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How to start writing for trade, niche, and international magazines

There’s a whole world of publishing opportunities outside your local newsstand.

A stack of three magazines on a wooden coffee table.
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As a freelance writer, you have more options for magazines to pitch your ideas to than you may realize. When you peruse the racks at Barnes & Noble or other newsstands, you only see a fraction of the publications circulating the country. Most people are familiar with general-interest consumer magazines like Better Homes & Gardens, People, and AARP The Magazine, but many more lurk in the background. Have you heard about Bee Culture, a trade magazine for professional beekeepers and those interested in the science of honeybees? Or how about the niche publication Teddy Bear Times & Friends, which explores all aspects of the wonderful world of teddy bears? Then there’s Get Lost, Australia’s leading adventure travel magazine. All of these, along with many other niche, trade, and international magazines, are out there, just waiting for your enlightening, entertaining, and/or informative articles.

When you think beyond the publications found on newsstands, more opportunities become available – and even more when you think beyond the border. The U.S. has over 7,000 print magazines, as does the UK. There are many more in other English-speaking countries around the world, and they all have the same basic need — good content, from good writers, which is great news for you. 

Editors of these lesser-known publications are not being bombarded with as many queries as the consumer magazine editors. They tend to respond quicker and be more open to new writers. These magazines allow you to diversify your writing experiences. The topics they cover may surprise you, and they provide you options to write for them, even if you are initially unfamiliar with their niche or trade.



What are niche and trade magazines?

Niche magazines focus on special interests, hobbies, a certain group of people, or an organization. For example, this very magazine is considered a niche publication, given it’s designed and created solely for writers. Other examples include publications that exclusively cover university alumni, woodworking, haute French cuisine, or photography. These specialized markets do not target the general consumer. 

Trade magazines, on the other hand, contain news and information related to a particular trade or industry. There are magazines for private pilots, firefighters, general contractors, restaurant owners, and professional organizations like the American Nurses Association. You don’t have to be a part of these trades to write for the magazine. If you enjoy writing personal profiles, these may be a good option because many of them highlight successful people in a given industry. The meetings and events industry has various magazines featuring locations throughout the world that event planners might consider for their next conference, which opens the door for you to pitch a travel article.

International magazines written in English offer even more opportunities for writers. With everything from the general consumer magazine to trade and niche publications, these offer the chance to pitch new content or take articles you have already sold in the U.S. (and have the rights to) and resell them to these markets.