Whether you want to break into magazine article writing or promote a nonfiction book, writing and submitting fillers is likely the easiest and quickest way to accomplish those goals.
Fillers are short written pieces used to fill space in a publication. They average about 100 words or less but can be longer if the topic supports it. While fillers are typically used in print publication, informational websites use them, too.
The great thing about fillers is that you write them and send them. No query letter needed. Depending on the publication, pay ranges from a low of about $10 to a high of about $50 or more. Considering that you can write and send out dozens of fillers in a short amount of time, you can make a decent income while getting your foot in the door at numerous publications. When an editor uses one of your filler items, you’ve earned a credential with the publication paving the way to send a query letter asking for an article assignment.
Thumb through just about any magazine and you’ll start noticing fillers. You’ll see them in the form of fun facts, quick tips, Did You Know? items, and quizzes. For nonfiction book authors, extract a few tidbits from your book, put them into any one of these formats, and add a short credit line, i.e., “Extracted from My Fabulous Book by Ima Goodwriter.”
Choose specific magazines. If your goal is to write cause and effect essay for a specific type of magazine, write fillers appropriate to those publications. For example, you might send “Five Fun Facts about Dish Detergent” to Good Housekeeping magazine, but it is unlikely to be picked up by Men’s Health. Likewise, if you are writing a filler to promote your book, choose a publication that targets the same audience your book does. If you subscribe to the magazines you want to write for, your research should be quick and easy. If not, go to the library and spend an hour doing your research there. Your primary goals are to simply determine if the publication uses filler items and, if so, the name of the editor to send them to.
Write multiple filler items. It is perfectly acceptable to send 3-5 filler items at one time to the same publication. So write a bunch of fillers and group them together.
Follow guidelines. Use the same courtesy you would use if you were submitting a query letter. Identify the editor and follow any stated guidelines for submitting work. And remember that these small filler items are a reflection of your work so pay attention to grammar, spelling and punctuation. Fillers should be ready to use when they hit the editor’s “in” box.
By spending just a few hours a week on writing and sending fillers, you can add a few bucks to your bottom line, beef up your credentials, and open doors for bigger assignments and better writing opportunities.
If you’ve been a struggling freelance writer, losing faith that you can ever make a great living as one, STOP! Stop taking the “low road” by scouring the Internet and accepting low paying freelance work. Stop sitting on the sidelines—get into the game. STOP saying, “no, I can’t,” and START saying, “yes, I can.” Get serious and take action to learn how to write where the money is. Click here for more information about the freelance writing life.