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Progression of Freelance Writing Rates

My freelance writing rates have changed a little bit over the course of my career. This is not to say that I am always making changes, but from time to time I definitely look at what I am charging. Not only do I need to keep my freelance writing rates high enough to make good money, but at the same time they need to be stay competitive with the rest of the industry.

In my first month as a freelance writer, I completed just a couple small projects. You may not believe it, but I was writing 500 word articles for $1 to $2. As you can imagine, this was a lot of work for just about no pay. But as I have said in the past, every freelance writer needs to start somewhere.

Within a couple of months, I began to discover the markets that paid solid rates. This included web based clients, as well as regional and national magazines. As you can imagine, as I began to work for clients in these markets I was no longer earning $1 for every 500 words.

At this time, I have a set of standards that I follow when a client asks for my freelance writing rates. This helps to ensure that I quote every potential customer the same price. Do I ever make an exception to this rule? Sure do. Sometimes I will lower my price for a client if I think that they have long term potential. Additionally, when a client offers bulk work I usually tend to offer a lower rate.

Most magazines that accept freelance work have standard rates that they pay first time writers. They may also have different rates for the type of article that you are writing for them. For instance, I used to do a monthly feature article for a gaming related publication. For feature articles, they paid me at a rate of $.15/word. This usually worked out to somewhere around one 2,000 word feature for a paycheck of $300; not the best rate, but good for me at the time. After a few months of working with them, they also asked me to compose some filler pieces for them. Since these were shorter and quick to write, I was only offered $.10/word.

While you can negotiate with magazines over the pay you will receive, this is not something that you want to do as a new writer. Generally speaking, you should know the pay scale of a publication before sending a query letter. This way, if they do want to work with you, no negotiations need to take place. Of course, as you work with them more and more, you may either be offered a pay raise or ask for one on your own.

As you gain more experience and clients, you have every right to increase your freelance writing rates. But remember, this should be a natural progression. Personally, I am not going to charge $150 for a particular project today, and raise that to $300 by tomorrow.

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5 Comments »Freelance WritingNovember 8th, 2007

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