Hey fellow writers. This is an updated version of a Funds for Writers article I sold several years ago. I hope you find some useful tips and maybe a market or two for your work.
Hobbies come in as many shapes, sizes, colors and levels of interest as those who love them.You probably have friends or family who embrace such varied hobbies as tropical fish, coin collecting, gourmet cooking or beading. And how about you? What are your interests and passions apart from the toils of everyday living? I have a good friend, a retired librarian, who makes beautiful quilts. She subscribes to quilting magazines, goes to workshops, and shops for just the right patterned material and threads for her projects. She’s right up there around fanatic on the enthusiasm scale. She’s in that generation that finally has time to indulge in a beloved hobby and there are thousands more like her. As the 50-70 year-old population continues to retire, more and more hobbies will be embraced to enrich the golden years, and this presents a golden opportunity for writers.
Hobby magazines abound and aren’t going away any time soon. So what kinds of articles are these publications looking for? Here are some examples.
1. How to’s – Paper crafts, beading, quilting, crocheting, hobby farming; these are all areas that require well written how-to articles. This is the perfect venue for writing about your own hobby passion, but finding that friend or family member with less writing ability than expertise could also be the perfect partnership for crafting this kind of article.
2. Essays - Magazines like Coinage and Fons & Porter’s Love of Quilting like hobby related essays. If you can include colorful photos so much the better. Conversational tone is preferred as it implies a friendly sharing of ideas and experience.
3. Profiles – Here’s where your interview skills come in handy. Find out the who, what, why, when, where and how of an all absorbing and beloved hobby from an acquaintense, co-worker or maybe even your Mom and write it up. In-depth, upbeat, and informative are words editors use to describe this type of article. Do this and you’ll find that magazines like Country Woman and Hobby Farms are very interested.
4. Tips and Techniques – What hobbyist doesn’t like to know how to do it better? Have a few tips to share about gardening? They may be a perfect fit for Sunset Magazine. Perhaps your Dad is an expert wood carver. I’d wager he’s gathered more than a few bits of advice he’d like to share with you and the readers of Popular Woodworking. Go talk to him about it.
Keep in mind when writing how-to’s that clarity counts. Being concise and precise when laying out instructions for hobby crafts will please your editor. The tone and friendliness of your hobby essay is what will help sell it. Take your time with a profile piece to make sure you’ve got a good grasp of what your hobby expert would like to give to the reader. Make sure your tips and techniques are not re-hashes of information that’s been around for a while. Shoot for unique.
For any excellent ideas you have for a hobby article, here are some markets to consider.
Classic Toy Trains – Pays $75 per page http://ctt.trains.com/en/sitecore/content/Home/Magazine/Submission%20Guidelines/2006/06/CTT%20Submission%20guidelines.aspx
Coinage Magazine – Payment varies / contract http://coinagemag.com/writers-guidelines/
Fons and Porter’s Love of Quilting – Pays $200 http://www.fonsandporter.com/about/submission_guidelines.html
Make – Pays $25 – $100 http://makezine.com/submissions.csp
Popular Woodworking – Pays $50 – $250 http://www.popularwoodworking.com/writersguidelines/
Hobby Farms – Pays $300 and higher for feature articles; “Happenings” articles receive $50 to $75 per piece.http://www.hobbyfarms.com/corporate/writer-guidelines.aspx
Sunset Magazine – Contract / Invoice for payment http://www.sunset.com/general/garden-writers-00400000035101/
Country Woman Magazine – Pays $300 – $600 http://www.countrywomanmagazine.com/2005/cGuidelines.asp
Image: PANPOTE Free Digital Photos