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Magazine Asked For An Invoice. How Much Should I Charge? 3 Lessons

Hi Anne,

I just came across your website and have a question that I wonder if you can answer.

I submitted a 1,057-word article to a trade magazine, (magazine title confidential).

I submitted it over six months ago and just received an email today informing me that it is going to be published in the May/June issue.

I was asked to submit an invoice.

I am not a writer and have no idea what to charge.

I don’t even remember how much time I spent on it (maybe 6-8 hours, I’m guessing).  Can you give me any guidelines or point me in any directions that would help me come up with a reasonable, professional fee?

Many thanks for your help,


Hi HJ,

I love it when someone stumbles into my site and stumbles into freelance writing. Congratulations on getting published! And good for you for finding a trade magazine and trying an article on them.

Magazines, both trade and consumer, generally have a set fee they offer. I googled up the magazine’s website. In this case I found, under Editorial Guidelines, they offer between $100 and $200 for articles between 800 and 1,500 words. I suggest you invoice them for $200 because they say they make some determination about pay based on the quality of the content. Go for the higher number and you’ll probably get it.

There are, I think, at least three lessons that any freelance writer can benefit from:

Dare to write. For those of us who want to write, even need to write, nothing will happen until we actually put words on paper or screen. We need to be willing begin with an awful draft and then improve it. There’s nothing to fear from beginning to write, I promise. HJ did this.

Dare to submit. Once you’ve done your draft and edited your piece, submit the darn thing. In this case, HJ had a market in mind when she wrote – that’s a decent strategy, but it can work the other way too. But get the piece sent off – you have absolutely no chance of getting it published if you don’t submit it somewhere, and maybe again and again.

I’m beginning to think Google can answer anything! Seriously, it’s absolutely amazing what you can find on Google. Over time the search site has gotten better and better at understanding natural language questions. The search I actually used to find the answer to HJ’s question was how much does (name of magazine) pay for articles. Next time you have a question, any question try Google. You may be pleasantly surprised.

What’s keeping you from writing and submitting?

Do you have a question about freelance writing? Email me, with Q&A in the subject line and I’ll do my best to answer it.


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{ 14 comments… add one }
  • I didn’t realize that people paid $200 for web articles. Ten of those a week and you are making six figures! I’m going to recommend that my wife looks into this, she’s a great writer with a lot of free time on her hands.

    • Actually, Curt, this was a print magazine… but yes, ten of those a week makes a nice income.

  • Jenny

    Good advice… Congratulations for getting published. $200 is definitely a good starting price. The great thing about this is you’ll be able to use this publication as a reference for future freelance gigs. Well done…
    Jenny recently posted..journal of film critiquesMy Profile

  • Congrats to HJ!

    I’ve been paying attention to MediaBistro’s ‘snippets’ on what magazines are looking for. I’m developing angles and making sure they’re timely and what magazines are looking for. I also want to make sure I write good query letters and pitches that get noticed. Writing a query letter is an art form.
    Amandah recently posted..Company’s Website Busted by Blog TrafficMy Profile

    • Didn’t know about MediaBistro’s snippets… thanks for that. Yes, the art of the query for sure.

  • Julia

    In the name of unity,I think we should rewrite “I’m beginning to think Google can answer anything! ” to “Dare to ask/use Google”.

    I remember a writer friend of mine who said that with the influx of the information bought by the internet, there should be almost no excuse for not getting the info you want.

    • I did, yesterday, ask google about the meaning of life… and of course got pages and pages of people’s opinion on the meaning. 😉

  • I think it’s pretty cool that HJ is “not a writer” but took the time to submit an article to a magazine… and got it published! Congratulations, HJ.

    I think daring to write and submit are both pretty important. Being a great writer helps, but being a decent writer and putting yourself in front of people who can pay you seems like a better idea. 🙂

    And yes, eventually, you can find just about anything on Google.
    Brie Wallace recently posted..That Awkward Moment When You Hit “Send” Too SoonMy Profile

    • I strongly suspect, in fact I’m sure, that those we think of great writers today didn’t start that way. They wrote and wrote and wrote and their writing kept improving. Being a decent writer and getting paid isn’t a bad goal.

  • Oh Anne – you’ve seen enough of my comments on the 5 buck forum to know what’s keeping me. 🙂 No valid reasons, mind you. Congrats HJ. I think another lesson could be – don’t give up hope. After 6 months, I’d have assumed it was rejected.
    Ellen recently posted..Cast iron stomachMy Profile

    • Yeah, I probably would have sent a note withdrawing it! You just never know for sure.

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