In my first couple of years in the freelance writing game, I would occasionally discover magazines that did not pay their contributors.
In fact, you’d be surprised at how many magazines don’t pay their writers.
These editors rely upon the novice writer’s gullibility and vanity and play on their desire to get published, using phrases like “it will increase your exposure as a writer.”
However, of my first 100 published articles, 34 were written for free.
I would get an unpaid story published if it suited me. I just wanted to build my bylines, so I had one story published in each non-paying magazine that I discovered. This helped me build my bylines rapidly.
Then, over time, as I moved up the travel writing totem pole, I stopped writing for free.
If you encounter a magazine that doesn’t pay, you’ll need to decide about whether or not you want to “donate” an article for the byline, or simply move on. This decision depends largely on where you are in your progression as a writer.
Seasoned writers typically ignore magazines that do not pay and target the ones that pay top dollar. Beginners can’t afford to be choosers. But, whether or not to write an article for free is a decision you’ll have to make for yourself.
Here’s a link to my article about writing for free and when you might consider doing it.
And, here’s a link to my follow-up article about writing for free.