Need a good laugh? Humor writing can serve up just the right dose of feel-good vibes to put a smile on your face.
If you’ve got a knack for telling funny stories, when looking for ways on how to make money writing, humor writing is one great way to make money as a freelancer.
Heard any good stories or had any crazy experiences that you could use to land a humor writing assignment? Or maybe you have a way of seeing the ordinary a little differently than others.
That’s usually where great story ideas in this niche begin.
Some consumer magazines still have a place carved out for humor writing, like the Reader’s Digest and The Saturday Evening Post.
A few markets like Cracked and The Funny Times, still exist that exclusively publish satirical and humor writing.
And there’s plenty of other markets that expect a mix of humor writing in every story to please their readers.
Have a funny story to tell? Or want to take a crack at humor writing?
If you want to find freelance writing jobs, check out these 15 humor writing markets:
A healthy dose of humor writing
Can you write for a market that expects a sense of humor in a reported article?
How do you know if you’ve got what it takes to tackle a humor writing assignment?
Start by studying the market, past humor pieces, voice, style, the target audience, etc.
When I’m looking for a laugh or a little inspiration, I go back to some unforgettable humor pieces I’ve read over the years like:
- Some poor guy’s vacation from hell that included falling boulders, crash-landing a plane in a river and other madness
- The time a super-flush toilet sucked a wrap-around skirt right off a woman just before she was about to board a flight
- And a long list of parenting blunder pieces about things like the joys of poop-flinging toddlers and the similarities between an exorcism and combing the hair of a 5-year-old girl
Ready for some humor writing assignments? Check out these markets, study the guidelines, and start pitching:
This in-flight magazine for Alaska Airlines doesn’t have a dedicated humor column, but that doesn’t mean editor Michele Andrus Dill isn’t interested in humor writing.
“We are interested in writers who can cover business with insight and style,” says Andrus Dill. “Local writers who can lend inside perspective to our destination and travel columns and journalists who write with a sense of humor.”
Check the editorial calendar for topics and themes in upcoming issues before pitching.
Rates: $150 to $700
Clubhouse magazines is published by the Christian organization, Focus on the Family. It’s a children’s magazine aimed at 8- to 12-year-old kids, and publishes both fiction and non-fiction humor writing, says Editorial Director Jesse Florea. Examples include:
- Short, humorous how-to articles (e.g., how to get good grades, how to be a good friend)
- Fictional humorous stories with a point (around 500 words)
Rates: $150 to $200
The print version of Cracked magazine died a slow and painful death in 2007, after a 50-year run as one of just a handful of markets dedicated to humor writing.
Fortunately, it lives on as Cracked.com, where Executive Editor Jason Pargin and his team work with writers to serve up laugh-out-loud satirical and humor writing in the form of articles, photo captions, list-posts and more.
Rates: $50 per assignment
Do you live on a farm? Maybe you just live out of town in the country? Or maybe, you leave the city or the suburbs every chance you get for a taste of country life. If you’ve ever seen the city-boys-turned-ranch-hands movie City Slickers, you know some funny and crazy stuff is bound to happen.
And you can write about it for Country, a custom mag published by RDA Enthusiast Brands.
Rates: Up to $250 per assignment
If you want to write for Air Canada’s magazine, enRoute, you won’t find a formal space dedicated to humor writing. Wait, that’s “humour” writing for Canadian pubs like enRoute. But humor still serves a purpose for educating and informing readers in this travel mag.
“We engage our audience through intelligent writing, insight, humour and spot-on service journalism,” says Editor-in-chief Jean-François Légaré. Study the guidelines and back issues before pitching a story idea to Senior Editor Caitlin Walsh Miller.
Rates: Pays $1/word CDN.
It’s no secret that being a freelance writer can have it’s ups and downs. Ever had one of those days where you just had to laugh it off, and move on? Making money writing isn’t always easy, but it’s possible when you learn the business and craft of freelancing and work hard.
Funds for Writers founder C. Hope Clark accepts guest posts for the site (although the guest post calendar is currently booked through June) about how to make money writing. Review the guidelines, and don’t overlook the last line for tips on what can help land you an assignment: “a dash of humor, if possible; a positive note and a happy ending.”
Rates: Pays $50 per assignment
Self-described “publishers and troublemakers” Ray Lesser and Susan Wolpert laugh about this every day. They’ve been publishing The Funny Times for more than 30 years, and the magazine doesn’t include any advertising. Seriously, it’s not a joke.
“Our print publication pokes fun at politics, news, relationships, food, technology, pets, work, death, environmental issues, business, religion (yes, even religion) and the human condition in general,” says Lesser and Wolpert. “Not much is off limits, so do your best to make us laugh.”
