Publishing Tips

Seven Ways to Get Paid for Your Writing (Besides Submitting to Literary Journals and Contests)

Erika Dreifus

In the August 2018 Publishing Tip, Danielle Mitchell gives you the go-ahead to write what you know—and get paid for it.



Danielle Mitchell is the author of Makes the Daughter-in-Law Cry (Tebot Bach 2017), selected by Gail Wronsky for the Clockwise Chapbook Prize. Her poetry has appeared in journals such as the Baltimore Review, apt, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Eleven Eleven, and Nailed Magazine. Her essays on craft and the writing life have appeared on DIY MFA and Women Who Submit. She is a winner of the Mary Editor’s Prize and the Editor’s Choice Award from The Mas Tequila Review. Danielle is a member of the Community of Writers at Squaw Valley and founding director of The Poetry Lab in Long Beach, California. Learn more about her at

Almost all of my friends are writers and poets who work tirelessly on nights and weekends, days off, and lunch breaks devoting uncounted hours to their craft. The brave ones submit their work to literary journals in the hopes of publication, and receive mountains of rejections letters (and some acceptances to plant as victory flag on top). While the process of writing, editing, submitting, and waiting to hear a response from editors is sometimes a harrowing one, it can feel very rewarding to finally see your name in print. What most writers these days don’t feel is the heft of their growing pocketbooks. Getting published in literary journals usually doesn’t pay.

It’s not totally unheard of to be paid for your literary writing. I was once paid $150 for a single poem—so yes, it does happen! There are all kinds of contests open year round that offer large cash prizes for a single poem, essay, or story. But most of those contests have high submissions fees. I’m interested in places that will pay me for my writing at no cost to me, which is what you will find in the list below. You may have to step outside your wheelhouse to create a piece fit for some of these outlets, but that could be just the creative adventure you need in 2018.

(Payment information included where available.)

1. Make it Rhyme
What to do with those silly rhyming poems about your dog? Consider submitting to one of Cricket Media’s children’s magazines, or the longtime classic Highlights.

Pays $0.25/word

Spider Magazine
Pays $0.25/word

Pays $175 and up


2. List it
Listverse is seeking a particular kind of list: about 10 items, no opinions, pop culture, science, or history angled, and no repeats of previously published content. Browse their site and submission guidelines, and then consider submitting a list.
Pays $100/list


3. Craftsmanship
The Association of Writers & Writing Programs’ (AWP) blog, The Writer’s Notebook is seeking craft-related pieces, and pitches for themed sets of posts. Read their guidelines and bust out that essay on turning the line you’ve had tucked under your grad school pillow for years!
Pays $100/post


4. Parenting 101
I don’t suggest you become a parent just so you can write about it, but if you already happen to be in that line of work, whip up a quirky post about your gregarious two year old, Bainbridge, and send it to one of these mommy/daddy blogs:

Savvy Mom

Literary Mama


Also, think locally. Vancouver, Ottawa, and British Columbia all have outlets that pay for essays specific to their region. Here are two lists of parenting blogs you might consider:

Canadian Parenting Blog

Parenting Magazines via Writers in Charge


5. Use Your Tech Savvy
Essays on IT and web design will require a bit more expertise than an average user might have, but if you are knee-deep in tech knowledge, consider one of these paying outlets:


A List Apart

The Smashing (also accepts Opinion pieces)

Make Tech Easier


6. Shopaholics Unite!
Do you need to make extra money to pay for your fashion sneaker addiction? (No? Just me then…) is devoted to writing about shopping. Posts include reviews of style choices in popular movies and TV shows, extreme couponing, athleisure trends, and everything in between.

Send a pitch first. Full guidelines here:


7. Get Outta Town
Travel writing—whoever said the classics were dead? Next time you take a weekend trip or summer vacation, try writing an essay or review for one of these paying travel websites:

Perceptive Travel

Nevada Magazine

Transitions Abroad

Get super meta and write about writing about how to write and get paid about travel writing (and get paid for it!) at:

The Travel Writer’s Life

Remember—these outlets are still competitive; make sure your writing is of the highest caliber you can make it.

It’s ok to write for practical reasons as well as artistic ones. Even though these outlets are not seeking the next great viral poem, there is still a lot of value in flexing your writing muscles to create these essays, lists, reviews, and articles. I’ve learned that I love writing, and most of the time it doesn’t matter to me what I’m writing as long as I get to do what I love (and get paid for it!).

Getting your writing published in 2018 (no matter the genre) isn’t going to feel bad. Plus, you’re still building your resume as a writer, earning publishing credits, and getting your name out there.

Good luck!

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The Malahat Review posts "Publishing Tips" as a bimonthly guest column on its Publishing Tipswebsite and in Malahat lite. Follow it in order to learn how to improve your professional skills, from the writing of cover letters, to what house style means, to choosing a rhyming dictionary, to having an author photo (as opposed to a selfie) shot. If you have a Publishing Tip you'd like to share, email The Malahat Review at, with "Publishing Tip Idea" in the subject line. Tips should be 750 words or less. If yours is accepted, you will be paid an honorarium of $50.