Review: The Urban Muse Guide to Online Writing Markets
Finding good online markets to write for is like panning for gold. When you dip your pan in the waters of the Web, instead of gold, you often get lots of rocks. Not a great way to find leads.
So when The Urban Muse Guide to Online Writing Markets was published, I was intrigued, but skeptical. Not because of the author (seasoned freelance writer Susan Johnston) but because so many online markets pay so little.
I’m also fairly new to freelance writing. So besides leads, I needed advice. That’s why I bought the guide which promised both. It is $15.99 (USD) and easy to buy online. Here’s what I found.
Who’s it for?
The guide is appropriate for beginners and more experienced writers, who want to write articles, essays, blog posts, and other content for online markets. Print magazine writers and journalists who want to write for online markets will likely also find this guide useful.
It’s a 61-page, easy-to-read PDF with distinct sections on:
- The why and how of writing for the web
- Samples of successful query emails
- A glossary of writing and web terms
- A directory of online markets
- Other places to find online markets
What markets are included?
There are just over 40 freelance markets listed, and they are diverse – business, parenting, writing, web development, personal finance, entertainment, and news, are just a few examples. There’s a lot to choose from. I was happy to see many writing markets that I’d never heard of. Each listing includes topics covered, a link to writer’s guidelines or general contact information, and pay rates (where available). Markets are listed alphabetically, and by pay level.
How helpful is the advice?
The advice is great because it’s based on Johnston’s considerable experience. She includes tips on how to query, what to do if you have zero clips, how to track submissions, how to negotiate better rates, and much more. Real-life samples of query letters and the articles they sold, show how the pitching process works. From a business perspective, Johnston also offers advice on writing strategically to increase revenue. Even experienced writers will find lots of tips here.
What about rates?
It’s difficult to choose the highest-paying gig in the guide because publications price differently (per word, per article, and so on). I also don’t want to steal Johnston’s thunder by revealing her research. I will say, based on my own research and what’s in this guide, that these are the highest-paying web markets I’ve seen. Rest assured, there are no content mills, bidding sites, and other low-paying markets in this guide.
There’s so much in this guide, it’s tough to know what would improve it, except more markets. I’d love to see more science, technology, and culture markets, but that’s my preference. There’s plenty of other markets here to keep me going. You may not be interested in all of the 40 or so markets listed. I suspect though you’ll find exciting new niches to write for.
This guide is worth buying. Besides the solid leads and great query advice, here are the 3 major reasons why I recommend it:
- The writing markets are pre-tested
Johnston has already written for many of these markets. You’re getting solid leads that have been test-driven by a professional writer with many online bylines. That says a lot.
- I’m building clips and being paid
Has the guide helped me sell work? I’m very happy to say, “Yes!” Out of 4 pitches, I’ve sold 2 articles, and been invited to be a regular contributor to one market.
- It’s the guide that keeps on giving
After buying you can sign up for guide updates by email, at no additional charge. So when new markets are added, you’ll hear about them. Also included are tips on sleuthing out new markets on your own.
If you’re a writer looking for listings of solid freelance writing markets and expert how-to-query advice, The Urban Muse Guide to Online Writing Markets is a must-have.
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