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Invoicing For Freelance Writers and Editors

invoice and accounting for writersThe sample invoice I put up is always one of my most popular pages. It’s true on this blog and it was true way back when I was at About.com and when b5media had The Golden Pencil. I notice I wrote it long enough ago so it talks about snail mailing the invoice – these days I email them.

I’ve always been curious about why an article with a graphic of a not so pretty how-to-invoice would be so popular.

I suspect a lot the the hits come from google sample invoice are actually from writers and other creatives looking for reassurance. After all, the actual process of billing a writing or editing client can be scary. I remember the first few times I had to invoice someone. I didn’t know what it should look like. I dug around my stack of papers until I found one I’d received and made it look sort of like that one.

I also remember that I was afraid – scared to create it and frightened by sending it off. I’m not sure exactly what I was afraid of. Part of it was a suspicion that my writing ability made it too easy to be well paid for it. Talk about lack of self-worth. I probably was also afraid they wouldn’t pay me.


Time has cured a lot of my fears. So has a lot of  “work” on myself. We all seem to need to find our way, to discover what we do well and that doing something easily doesn’t mean we shouldn’t charge for it. In fact, it may be that doing something easily is a strong signal we should offer that service for good money.

What’s you’re experience with invoicing and things that you do easily?

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{ 8 comments… add one }
  • Rodney

    I’m a freelance writer and invoicing is really a PITA to me. I think major problem is with the invoicing programs available. I don’t think installable apps will help me, so I prefer online apps. But they too are pricey or lack of features. I have tried Blinksale, Freshbooks and later something called CurdBee. For me, only CurdBee looked affordable and had enough features without restrictions.

  • In the past I used a service called Blinksale. It worked for me, but I decided I wanted a little more control over my invoices. And I wanted to cut my expenses. So I turned to an Open Source application called BambooInvoice. It runs on the same server as my site.

    While it’s a little trickier to customize (it requires a bit of geeky hackery), I can generate PDF invoices and mail them from within the app.

    You can read about my experiences with BambooInvoice here: http://scottnesbitt.net/weblog/2010/01/20/invoicing-with-bambooinvoice/
    .-= Scott´s last blog ..A few links for the end of the week =-.

    • Anne

      Love the term ‘geeky hackery’ Scott… thanks

  • Anne, I’ve used a similar invoice for 10 years.

    I mostly write for college textbook publishers, so I’ve always gotten paid. Sometimes quickly, and sometimes not.
    .-= John Soares´s last blog ..Freelance Writers — Niche Specialization is the Key to Success =-.

    • Anne

      Hi John, glad to see you here – when I was writing third party software manuals for trade publishers (yawn!) pay always came, but often not when promised.

  • I’m lucky because my partner has owned a business for several years and there’s an accountant in the family, so I had a lot of help when I started. But it is daunting. Is it too much, will they pay it, have I made a mistake on it, am I good enough to be worth this? – are all worries that run through your mind.

    I use Xero accounting software that does it all for me – you just add in the key info, and it spits out a PDF that you can email straight away to the client, with a cover note. Beats the old way, which involved an invoice template that I had to check about five times to make sure I hadn’t left any XXXs or any (insert here)s. Then creating the PDF was fun. So I’m much happier about the last day of the month now 🙂
    .-= Lucy Smith´s last blog ..Some light relief for a short week =-.

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