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.
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!