Remember your letters!

Unless you are a pure-play fiction writer, writing letters should be part of every freelancer’s repertoire. I’m not going to suggest that letter writing can make you wealthy but I do believe it should not be overlooked.

I am going to explain why I think it can be a useful tool and also give some tips…

Why write letters

I believe letter writing, despite the relatively small size of the potential rewards, is worth keeping up as an activity as:

  • It shouldn’t take long once you find a magazine and scan for articles to respond to
  • It can break up a writing day, particularly if you have a temporary block
  • You should be reading a range of material for ideas anyhow
  • It gives you practice in being concise
  • Being published even in a small way gives you a morale boost
  • It can get you familiar with the exact style a publication is looking for.

Possible downsides

The return rate may be low but that shouldn’t discourage. All writing, even blogging, can help refine skills.

A real-world example

I recently wrote seven letters (not deliberately chosen, it ended up that way) and three of them were published. Two of them paid a token sum.

Two of the letters were published in the same magazine; this then allows me to consider a pitch to the editor for a full blown article, so fingers crossed!


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