Got green? Tips for setting your freelance writing fees


So, you’ve scored your first freelance writing gig. Over the moon? Sure you are. But, then there is the question of money.

(Flickr: Sara Biljana)

(Flickr: Sara Biljana)

How much will you be willing to accept for the piece, your new editor asks?

While there are many credible organizations out there that can advise on a ballpark range of fees, it turns out there are no hard and fast rules for determining your price points in the freelancing arena.

A recent discussion topic on regarding the benefits (and potential dangers) of free and promotional book giveaways got me thinking about the importance of placing value on our work.

Give your freelance writing away for free or dirt cheap and you risk diminishing your work’s value.

Read: Write words for cash: Earn a living as a freelancer

But, price yourself too high on the scale — especially if you’re a rookie–and you just may earn yourself a ticket out the door.

When asked about your freelancing fees, first refer to some reputable sites for some pricing guidelines.

Follow @EducatedWriter.

However, also factor in the following considerations for putting a price tag on your work:

–How many hours did or will it take you complete the piece? And how does that line up with the word count? Speedy writers attacking a blog post of about 400 words will take roughly 15 minutes to write. Determine your own pace for an idea of the amount of time you are putting into a story.

–Speaking of word count, just how long is the article supposed to be? Most online pieces are shorter these days. But traditional publications are still in the 1,000 word range. Does the editor also want a sidebar? Or two?

–Is the article research intensive? If you’ve had to make numerous calls to two or more interview subjects and spend several hours nailing down quotes and/or statistics, chances are you have invested a considerable amount of work in the piece.

Read: Freelance writing careers look promising in current economy

–How many times are you expected to edit the piece? If you have a client that requests five or more major rewrites, consider upping the fee. It’s best to determine ahead of time the client’s expectations for revisions. Provide clean, on-message copy the first time around and this shouldn’t be a big issue.

–Are you being asked to provide photography or travel a substantial distance to a special event in addition to writing the story? This is another time-sensitive factor to consider when determining your fee.

–Finally, where do you rank on the “yes-I’m-a-writer” spectrum? Newbie? Or veteran? Or somewhere in between? Veterans with a steady supply of clients got that way because they spent years growing a reputation for solid work. They will likely command more. Those new to the profession may have to accept a lower fee as they build their own writing networks.

Kerri S. Mabee is managing editor at and founder of Breeze Media & Communications. Learn more about her at kerrismabee.comFollow @EducatedWriter.



Kerri S. Mabee

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