How Much Should You Earn as a Writer: Writer Pay 101

writermoneySomeone is going to pay you to write an article, a blog post, a press release, a brochure…making you, officially, a professional writer. Now you will be able to buy all the lollipops and lattes you want. Stop right this second. The only way to ensure you are getting your money’s worth is by figuring out the appropriate amount to charge for your word slinging abilities. Writers pay scales vary as diversely as the types of pens and pronouns you’ll come to use during your writing career. Here’s how to break free of the low ballers and get your pay up to a professional par.

Start at the Source

Every writer worth their weight has at least one year’s worth of the “Writer’s Market.” Writer’s Digest, a top writer publication for fiction and nonfiction writers alike, produces this annual catalog of pay rates, job opportunities, writing contests and writer tips. This is your get-yours-today resource for trying to decipher the reality of your potential paychecks.

  • If you cannot break the bank on the 2016 edition, look for a good deal on the 2015 deluxe edition online or at a used bookstore.

Here you will have a reputable source for all types of writing pay rates including:

  • Catalog copywriting
  • Press release pay
  • Speech writing
  • Book chapter
  • Content editing
  • Encyclopedia articles
  • Collaborative nonfiction book writing
  • Proofreading
  • Business plans
  • Ghostwriting for business exes
  • Newsletter writing, editing and publishing
  • Internet research
  • Keyword descriptions
  • Blogging
  • Social media postings for clients
  • Website search engine optimization

…and the list goes on and on and on.

Along with each type of writing work you will find a per hour, per project, per word and per page estimate for low, high and average paid writers. Use this resource to help guide you. If you decide to freewheel your freelance rates, prepare for a couple of things that could happen:

  • You will have other freelance writers whom criticize you for messing with the market.
  • Potential clients who are aware of the professional rates will judge your professional knowledge.
  • You will lose A. business on pricing too high or B. much-deserved pay on rates too low.

The goal of a freelance writer is to make money. This is your business. If you are just starting out in this industry, you will want to stick with the low rates for writers. How do you boost up to those great-looking higher pay rates? Increase your experience by putting in the hours at the keyboard or paper. Practice your skills while honing the writing craft. Stretch your opportunities by taking on new types of writing projects. While faking it ’til you make it is not the best business practice, each time you try a new type of writing, such as white papers or SEO, do your research at the onset. This is part of perfecting your skills, and you’ll increase your opportunities to grow your pay rates at the same time.

Miranda B. started out at the bottom of the pay barrel several years ago, and through millions of words and tens of thousands of typing hours, she has worked her way up the freelancer’s mountain to pay heights she never dreamt of at the onset.


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