Tired of writing for pennies (or peanuts or whichever cliche for crappy pay you prefer) and ready to earn money online for real?
We’re tired of it, too. That’s why Carol started paying for posts a few years back — and why she upped her rates to $75+ last fall. And it’s why we update our list of sites that pay on a regular basis.
Below is the new-and-improved, early 2016 edition of Make a Living Writing’s list of websites that pay at least $50 per post.
What’s included — and not
Rather than linking to the list we published last fall, we’re posting a comprehensive and updated new list. We’ve added new markets we learned of in the past 6 months and removed sites that have categories of posts that are below $50. That’s our minimum.
In some cases, these sites keep it on the Q.T. exactly what they pay. We’re including markets where freelance writers in our network report they pay more than $50, in order to bring you the widest variety of paying markets possible.
We also removed sites that are not currently accepting pitches, which knocked a good portion of the writing-focused sites off. Sites where you only have a shot at earning $50 writing on spec, or based on traffic or ad clicks, are NOT included. This is a list of markets offering guaranteed pay only!
The list runs the gamut of topics, from parenting and knitting to business and writing, so there should be something here for everyone.
As always, we appreciate any corrections or additions — please post them in the comments. Here’s the list:
Business, Career, and Finance
- B. Michelle Pippin pays $50-$150 for business-related articles.
Back to College pays $55+ for articles that address the needs of adults going back to school.Note: This site is no longer functioning. Brazen (formerly Brazen Careerist) will pay if you pre-arrange it with their editor. They’re looking for posts about higher ed administration, marketing, networking, and recruiting and HR.NOTE: Brazen has apparently changed their business model and it’s no longer clear whether they accept guest posts.
- CEO Hangout will pay $50 if you pre-arrange it with the editor — send a pitch and negotiate payment before writing the article. They run posts about the CEO lifestyle, success stories, interviews, and other reported features of interest to business leaders.
- DailyWorth pays $150 for articles about women and money. They list a blackhole editorial@ email address, but I recently tweeted them about how to submit a pitch, and they suggested hitting up the managing editor, Koa Beck.
- Doctor of Credit pays $50 for personal finance articles that focus specifically on credit.
- eCommerce Insiders pays $60-$150 for articles about online retailing.
- FreelanceMom pays $75-$100 for posts about running a business as a busy parent.
- FreshBooks (yup, that same invoicing site Carol recommends) pays $200 a post and up. Be prepared to negotiate to get a better rate.
- Acorns has a new online pub called Grow Magazine that pays $50+ for finance writing geared toward millennials. They don’t have guidelines posted, but they told me to submit to email@example.com with the word STORY in your subject line. We don’t normally recommend those generic emails, but because the pub is still new, it might not be a huge black hole yet.
- IncomeDiary pays $50-$200 for articles about making money online, including SEO, affiliate sales, and traffic generation.
- Mirasee pays $200 for 1,000-2,000-word posts on marketing, business productivity, and growth topics. [NOTE: Mirasee is currently paying only for posts they commission. Unsolicited posts are unpaid.]
- Modern Farmer reportedly pays around $150 for articles.
- Penny Hoarder shares money-saving ideas. You’ll need to negotiate pay with the editors during the pitching process — and be willing to forego a link back to your site.
pays $1,000 for 2,000-word articles on data and economics.The catch? Articles must be submitted on spec. They occasionally post requests for articles on specific topics, which might get you closer to that big paycheck. [NOTE: This pub’s writer’s guidelines now say they pay $50/article. Be prepared to verify/negotiate payment.]
pays $100 for articlesabout SEO, content marketing, and social media. [NOTE: This pub’s writer’s guidelines now say they pay $50/article. Be prepared to verify/negotiate payment.] The Work Online blog pays $50 per post. NOTE: This site is now gone.
- Aish accepts first-person accounts on the positive influence of Orthodox Jewish beliefs on everyday life — and they pay $200 on publication. Know the frum life to succeed here, and email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Cosmopolitan.com pays $100 for essays about college. They’re also using this essay submission as a way to find writers for assignments.
- Dame reportedly pays $200 for essays. They do accept reported features and other article types, and pay rates may vary for those.
Essig Magazine offers $100 for essays about a personal experience. NOTE: This site is no longer active.
- The Establishment pays $125 and up for reported stories and essays.
- Eureka Street is an Australian site that pays $200 for analysis or commentary on politics, religion, popular culture or current events in Australia and the world. They also pay $50 for poetry, which seems to be a rarity these days. [NOTE: This publication is closed to submissions from December 13, 2016 to January 10, 2017. Anything submitted during this time will not be read – please verify they’re back open before you submit.]
- Guideposts pays $250 for Christian faith-based essays.
