How To Conduct Writers Market Research

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The Secret To Conducting Writers Market Research

Did you know that the biggest challenge writers are faced with are marketing issues? As long as they continue to struggle, mastering the art of writers market research is the only relief. 

Having said that, the brighter side is nowadays almost everything seems to be revolving around the internet. And it has broken those barriers that once stood in the way of progress.

The internet comes with a host of new opportunities and its now a lot easier to find new writers markets online.

If you know how to do a writers market research you stand a better chance to tap into those opportunities and succeed.

As a writer, invest time in searching for paying markets and how to exploit them. Equally important, learn how to approach editors and publishers. 

Most importantly, having a grasp of how to conduct writers market research so that your work gets exposure and a better chance to be accepted and paid for.

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How To Conduct A Writers Market Research

Market Analysis Stages

Step 1: Choosing Stage

Depending on your interests, if your eyes are set on the magazine market, choose the magazine (publication) you’re  familiar with.
A publication that publishes the type of material you feel confident writing in.

Only pay attention to publications that pay article contributors.

Step 2: Analysis Stage

After going through the selection process, carry out an in-depth analysis of the magazine you have chosen.

Step 3: Writing Stage

After analysing the magazine in great detail, write down your analysis.

Why it is relevant to do an analysis

For you to be successful in getting jobs as a freelance writer, you must know where to send your manuscripts. You need to establish first who to send when to send, the length of the manuscript that is expected and the writing style of the type of material accepted. Finally, you must know how much you expect to be paid.

Editors come and go. Publications do change the type of articles they accept from time to time. So, it is very important that you do a fresh analysis each time you want to submit an article for publishing. It doesn’t matter its a magazine, newspaper or a journal. What I am basically saying is you must know markets out there.

Below are Sample A and Sample B to showcase how I did a market analysis for two different magazines. My Sample A research was for submitting an article to a Short Story Magazine.

Short Story Analysis - Best Magazine 2007 

Name of Publication: Best Magazine.
Address: Best, 33 Broadwick Street, London, W1F 0DQ,  Telephone number, Fax number.
Editor Name and Initials: Write the name in full.
Frequency & Type: Weekly, women’s magazine.
Length:60 colourful, saddle-stitched pages.

Do They Accept Freelance Work?
No other non commissioned work accepted, but always willing to look at ideas/outlines. For short story writers, Best is a good market.

Apparent Readership
Targeted at women of all ages especially in their late 20s and above, probably working.

Type of advertising
On food, pharmaceutical products and special offers.

Type of Articles
Multiple features, news, true-life short stories on all topics of interest to women, regular sections on fashion, beauty care, health fitness, homemaking, recipes, agony column and astrology.

Articles Length
For short stories, each issue has a one-page, (900-1,200 word), variable other works. 

Article Style
Don’t need to specifically romance, nor twisters-just good, ‘not-instantly’ transparent stories. 

Vocabulary Level
Articles targeted to the average reader and use general language for informing and entertaining purposes. 
Direct speech is made use of very often.

An in-depth analysing of a realistic market reveals what it expects from a writer. Figure out what the ‘typical reader,’ the individual you will be writing for. For example, you can deduce this from the ads. What do the adverts tell you about the reader’s lifestyle?

Short Story Analysis - Guidepost 2007

Name of Publication: Guideposts
Address: The Editor, Guideposts: Finding Hope from Tragedy 16 East 34th Street, 21st Floor, New York, NY 10016.
Editor Name and Initials: The Editor
Frequency and Type: monthly.
Length: Not indicated.
Accept Freelance Work?
Writing a short feature is often the easiest way of making a sale to Guideposts.

Guideposts don’t use fiction, essays or sermons, and rarely presents stories about deceased or professional religious people. It does not evaluate book-length material.

Apparent Readership 
Aimed at people from all walks of life to achieve their maximum personal and spiritual potential. Also, written by people from all walks of life. 

The magazine’s articles present tested methods for developing courage, strength, and positive attitudes through faith in God. Writers express viewpoints from a variety of Protestant, Catholic and Jewish faith experiences.

Type of Advertising
On family recipes from readers, pharmaceutical products, and medical books e.g. on arthritis, bibles, knitting yarns, cookbooks, birthday cards-anniversaries, get well etc.

Type of Articles
inspirational, interfaith, nonprofit publication.

