1/ A couple people (mainly students and academics) ask me how I put out these 900-1100 word articles/op-eds on the side. That's funny considering they're writing thousands of words regularly, but I thought I'd make a quick
on my path through various publications, and some tips:
2/ As a caveat, my writing is NOT reporting. That's a profession, done by professionals. What I write tends to be a discussion of something in the news that adds context for readers, or an op-ed where I try (and usually fail) to present a coherent argument.
3/ Initially I sent articles to places like International Policy Digest. They don't pay or edit but they are a willing platform, good practice, and a point of leverage in future pitches ("I previously wrote on this topic for x y z") intpolicydigest.org
4/ From there I started trying to write a few op-eds in places like Defense One. I had a good experience with D1 even though they don't pay. The editors were open to ideas (within Defense obvi) and invested in making the articles read well. defenseone.com
5/ At this point I started getting articles in @World Politics Review
. If you're an academic or policy person I think WPR is the way to go for short articles. They have great editors, prioritize solid analysis over hot takes, and explicitly list payment. worldpoliticsreview.com
6/ Had a publication gap for a few years on account of working for the government. When I left that to start my PhD I wrote a few history articles for @History Today
and History of War. Both pay, but expect a slight wait between submission and response. historytoday.com
7/ Around this time I got op-eds into @Newsweek
, the Scotsman, and Responsible Statecraft. Only RS paid but writing with them implies an alignment with the Quincy Institute's stances. On Africa-related issues they were semi-receptive to my takes, they would not be on Ukraine.
8/ I also got an article into SOFREP, which has massive viewership. I can't really recommend writing for them though. The noxious combination of demanding editors, and paywalls will not benefit you as a writer.
9/ This more-or-less takes me to the present, where I've mostly been writing for @The Daily Beast
. A few friends were somewhat critical of this, but its been a very positive experience. Nice editors, best pay of the lot, and really good exposure. They do SEO the titles hard though
10/ This brings us to tips!
Tip 1: Think about who you're trying to reach. Stuff I write for WPR and Lawfare is different in style and content from History Today, which in turn is different from Daily Beast. Your pitches should reflect their audience. theopedproject.org/submissions
11/ Tip 2: Get ready to be told no a lot. Nearly every article I've put out ever has been rejected by another publication at least once. Don't take it personally. The more renowned the publication, the more swamped they are with opinion-havers.
12/ Tip 3: If you're after big money this is not the way to go. Pay is nice, but it would be hard to make ends meet this way IMO. If you're an academic or policy person, treat it more as way to get your expertise out there beyond publications in your field whopayswriters.com/#/results
13/ Tip 4: IDK if other people do this but if I'm writing on several topics I try to keep those topics on separate platforms. For me security issues and US policy in Africa goes to WPR/lawfare, intel topics to @Grey Dynamics
, and Ukraine war to Daily Beast. Not a hard rule though.
14/ Hopefully this has been helpful for someone. I'm nowhere near the most successful example of someone doing this so if you have any additional tips feel free to share!