Once you begin working as a freelance writer, there won’t be many people out there who will be guiding you in the right direction or telling you what you should and shouldn’t do career-wise. For the most part, you will just be trying to get paid to write in any way possible. And when you’re starting out, that’s OK, because everyone has to start somewhere.
However, once you have written a few things and established yourself as a professional writer, it’s important to know the freelance writing rates, so that you know what to charge people who ask for quotes on your writing services. You don’t want to charge too much, as you might scare off good work and a long term relationship, but you also don’t want to charge too little, as you might end up working for an absurdly low amount. Below are some rules of thumb when setting your own freelance writing rates in regards to the rest of the marketplace.
Pay By The Word
Pay by the word varies based on the company you are working with or the publication you are writing for. Major publications, like newspapers and magazines that are well known based on their name or owned by major media companies, will pay around a dollar a word, if not more in certain circumstances, depending on what you are writing. Other smaller publications and content writing websites will pay much less, as low as one cent per word, in some cases. So it all depends on where the writing will be seen, and on what scale it will be seen, to know what is an industry standard freelance writing pay rate.
Is it Worth Your Time?
Once you have an idea of what the freelance writing rate is for the writing you will be doing, ask yourself the blunt question of whether it is worth your time. How long will it take you to write the piece for that rate? You’ll know the hourly amount that you will be writing for at that point and if it is tremendously low, you may want to reconsider writing the piece altogether. Once you have confidence in the speed at which you can write certain assignments, you’ll have a better idea of which ones you want to take on and which ones you want to pass up.
Talk to Other Freelance Writers
The only way to know what other people in any industry are being paid on average is to ask them. So visit various freelance writing forums and ask what people expect to make from a journalism piece or a content article. There will be a wide variety of responses, but a number will be around the same range. Start at that rate per article and see if that rate works for your writing talents.
Eli K has been a full time freelance writer making a living for more than a decade. His rate varies per assignment.