Magazine Writer Job Information

The work of a magazine writer can be literally all over the world, and in different roles with different magazines. The work can be regular, freelance, column work, features writing or combinations of different types, depending on expertise and subjects. Some magazine writers are specialists, like sports writers, commentators, or experts like business writers, who are often drawn from their industry. Many magazine writers, however, are professional writers, working in different fields, with different magazines, doing either freelance or contract work.

Education and training

Writing jobs may or may not require formal qualifications. Many do, but there's always scope for those with experience in the areas covered by the magazines. In technical areas and in many forms of commercial writing, the range of qualifications can vary:

Academic qualifications: Magazines may require formal qualifications in either the subject field, journalism, technical writing, or a mix of these qualifications.

Portfolio: In the majority of cases, magazines will want to see prior examples of published work. This is a quality control, and allows for comparisons between applicants.

Resumes: It's more common than not that a writer's resume will also be required. The resume works as an overview of prior experience, and as a career track measure. Some writing jobs require wide-ranging experience others are specialist jobs, so the resume helps define the writer's range.

The working environment

Magazine writers have various commitments to their clients and employers. The work involves working with editorial requirements, assignments, drafting and researching materials. This work is expected to be of publication standard, and much time is spent meeting client needs.

Regular feature writers are usually on salaries, working in stable work environments. Freelancers often work on multiple magazines, frequently doing several jobs simultaneously during the course of the average day That's a very different environment, governed by deadlines and the economics of the value of the work. Writers have to balance time and money, and need to work on a profitable basis.

That's one of the reasons many writers gravitate to magazine work. The payment for magazine articles can be excellent, either as a per word rate or set fee. Getting your work published in a particular magazine is often very good portfolio material. Writers often target particular magazines in their line of interest specifically for this reason. Where you're published is a good reference to your professional standards. The New Yorker magazine, for example, is a prestige publication which receives literally thousands of contributions from writers a week, because it's a very valuable writing credit.

The career environment

Career advancement for magazine writers is defined by value of both publications and salary. There are many extra bonuses and incentives for successful magazine writers, including syndication and extra work as recognized writers in their subject fields. Syndication can generate a lot of value for writers. It increases their pay dramatically, increases their market exposure and upgrades their status for other work. The extra work alone can be worth as much as the entire income of a writer at entry level, and syndication can mean earning big money.