For freelance writers, the eternal bugbear remains what to pitch — and where and to whom and how much will it yield?
Here’s the bad news: no magic bullet exists. Databases (free and subscription-driven) fall quickly out date. And when calls for submissions roll out — via listserves, newsletters, writers groups, etc. —you’ll be jostling alongside dozens, maybe even hundreds, of other freelancers.
That’s not to say “don’t buy” or “don’t try,” however! These compendiums contain a lot of good intel, even if much of it slips out of date as the industry shifts and editors hop from job to job. They’re especially useful to writers in empire-building mode.
Free searchable database of paying markets and their rates.
Berkeley School of Journalism
Freelance opportunities sometimes pepper the job and internship listings here.
A newsletter and subscription service for submission calls
Freelance Rates Database
Contently’s fee spreadsheet also gives you an idea who’s working with freelancers
Tips, an editor database and emerging-writer network for an annual $99 subscription
Freelancing with Tim
A substack newsletter from New York Times staffer Tim Herrera. It includes advice, as well as links to contributor guidelines like this. He also runs Zoom panels. Subscriptions start at $3/month.
A sortable database includes calls for submissions and paid freelance gigs. It also rounds up opportunities from Guru.com, O-Desk, CraigsList and other portals. (Traditionally, bid and cattle-call sites don’t yield robust pay, but if you’re in a bind — or building your portfolio — they can be worth a look.)
Aimed more at staff jobs, Gorkana sends out a weekly newsletter, detailing who landed what gig – and sharing their email addresses. Great for expanding your little black book…
A bulletin board run by the distinguished Columbia School of Journalism in New York. The freelance section is small, but worth checking every few weeks.
A UK-oriented bulletin board for journalists and editors.
These listings focus more on journalism staff jobs, but remember those adverts often contain good contact information … and can flag a changing of the guard (a good time to approach — or re-approach — a publication). Paid memberships also include guidelines on pitching many A-list outlets in the U.S.
A compendium of freelance gigs, including copywriting
Opportunities of the Week Newsletter
Sonia Weiser shares intel with subscribers (recommended $3/month, but sponsorships are available for low-income authors)
Browse listings on this free database
Created by WLHB Instructor Naomi Tomky, this free resource showcases queries that stuck the landing.
A subscription media newsletter and online network
This academy runs panel discussions, where top-shelf editors detail their needs. Join an active discussion or purchase one of the recordings.
Where to Pitch
A free site and paid newsletter by a Pitch Like A Honey Badger alumna, who writes for CNN, Playboy, The Atlantic, The Washington Post and The New York Times.
Who Pays Writers?
While it doesn’t contain contacts or guidelines, Scratch’s crowdsourced list gives you an idea who’s buying… and at what rate.
World Wide Freelance
An e-newsletter details some openings and you can access a 700-outlet database for free. A $1.87/month subscription opens up another 1,800 suggestions.
The Writer’s Co-op
An audio career handbook about running your freelance business. Subscriptions start at $3/month and past materials are available bundled.
The Write Life
19 Websites and Magazines That Want to Publish Your Personal Essays
Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook (UK)
More than 4,500 listings pack this annual volume.
Writer’s Handbook (UK)
This paperback details 1,300 magazines, British literary agents and book publishers, and also gives access to 2,471 more periodical suggestions in the firstwriter.com online database (which also sells unlimited access for $4.49/month).
Writers Market (book)
This chunky annual book remains my favorite tool, because paging through it helps me think laterally and notice unexpected genres and markets where a story might fit. Pitching slightly “off-brand” can be powerful (like a travel story to an automotive or beauty magazine): making your access and expertise unexpected and alluring.
Writers Market (online)
Penguin Random House just bought this database, so it’s down. But usually over 9,000 items fatten it (free week-long trial, then a modest subscription fee).
Advice articles and a small smattering of freelance job listings. The “hall of shame” reveals ongoing scams.
Note: you’ll see a distinct lack of job-bidding sites like Upwork here. That’s because the business model often attracts cheap, difficult clients. Companies like this, Contently and the EnVeritas agency can be useful in a lull, but look to pitching big titles and brands directly — and building your professional network — if your goal is a lucrative freelance income! — Amanda Castleman, founder of Write Like a Honey Badger
Want to up your query game? Write Like a Honey Badger offers courses on pitching and timely angles for freelancers throughout the year. Students receive feedback from their instructor and peers weekly. Strapped for cash? Our school offers a needs-based scholarship in each course for POC, LGBTQIA and non-binary authors.