- LightHouse pays $100 for uplifting essays by blind or visually impaired writers.
- Narratively pays $200-300 for 2000 – 2500-word essays on specific topics. Check their guidelines for a list of current needs.
- The New York Times Modern Love column reportedly pays as much as $300 for essays on any topic that could be classified as modern love.
- Skirt pays $200 for essays about women’s issues.
The Toast pays for essays. Negotiate your rate as part of the pitching process.[NOTE: The Toast is closing July 1, 2017, and is no longer accepting submissions.]
- Vox First Person reportedly pays in the $400 range for personal essays of about 1,500 words. Pitch email@example.com.
xoJane pays $50 for essays about crazy things that happened to you, beauty or fashion trends you’ve tried, and other women-focused topics.xoJane was purchased by Time, Inc., and shuttered on Dec. 31, 2016. Certain content will fold into InStyle.
Family and Parenting
- Babble pays $100-$150 for posts on parenting, entertainment, pregnancy, beauty, style, food, and travel. (NOTE: Babble’s writer’s guidelines are no longer easily found. You may have to do some sleuthing to find contact info for an editor.)
- Just Parents is a UK-based site that focuses on pregnancy and parenting. They pay $60 per post.
- Parent.co posts non-snarky articles about parenting and family issues. Pay starts at $50.
Scary Mommy pays $100 for original parenting posts.[NOTE: No longer pays for unsolicited submissions.]
- Stork Guide focuses on pregnancy and parenting of newborns and toddlers. They pay $50+ per post.
- Well Family (the New York Times’ parenting blog) pays $100. Pitch the editor.
- The Anxiety Foundation pays $50 for mental health articles.
- The Atlantic’s online health section reportedly pays $200.
- PsychCentral covers mental health. They don’t list a pay rate on their site, and they didn’t respond to my query about pay, but a reader on last year’s list reported they are a paying market. [UPDATE 12/2016: The website says they don’t pay, but exceptions are made if you discuss payment BEFORE submitting.]
Lifestyle and General Interest
- BBC Britain doesn’t publish their pay rate, but I’ve seen reports of $350-$1,000 for various BBC sites. Pitch stories with a British slant for an international audience.
- Bitch Magazine’s website pays for pop culture features. Pay is variable, so negotiate to get your desired rate.
- BookBrowse pays for book reviews! Writers accepted into their stable of reviewers will earn $50 for a 600-word review.
BuzzFeed pays for commentary and reported articles. They don’t divulge their pay rates, but I’ve seen reports of $200 for a relatively easy commentary[NOTE: BuzzFeed is no longer accepting submissions.]
- The Daily Beast reportedly pays $250 and up. Their submission guidelines have a black-hole editorial@ email address, so you’ll want to do a little digging to find the right person to pitch.
Gawker Media reportedly pays $250 for reported features and essays on its family of sites, which includes Deadspin, Jezebel, and more. They prefer to see fully written stories up to 1,200 words.Note: Gawker.com shut down in August 2016.
- getAbstract reportedly pays $300 for longer (2,000-4,000 word) book summaries.
- Gothamist pays $50-$150 for reported pieces about New York.
- HowlRound pays $50 for blog posts about the theater — management and marketing, play production and writing, and so on. Note: This market asked to be removed because they were receiving pitches that were not well targeted. Target your pitches so we can keep providing these lists.
- The International Wine Accessories blog pays $50 and up for articles.
Pay at The Daily Dot’s online magazine The Kernel varies, so be prepared to negotiate. I saw a report of $350 for a 1,000-2,000 word option piece.[NOTE: The Kernel paused weekly publication as of July 2016.]
- Knitty raised their rates to $120-$200 for articles about knitting and knitting patterns. They also have a sister site —Knittyspin — for knitters who like to use handspun yarn.
- Lifezette pays $100-$200 for articles on parenting, politics, faith, health, and pop culture. Contact the appropriate editor with your idea.
- Listverse pays $100 for long (1,500 word) lists on various topics.
The Mix, a network of contributors to Hearst online publications (including Country Living, Bazaar, Esquire, Popular Mechanics, and more) pays $50-$100 for articles.[NOTE: The Mix is no longer accepting submissions.]
- New York Observer pays $100 on posts about politics and culture for “sophisticated readership of metropolitan professionals.”
- OZY does pay freelancers, but rates vary.
- Paste pays $50+ for submissions in many different areas.
Playboy. com pays up to $350, depending on the topic. NOTE: Playboy has removed their editorial contact page.
- Pretty Designs covers fashion and beauty. You’ll need to negotiate per-post pay.
- Refinery29 reportedly pays $75 and up for slideshows, articles, and essays on various topics. They also post their needs for specific columns on their guidelines page.
