Monday, May 02, 2005

Freelance Writing Fees: Why They Suck & What You Can Do About It!

1) A Glut of Talent: Face it, sitting at home working in jammies is a dream many aspire to. This is why many freelance writing assignments pay so little. But, what is little?

This month, we will add a success story series to We are paying $25 for each submission we publish. A few wrote in to slam us, saying things like, “This is why freelancers never get rich,” to, “Yeah, I’ll barely be able to afford fries with that.” We understand the frustration.

What You Can Do About It: As there will always be competition, be the early bird. Scour job boards, newspapers and send out a certain number of queries each day, week, month. It’s a numbers game and eventually, someone will say yes. How often you get a yes depends entirely on how much effort you’re willing to put forth.

FYI, we arrived at our princely sum of $25/submission very simply. We took in into account how long it should take to complete the assignment. As someone who has done this type of assignment before (for free, mind you), I knew that it should take no longer than an hour because you are writing about something you know intimately – how YOU went about achieving freelance success. Hence, no research, no interviews, no photos to take – simply tell your story (following a few guidelines).

At $25 hour, this works out to over $45K/year as an annual salary ($25/hour x 35/hr work week x 52/weeks) – a fair sum (we reasoned).

FYI, our first success story will be published on May 12th under a new section entitled, “Success Stories” on We will post a link on the home page when the section is live. The author gives some great pointers on how he went about becoming a successful freelance writer/photographer – and how you can too!

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2) Editorial Budgets: Most editorial budgets are made by department heads who know there is a glut of talent. They know they can find someone to complete a freelance assignment. Proof? As soon as “freelance” is put in a job title, the sender is usually deluged with resumes.

Further, the bulk of editorial budgets are allotted to the technical aspects of a project and the work to be done onsite. This leaves little to pay for the creative aspects of a given assignment -- especially by outside talent. In essence, freelancers are at the bottom of the totem pole.

What You Can Do About It: Target publications that receive the bulk of their content from freelancers. They usually pay more because they don’t have a large in-house staff to worry about paying.

Final Tip: Decide what you need to live on as a freelancer. If you break it down by day, week, month, you may see that four $25 assignments/day will allow you to live the freelance life quite nicely. I wrote an article addressing how smaller assignments can lead to a very good living. Read it at:
Good luck!****************************************************************************
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Looking for freelance writing work, but don't know where to start or have the time to actively seek assignments? Coming soon: List of 1,000 Paying Markets to begin your search!
Sample Listing: Home/Lifestyle Magazine. Seeks articles on interior design, shopping, entertaining, recipes, art and more. Pays $100-$500/article. The majority of our leads are little-known, industry-specific publications/firms that many freelancers don't target because they rarely advertise. We will only sell a limited number per year and the list will be updated/added to annually. Backed by a 100% money-back guarantee!****************************************************************************
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