Writing on Spec

Writing on spec or speculation means submitting writing without a contract, usually a complete or finished work. Normally, an editor approves a query letter and you are sent a contract that outlines what is expected and what you’ll get paid. Writing on spec offers no guarantee of payment. After a tremendous amount of effort you submit your article and hope it is accepted. Risky. Yet a few magazines have this policy. What to do?

In two weeks I’ll take a geology field trip into Nevada and I’d like to write about it. My target magazine takes articles only on spec. Although I’ve never written under this arrangement, I’m going to do it this time. I want to write about the topic so much that I am going to take a chance.

To improve my odds I will closely adhere to the look and feel of the magazine’s previously published articles. I’ve also looked up their editorial calendar for the coming year; it details when articles like mine should be submitted. I am going forward. What did Churchill say? “For myself I am an optimist – it does not seem to be much use to be anything else.”

December 11, 2015 update: Success! Rock & Gem (external link) will carry my 2800 word article in their January issue.

December 30, 2015 update: Background on the article (internal link).

April 22, 2016 update: Rock&Gem will publish the second article I wrote for them on spec in May. Look for it at Barnes&Noble.

Writingonspec

About thomasfarley01

Freelance writer who specializes in history, technology, and human interest stories.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s