A freelance magazine writer is a much sought-after position, and for many, it seems like an impossible task. There are things you can do, however, that can make it easier to pitch the right stories to the right places and sell magazine articles.
Go to the magazine's website to find out about their contributor's guidelines. This gives you information on how to pitch to that magazine and what they are looking for.
Look at their editorial calendar. This can give you tips and ideas about when to pitch certain editorial essays to that particular magazine.
Read the magazine thoroughly. You can only sell magazine articles to a particular magazine when you have a good grasp on who they are selling to, the voice of the magazine and the target age of the magazine.
Research some lesser known magazines for your first and second time around. The huge glossy magazines pay well, but they rarely take a chance on an inexperienced newcomer.
Investigate the bylines of the magazine articles. If the names match those staff members listed in the front of the magazine, then the magazine uses few freelancers. The magazine that has a various list of names probably uses freelance writers a lot.
Pitch articles to the right magazine, and use every query letter to sell your story idea and yourself. Be sure to use the same style, either formal or informal, in your query letter, and be sure to keep track of who you send what idea to. Most magazines do not wish to have the same article pitched to them and to two others at the same time.
Check up on the magazines you are interested in writing for, and see if they accept articles in advance. For instance, some magazines start looking for articles about Christmas while most people are sunning themselves on summer vacation. Keep this in mind, and you can sell magazine articles.
Sometimes getting successful at selling your already-written articles to a particular magazine can lead to them assigning you articles to write.