Articles Length and Payments

  1. Full-length manuscripts (750-1500 words): $250-$500,  occasionally higher.
  2. Shorter manuscripts (250- 750 words): $100 – $250.
  3. Short features and fillers under 250 words): $25-$100.
  4. These include “What Prayer Can Do,” and heavenly encounters such as “His Mysterious Ways, “Angels Among Us” and “Divine Touch.”
  5. Article Style A typical Guideposts story is a first-person narrative written in a simple, dramatic, anecdotal style with a spiritual point that the reader can “take away” and apply to their own life. The story may be the writer’s own or one written in the first person for someone else. Even Short Features, use this format.


Power In Our day-to-day living, His Mysterious Ways.

Type of Vocabulary
 Simple and straightforward English. Direct speech is made use of very often to make stories lively and be natural.

Editorial Guidelines

  1. Don’t try to tell an entire life story in a few pages. Focus on one specific happening in a person’s life. The emphasis should be on one individual. Bring in a few people as possible so that the reader’s interest stays with the dominant character.
  2. Decide what your spiritual point or “take away,” will be. Everything in the story should be tied in with this specific theme.
  3. Don’t leave unanswered questions. Give enough facts so that the reader will know what happened. Use description and dialogue to let the reader feel as if he was there, seeing the characters, hearing them talk.
  4. Dramatize the situation, conflicts and struggle. Then tell how the person was changed for the better or was the problem was solved?
  5. Most Important: Study the magazine.
  6. Manuscripts: May be submitted online and by mail.
  7. They must be typed, double-spaced and accompanied by a self-addressed, stamped envelope.

Why Writers Use Outlines?

An outline is sent to the editor to promote your work.  Some markets have their own outline styles that they publish in the publication itself or on their website.

Writers Market Research

Each week buy at least one different magazine from your usual ones. Examine the magazines closely to establish the kind of articles, features and stories they contain. The more you read the more likely you will have the following effects.


  1. Stimulate ideas. 
  2. Association Ideas – Almost every anniversary can produce a unique angle to an article, not covered in the mainstay of the anniversary. 
  3. Also, write for the web-based publications where you can earn good money. You can also use the internet as a research tool. 
  4. Ideas come from your reading. No idea is new so your job is to find a new slant on the subject. 
  5. Using your own articles by rewriting them to suit another market. 
  6. Looking for articles with a local interest in local history focus.

Writers Market Research

Each week buy at least one different magazine from your usual ones. Examine the magazines closely to establish the kind of articles, features and stories they contain. The more you read the more likely you will have the following effects.

Do you have your own method of outlining that works for you? I’d love to hear about it! Please share with us in the comments section below.

6 Comments to “How To Conduct Writers Market Research”

  1. Kiefer says:

    Thanks for this interesting article, Femia! I myself am very interested in learning how to become a writer for a living. I appreciate your example of a publication focused on religious and spiritual issues. Given my interest in those things, it was helpful for me to see an example of what being a religious writer for a publication might look like.

    Do you have an advice for someone just getting started in monetizing their writing? Thanks again!

    1. Femia says:

      Thank you too, Kiefer, for your encouraging comment. To monetize your writing, there are quite a number of things you can do. One of them is writing your content with the intent to conversion and then lead people to take action to buy something. For example to join an email list; read a product review or to click on an affiliate link. In fact, anything related to selling. For example, creating excellent reviews that make people want to buy. Getting people to buy something through your affiliate marketing which recommends a product or service through an affiliate program. Also, to be successful in freelance writing, you must know your market i.e. know where to send your manuscript.

  2. Izuddin says:

    Thank you for this post. I learned a lot here about writing and ways to attract the correct readers. Many ideas were generated here while reading your post.

    Writing isn’t an absolute passion of mine but, I realized through proper writing, we are able to express our thoughts in a polite way that readers are able to grasp our ideas and solutions to various problems we face today.

    1. Zegu says:

      Thank you so much for sparing your time to leave some comments. I am pleased that you found this post helpful. The is another source of useful information for writers. Particularly for getting published and paid for their writing. Once again, many thanks.

  3. Labman says:

    I have never contemplated that small publications might be a way to build an income.
    I always assumed that these publications had a staff of writers that produced their content. It was enlightening to me to realize that these sorts of opportunities exist.

    I am also surprised at the rates that these magazines provide. Working online through some of the article mills, these prices are far and above anything that most article mills will pay.

    Thanks for sharing this article.

    1. Zegu says:

      Hello, Labman, thank you so much for taking your time to leave some comments.
      Once you write your articles targeting a certain market, its possible to earn money selling your articles.
      To be able to do so, you need a guide to getting published.The Writer’s Market 2018 does a perfect job to guide you. It carries thousands of publishing opportunities

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