Length for stories is typically 500 to 700 words.
Rates: Pays $60 per assignment.
In this Christian-focused magazine for tweens and teens (ages 10 to 14), a little humor can help teach a lesson and build confidence to manage those sometimes stormy years of adolescence.
“Stories in this category use a lighthearted story line that goes beyond one-liners to expose a character-building principle,” says Managing Editor Laura Samano.” The key is to write what’s funny to kids and keep it believable.”
Length for stories is typically 450 to 1,200 words.
Rates: Pays $0.07 to $0.10 per word.
If every kid came with a parenting manual, the world might be a different place. But that’s just not the case, according to The Imperfect Parent. Everybody knows “perfect parenting” is a funny business.
“The name Imperfect Parent came from the disgust of being constantly preached to on how to be the perfect parent, and what we were doing wrong,” says Editor Preston Carlson.
Instead of cookie-cutter, one-size-fits-all solutions to parenting, The Imperfect Parent publishes parenting articles to make you think and make you laugh about things like the euphoria of the school bus taking the kids away, managing an angry-cup-throwing toddler, strategic ways to embarrass your kids as a twisted form of discipline and control, and much more.
“Anything that deals with any aspect of the lighter side of parenting,” says Carlson. “Parody, humorous takes on parenting, satire, an ‘open letter.’ Take your pick. And if you are questioning if your humor crosses the line, then definitely send it in.”
Rates: Pays $25 and up
What do you know about life and culture in the Twin Cities, the North Start state, and the Upper Midwest? If it’s anything close to Garrison Keillor’s Minnesota Bucket List, you’re bound to have some laugh-out-loud stories to write about for Minnesota Monthly.
Editor Rachel Hutton says the best way to break into this magazine is to pitch stories for a First Person or True North feature. And if you’re going for humor, submit a full manuscript, instead of a query letter.
Rate: Depends on assignment.
Want to combine humor writing and fiction, but not ready to commit to crafting a full-length novel? Check out Shouts & Murmurs in The New Yorker magazine.
Rates: Depends on assignment.
Parenting isn’t exactly a cakewalk. Unless of course, you’re the parent of that perfect little angel who is exquisitely well-behaved, well-mannered, and has never thrown a single temper tantrum…ever. LOL. If you can serve up parenting advise with a dose of humor, pitch a personal narrative or essay to Parent.co Community Manager Sara Goldstein (email@example.com). Like it or not, this pub prefers writers pitch via Submittable. Check back for an open call for submissions.
Rates: $50 and up per assignment.
Sasee is a women’s lifestyle magazine that features stories and art about fashion, food, travel, and family life near Pawleys Island, South Carolina. “Essays, humor, satire, personal experience, and features on topics relating to women are our primary editorial focus,” says Editor Leslie Moore.
Rates: Depends on assignment.
Only a few magazines in the U.S. have been around longer than the Saturday Evening Post, which was first published in 1897. And it includes a regular humor feature, called The Lighter Side. Recent submissions include a man’s complicated relationship with his wood stove, the trouble with raising cows, and spring break traditions that are about as fun as a prostate exam.
Study the guidelines and past articles for The Lighter Side, and pitch an idea to Editor Steven Slon.
Rates: Pays $25 and up, per assignment.
If you haven’t looked at a copy of Reader’s Digest recently, it’s not the same magazine it was when it launched way back in 1920. It’s still half the size of the typical magazine, but it’s been redesigned to keep up with competing pubs in the general interest and lifestyle niche. One regular feature includes jokes, gags, quotes and funny stories written by freelancers.
Rates: Pays $25 to $100 per assignment.
Get paid for humor writing
If you want to write for magazines, blogs, and markets that appreciate humor, satire, and good jokes, here what to do:
- Read the guidelines. Every one of the sites listed here provide guidelines on humor writing, and the submission process. And the rules are slightly different for every market.
- Study back issues and site content. It’s really the only way to get to know your market’s style and start thinking like the editor.
- Write and proofread your pitch. You come up with a great idea and labor over writing a great pitch. But don’t fire it off before proofreading it. Take a break, and come back to read your work. Or ask a fellow writer to proofread your pitch before you send it out, to avoid less-than-funny mistakes.
- Accept feedback. If you hear back from an editor with a rejection, don’t give up. Study up on the publication, find out how to improve, and give it another shot.
- Keep going. Even pro writers get rejected or never hear back from an editor. Laugh it off, and keep going. It’s a numbers game. The more pitches you send out, the more likely you are to land an assignment.