- Salon pays $100-$200 for essays and reported features, even very long ones.
- Smithsonian Magazine Online reportedly pays established freelancers up to $600 for reported articles.
- The Tablet pays for articles on Jewish news, ideas, and culture. Pay varies, so be prepared to negotiate. I saw a report of $1,000 for a heavily reported 2,000+ word feature.
- TwoPlusTwo Magazine pays $200 for original posts about poker. They post articles for six months, after which time the rights revert to the writer, so you can sell reprint rights or post it on your own blog.
- Upworthy pays $150-$200 for 500-word posts.
- Vice‘s pay rate varies, so you will need to negotiate if you’d like to write about food, technology, music, fashion, and other lifestyle topics.
- YourTango pays $50 for posts on love, sex, travel, mental health, and just about anything else that affects your relationships.
- A List Apart covers web design. They pay $200 per article.
- Compose pays $200 and $200 in Compose database credits for articles about databases.
The Graphic Design School blog pays $100-$200 for articles and tutorials about Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, and open source design tools. NOTE: This site has removed its submission guidelines page, and it’s not clear whether they still take guest posts.
- Indeni pays $50-$200 for posts that cover Check Point firewalls, F5 load balancers or Palo Alto Networks firewalls.
- Linode pays $250 for articles about Linux, Socket.io, NoSQL databases, game servers, Open Change, and Web RTC.
- Devilish about web development? SitePoint pays $100-$150 for articles on HTML, CSS, Ruby, PHP, and more.
- SlickWP pays $100 for posts about WordPress and the Genesis Theme framework.
- Tuts+ pays $100 and up for tutorials on various technologies, including Web design and Flash. Tuts once ran a network of 16 different blogs, including Freelance Switch, but it’s all together on a single site now that encompasses design, gaming, photography, writing, and more.
- WordCandy pays 6-10 cents a word for ghostwritten pieces about WordPress — these will appear on some of the larger WordPress blogs, such as wpmudev.
- WPHub pays $100-$200 for posts on web design trends, coding best practices, and other WordPress-related topics.
Travel and Food
- Big Grey Horse page $125-$200 for posts about Texas — photos must be included. Texas-based writers are preferred, because the site requires in-person visits.
Cultures and Cuisines pays $200 per article. NOTE: This site is now gone.
- Desert Times pays $50-$100 for stories about the deserts of North America and the culture and lifestyle of the people who live there. They prefer writers to also submit photos.
- Expatics serves U.S. expatriates. This is another site where you’ll need to negotiate pay before you write your article.
- Fund Your Life Overseas pays $75 for articles about business ideas that provide enough income for U.S. ex-pats.
- The International Wine Accessories blog pays $50 and up for articles.
- Saveur starts at $150 for “amazing stories about food and travel.”
- The Salt (NPR’s food blog) reportedly pays $200+.
- ClearVoice is a platform to connect bloggers with brands in various niches, as well as commissioning posts for its own blog. Pay is variable but ranges as high as $250-$400 (from what we’ve seen so far). When you apply, you set the rates you’re willing to accept; then, the platform emails you when appropriate opportunities arise. It’s not a bid site — fees are preset. But gigs are presented to multiple writers, and then the client chooses who they’ll work with. Luckily, there’s no elaborate application process, once your profile is set — you simply reply that you’re interested, and they let you know if you win the gig.
- Contently pays about 35 cents a word for their freelancer-focused online magazine. Download their pitching guidelines here.
- Freedom with Writing pays $50+ for lists of paying publishers. They also pay for short ebooks, so there is an option for longer-form content, too.
- Make a Living Writing. That’s right, this-here blog pays $75-$100 for guest posts, depending on complexity and research needed. Be sure to read our guidelines thorougly, especially our list of the topics we’re actively looking for guest posts on right now. Pitching one of those will seriously improve your odds!
- WOW! Women on Writing pays $50-$150.
- The Write Life pays for some posts — you’ll need to negotiate your rate.
Tips for successful pitching
Before you pitch any of these sites, read the guidelines carefully and study the posts they’ve already run. Make sure you either have a fresh topic or a new way of exploring an issue they’ve covered before.
Paying markets are more competitive than posting on free sites. And the more bad pitches a site receives, the likelier they will reconsider whether they even accept guest posts, let alone pay for them. (Believe me, this happens, and it is the reason some sites we’ve listed before are no longer accepting pitches.)
Have you written for any of these markets? Found others that pay well? Tell us in the comments below.
Jennifer Roland is a freelance education, financial institution, and technology writer — and the guest-blog editor here at Make a Living Writing. Her latest book, 10 Takes: Pacific Northwest Writers, was published by Gladeye Press.