Do You Write About Animals? Where to Find Paying Markets
By Paula Fitzsimmons
If you’re a freelance writer specializing in topics like health, finance, and tech, paying markets are relatively easy to locate. If you write about animals or the environment, however, your options start to decrease . . . but not by as much as you may think. Discovering paying markets for your work is easier if you know where to look. The following ideas are designed to help you widen your search.
To my knowledge, the markets listed in this article pay freelancers. Still, I suggest you read submission guidelines for each, or contact the editor before committing to write for them.
National consumer magazines
It may not seem obvious, but opportunities to write animal-related stories for national consumer magazines do indeed exist. For instance, I’ve written articles about companion animal health & wellness issues for Prevention, a magazine focused on human health.
Are there other general magazines that cater to animal-loving readerships? You bet. Flip through the pages of your favorite national magazines – or visit their websites – and you’ll likely see sections devoted to animals. For instance, Family Circle and Woman’s Day print companion animal-related articles that run the gamut of health, behavior, wellness, and first aid. Another publication that comes to mind is O, the Oprah Magazine – articles about topics like wolf protection, CAFOs, and advocacy organizations like Sheltering Animals of Abuse Victims, have helped bring animal protection issues into the mainstream.
Consumer magazines tend to pay very well, but they can be tough to break into. It’s not to say that you can’t snag a byline in a national publication, but your query and your skills will have to shine.
Niche consumer animal magazines
Pay for these markets varies, but the competition is not as fierce as with consumer publications.
If you’re a freelance writer, I’m guessing you’d rather be practicing your craft than poring through submission guidelines. This aspect of freelancing may be drudgery, but it’s also a necessity. Here are several resources I highly recommend . . .and use.
• 2016 Writer’s Market Books at Writer’s Digest Shop:This longstanding fee-based directory includes writer submission information for consumer magazines, trade magazines, and organizations. You can buy (or borrow) the paper copy, but I like the online version because it’s regularly updated and easier to search.
• Media Bistro:
They publish an on-line “How to Pitch” series, which gives the low-down on how to approach magazine editors with article pitches.
Check out their free “Websites That Pay Writers 2015: These 79 Sites Offer $50 and Up” article for potential online markets. This is Carol Tice’s site, she also runs Freelance Writers Den, a membership site for freelance writers.
Note: Writer’s Market and Freelance Writers Den are affiliates, which means I may earn a commission if you make a purchase as a result of clicking these links. That said, as of this writing I’m a paying member of all three sources mentioned in this box – so I not only recommend them, I use them myself.
If you’re a paying member of a national animal welfare organization, you may receive a subscription to their custom magazine. The articles in these publications delve deeper into issues, than say, a social media or blog post would.
Several years ago I wrote an article about exotic bird rescues for the defunct ASPCA Animal Watch. A few other organizations that publish their own magazines include National Audubon Society, Defenders of Wildlife, and Humane Society of the United States.
Rates for these markets vary – some are comparable to that of consumer magazines.
Regional companion animal magazines
You know those free magazines you see at the entrances of cafes, bookstores, and grocery stores? For instance, there’s a magazine in my region called Fetch, which focuses on issues relating to dogs.
Not all of these markets pay (and if they do, it tends to be on the lower end) but it’s worth it to check with the editor. If you don’t have clips yet, this is a great way to get some. You can usually find contact information on the publication’s masthead.
It’s no secret the newspaper industry has experienced a decline in recent years; and many have been forced to lay off permanent staff. Yet they still have to fill their pages with content – which means opportunities exist for freelancers. Aside from approaching appropriate editors at your local newspaper, look at some of the larger ones, including The Guardian and The New York Times.
What are some of your go-to brands? Is there a particular food your furred, feathered, or scaled family member loves? Or an animal-loving vegan food company whose products you crave? Check to see if your favorite businesses have a blog, and if they’re willing to pay freelance writers.
Trade and professional magazines
Various groups, such as veterinarians, vet techs, and companion animal food companies publish trade magazines. Payment can vary but is typically above average. If you can’t locate magazines in any of the market guides, you can usually find them by doing a simple online search – the name of the company or industry + magazines. For instance, a Google search for “veterinary magazines” yielded pages of potential markets.
I don’t know of any print publication, newspaper, or nonprofit that doesn’t have an online presence. Some use content that’s been recycled from their print version; while others publish original website content.
There are also lots of magazines that strictly have an online presence. Payment for these markets are all across the board – from zero on up. Check market listing directories and do online searches for editor contact information.
Finding paying markets that value your work can be tedious – especially when you’re just starting out. Persistence is a factor that will determine your level of success.