Expand your freelance business by writing for niche publications

About Barbara Mantel

Barbara Mantel (@BJMantel), an independent journalist, is AHCJ’s freelance community correspondent. Her work has appeared in CQ Researcher, Rural Health Quarterly, Undark, Healthline, NBCNews.com and NPR, among others. She helps members find the resources they need to succeed as freelancers and welcomes your suggestions.

The panelists and moderator of AHCJ’s Dec. 8 webcast.

I have been lucky as a freelancer to have a regular gig as a contributing writer for CQ Researcher, an online magazine that examines a single topic in depth each week. It serves as the backbone for my freelance business. As editors at other publications come and go and their freelance budgets shrink, CQ Researcher has been a reliable and steady source of assignments.

But the stories can take months to report, write and edit, and frankly, I am a bit burned out. As a result, I have been reducing the number of CQ Researcher articles that I write each year and looking to expand the number of other media outlets I freelance for. 

I was in this frame of mind when independent journalist Jen A. Miller approached me about providing AHCJ’s freelance members information about writing for niche publications. Miller has written “Notes from a Hired Pen: Where to Find New Freelance Writing Clients and Turbocharge Your Career,” an e-book that is full of tips for finding, pitching and writing for specialized publications beyond the traditional consumer outlets freelancers often think of pitching. 

There is a whole world of potential clients for freelancers to tap beyond newspapers, general interest science and health magazines, women’s magazines and other traditional consumer publications. Trade groups publish magazines for members, companies for customers and universities for alums. Media conglomerates may have a stable of specialized publications targeting various professional groups. Many are looking for talented freelance writers to fill out the pages, whether digital or print.

That’s why on Wednesday, Dec. 8 at 3:00 p.m. EST, I will be moderating a panel discussion for an AHCJ webinar called “Beyond newsstands: how to expand your freelance business through niche publications.”

In this webinar, freelance members will learn where to find niche publications and the pros and cons of working for them. They will also get advice on pitching and introducing themselves to editors and learn about potential conflicts of interest if writing for both niche and consumer publications. And they will be able to ask the three panelists (two editors and Miller, who has earned six figures by including non-consumer publications among her clients) questions. Find out more about the esteemed panelists below.

  • Jen A. Miller is an award-winning freelance writer and author. She is a regular contributor to The New York Times and writes their weekly running newsletter. She also has written for The Washington Post, The Guardian, SELF, Buzzfeed, The Philadelphia Inquirer and for niche publications, including Medscape, Clinical Laboratory News and HealthTech.
  • Rachel Coker is the director of research advancement at Binghamton University. Her mission is to advance an understanding of and appreciation for the university’s research and scholarships. Coker writes and edits its digital research magazine, Discover-e, an electronic newsletter, and other material. One recent article on Discover-e profiled a graduate student’s research into how people with psychopathic traits achieve occupational success. Coker directly hires freelancers.
  • Shannon Muchmore is a senior editor at Healthcare Dive, a vertical at the digital platform Industry Dive, whose target audience is industry decision-makers. Healthcare Dive provides in-depth journalism into news and trends shaping healthcare. Topic areas include health IT, policy and regulation, insurance, digital health, payer-provider partnerships, value-based care and more. Before taking the job at Healthcare Dive, Muchmore worked in the D.C. bureau for Modern Healthcare. She is actively seeking freelancers.

Feel free to submit questions to freelance@healthjournalism.org in advance of the webinar. You can also ask questions during the discussion. If you cannot make the live webinar, the recording will be posted shortly after on the AHCJ website.

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