Four Reasons Why Freelance Article Commissions Dry Up

Every time I run a course on Freelance Writing, students who have had some success, ask the same question -- Why have the jobs dried up?

This is what happens: A writer has been doing very well and the majority of queries sent to particular magazines have generated commissions. Even articles sent to publications on speculation have normally had a good success rate. And then success turns to rejection.

Here are four suggested causes:

  • First, you may have become complacent. When you originally targeted the magazine or newspaper you probably researched it carefully. But when your queries were accepted regularly, you may not have taken the time to check the publications again to make sure you were still writing articles that fitted the magazines' house styles.

    Magazines must keep up with trends in both advertising and content and editors make subtle changes in almost every issue.

    Writers need to make sure they pick these up and make the necessary changes to their material.

  • Second, editors are fairly transient people and move from one magazine to another more frequently than writers would like to think.

    You may have built up a very good relationship with one particular editor and when that person moves on, you must once again build rapport with the new editor. This is compounded when the new editor has a different style that he/she has been asked to introduce into the publication.

    Now you have two problems -- A new editor and a different style.

  • Third, you have let your "writing" slip. You are really only as good as the last article you have had published. Yes, you have had a good reputation in the past, but editors want to know that you can continually come up with great ideas, write terrific copy and file your article before deadline.
  • Fourth, you simply have not been sending enough queries or writing articles on speculation. Selling is an important part of being a freelance writer. You are a free agent and your style and content must always be saleable. And, you must know who is editing which publication.

barb clews is an award winning journalist with nearly 1,000 published articles to her credit. She has been a writer and editor for 15 years and is the author of "Article Writing for Freelancers" and "20 Tips to Increase Writing Skills" Visit barb clews to subscribe to "Words that Work", Barb's monthly ezine packed with tips for writers.

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