This is one of the most important aspects of writing for magazine and journals because it will have a bearing on which publication you write for and when. There are 3 main ways that magazines pay for articles. They are: By word, by page or by assignment.
I’ve worked for clients who use all of these methods. If you write for a magazine that pays by the page (say $50.00/page) and you write 4 pages, you just earned $200.00.If you write for a magazine that pays by the word (say 25 cents/word) and you write an article which is 1000 words in length, you just earned $250.00. Finally, there are magazines that pay a flat rate, say $500.00/article (and they will tell you how many words they want in the article).
The second thing you need to know is when the magazine will pay you. Like the section above, there are 3 main methods: On submission, on acceptance and on publication. The first method is self-explanatory and is one of my favorite methods of getting paid. The second method indicates that while the publication has received your submission, they still have to review it, edit it, make corrections, ask for clarification from you, etc., before they accept it. Once they do, you’ll get paid.
The third method, my least favorite, is on publication. This is when the magazine has a spot in their editorial calendar for your article and will publish it at that time. If you work for publications that do this, be prepared for a long wait. One magazine I worked for made me wait 9 months and they still hadn’t published my work. I finally pushed them to pay me, otherwise who only knows how long it would have been before they actually did so. I never wrote for them again.
Note: It’s important to understand that even when a magazine accepts your work, you probably won’t get paid right away. Many magazines have a 30 day payment policy. Some have a 60, 90 or even a 120 day payment policy in place. If this creates havoc with your cash flow, don’t write for these publications.