exclusives.

For one thing, there are no revisions as far as I can tell, so the per-hour rate is pretty decent. Count me in for more web exclusives!

Twitter. I love that I get a glimpse into the personal and professional lives of editors through their Twitter updates. I love that I can find out what stories a magazine is working on from an editor's tweet looking for sources. I love that I can @mention or direct message (DM) editors, engaging in a funny discussion or sending a friendly hello. And I love that editors respond on Twitter!

Have any of the above tactics worked to help you network with editors and/or score writing assignments? Write a comment to share your experience.

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For more info about breaking into writing for magazines and websites, check out How to Write Winning Queries: Get your articles published for profit and promotion as a health/fitness writer and expert.

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