Freelance writers and money is a favorite topic on writing forums. Everything from how much to charge, to discussions about non- or slow-paying clients to ideas for increasing income to wondering how publishers can pay a few writers huge advances is discussed.
In fact, there’s a whole category about freelance writers and money here.
It’s fairly obvious that because we writer tend to work in isolation we often don’t have a clue about how other writers earn. Although what I earn really doesn’t say much about what you earn, or can earn, some understanding of what’s true about freelance writers and money can be helpful.
Earnings vary widely
The actual earnings of freelance writers is pretty hard to figure out. Payscale says we earn an average of $24.70 – with a range from a low of $10 to a high of $58. Glassdoor says the average annual pay is $42,120. We’ve all heard of writers making six and seven figures and we know that some make darn close to nothing. Plus knowing averages isn’t much help when setting your own fees or deciding how to market yourself and your writing.
Many writers are uncomfortable asking for (enough) money
When you talk about freelance writers and money with those in the field, you discover that many writers are uncomfortable setting prices. There’s a whole lot of confusion about what to charge and a myth that there’s a standard rate out there someplace for almost any kind of writing.
Self-worth and earnings are connected
It’s my observation that writers view of themselves has a lot to say about how much they will earn. The connection between self-worth and earnings is pretty tight. Those writers who one way or another value themselves and their writing are more apt to ask for and get more money than those who approach the topic with self-doubt. Fortunately it’s totally possible to improve one’s self-worth. Appreciation of your own writing skills may come when you take a close look at some the dreck that’s passes for writing these days.
There’s no guarantee
Just because someone says they are a freelance writer doesn’t mean they will be successful, however they define success. Even if they’re pretty good writers, there’s another side of the equation. In addition to knowing how to write, you’ve got to let market yourself and your writing… and even then there’s no guarantee. On the other hand, we have many more opportunities for paid writing today than we did before the internet. Bottom line? If you’re a decent writer and are willing to persistently market yourself you too can most likely make a living as a writer.
You’re entitled to a profit
Well, maybe ‘entitled’ is the wrong word. Profits generally come after some consistent writing and marketing. It’s totally okay, however, to want a profit from your writing skill and to work toward that. Yes, writing is one of the arts, which doesn’t mean you have to starve.
What’s your experience?
Write well and often,