If you’re wondering how much to charge as a freelance writer, check out this list of pay rates for different types of magazine and newspaper articles.
These writing jobs and rates are from one of my favorite freelance books: Writer’s Market. Note that this article was written in 2010; to get updated freelance writing pay rates, you need to check out the 2013 edition.
“If you’re a beginning freelance writer, or don’t know many other freelancers, you may wonder how anyone manages to earn enough to eat and pay the rent by writing,” writes Lynn Wasnak in Writer’s Market. “Yet, smart full-time freelance writers and editors annually earn $35,000 and up – sometimes into the $150,000-200,000 range.”
I earned $35,000 my first year of full-time freelance writing, which surprised me. I thought I’d be relying on my husband for financial support for my first few years freelancing! Part of my success is due to the Writer’s Market book series; I read every new edition. Never stop reading and learning, fellow scribes, no matter how experienced you get.
Here’s what the professional freelance writers say about writing jobs and rates for magazines and newspapers…
How Much Do Writers Make? Freelance Writing Pay Rates
Some writers charge by the hour (I charge $50/hour). In Writer’s Market, Wasnak suggests a formula for figuring out your hourly rate:
“Begin by choosing your target annual income – whether it’s $25,000 or $100,000. Add in fixed expenses: social security, taxes, and office supplies. Don’t forget health insurance and something for your retirement. Once you’ve determined your annual gross target, divide it by 1,000 billable hours – about 21 hours per week – to determine your target hourly rate.”
Freelance writers, I encourage you to take your experience and education into account before setting your goals for earning money as a freelance writer. That is, a new freelancer can’t charge as much for writing jobs as a freelancer who’s been writing for five or fifteen years.
Writing Rates for Magazine and Trade Journals
- Article feature writing: $40-$122 per hour, or $.20-3 per word
- Reprint articles: $20-$1,500 per project, or $.10-1.50 per word
- Magazine column: $75-$2,500 per project, or $.37-2.50 per word
- Ghostwriting articles: $30-$200 per hour, or $.60-10 per word
- Arts review: $60-$95 per hour, or $.08-1.20 per word
- Book reviews: $25-$900 per project, or $.15-1.50 per word
- Rewriting: $20-125 per hour, or $50 per page
- Content editing: $25-125 per hour, or $.06-.16 per word
Writing Rates for Newspapers
- Article feature writing: $40-$79 per hour, or .10-$1.60 per word
- Local column: .38-$1 per word; $25-$600 per project
- Self-syndicated column: $4-$35 per insertion
- Investigative Reporting: $2,250-$10,000 per grant
- Proofreading: $15-$45 per hour
- Arts review: $30-$69 per hour, or $.06-.60 per word
- Book reviews: $45-$69 per hour, or $.25-.60 per word
- Obituary copy: $35-$225 per project
These writing jobs and rates are compiled from voluntary surveys from members of numerous professional writers’ and editors’ associations and specialty groups. The more networking, marketing, querying, and studying of magazines and newspapers that you do, the more money you can charge as a freelance writer.
“You’ll be surprised how far you can go, and how much you can earn, if you believe in your skills and act on your belief,” writes Wasnak in Writer’s Market 2010. “Learn how to query, then query like mad. Take chances by reaching for the next level. Learn to negotiate for a fee you can live on…and then get it in writing.”
Help for Writers and Bloggers
75 Ways to Make Money Blogging - How I made $60,000 last year with my Quips and Tips blogs. If you love to write, why not pay yourself?
73 Tips for Firing Up (or Just Firing!) the Muse- Because a writer's biggest struggle is motivation & persistence.
For more freelance writing tips, read How Do I Earn Income by Writing Articles for Online Markets?
What do you think of these writing pay rates? How much money do you make (or wish you made) as a writer? Comments welcome below!