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For many freelance writers there are good chances for getting published and paid through the medium of "The Trades." Quite a few of today's big-name writers first got into print in the trade journals and a lot of lesser-known writers find this an easy-to-write and sell-to segment of the literary market place. It is after all a large market place and trade magazineshave a voracious appetite for material that is closely tailored to their readership.
Editors of trade journals are on the look-out for suitable and topical news and feature articles and once you've learned what editors want and where to find it, you will probably sell just about everything you turn out. You may even become a "stringer" or regional correspondent and have your name appear on the editorial masthead.
Over the years I became a stringer for the US-based World Coffee and Tea, for World Fishing, for Oils and Fats International, for Asian Agribusiness and the UK-based Coffee and Cocoa International. For several years I contributed pieces on a regular basis for Seafood International and have also written for Canadian Jeweller ,Gems, Hospitality & Convention News in Australia and Asian Travel Trade in Singapore.
The market is certainly big. There are several thousand trade journals published in Great Britain, the U.S. based WRITER'S MARKETS publication lists more than 3,500 in the USA and there are countless more published in countries such as Australia, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa, Singapore and Hong Kong.
There are trade journals catering for the accounting profession, periodicals dealing with baking, publications on construction, oils and fats, coffee, cocoa, tea, hotel management and travel. There are numerous trade journals for sports such as golf, motor racing , automobiles, and for the fashion industry ,the building industry, and the health care sector. Indeed there are few trades and sectors of the economy which do not have a trade publication of some sorts.
Some trades magazines are now online and the computer savvy freelancer could come across e-zines dealing with trades. It is also worth "surfing" the web-sites of publishing companies since some of the larger ones have a large-number of trade magazines in their "stable." Examples include DMG Business Media Limited, EMAP , Reed Publishing ,Petersen's ,Newsweek, and countless others.
Given such a wide range of literary outlets, it is not surprising that the trade of many freelancers is writing for trade magazines.
Writing for the trades, it has to be admitted, is no freeway to fame and fortune but it can provide a useful source of extra income. Rates paid to contributors vary substantially: some pay at journalistic rates plus expenses where appropriate, others pay as little as US$40 per 1,000 words. As a rough guide you might well expect to get around US$80 per thousand words for writing for trade magazines in the US or the UK.
The competition in this segment of the market is not as tough as it is for consumer publications.
Still, the aspiring trade writer must adopt a very professional approach and find out precisely what the editor requires. It is also wise to concentrate on a few trades, most usefully allied ones, since this will cut down on the volume of research you have to do. You can easily keep up to date through major newspapers and on line news sources that deal with the trade topics that you write on. For instance there are a large number of web sites dealing with coffee so it is quite easy to get the latest news on ,say, coffee production in Vietnam or coffee consumption in Sweden. There are also international organizations,many of whom have a web site and which publish useful data on trade related matters.
Finally, do adhere carefully to deadlines which are of critical importance for these types of magazines. Happy writing!