Given that the occupational outlook for freelance writers is better than ever, you might be interested in the freelance writer rate of pay. However, be forewarned. Trying to pin the freelance writer pay down to even an average number is a formidable task. Your rate of pay is determined by your experience, the type of publication, where you live and type of writing. For example, take a look at this salary survey for technical writers from Payscale. Keep in mind that technical writing usually pays a bit higher than other writing forms.
Fortunately, given the popularity of the Internet, there is now an abundance of freelance opportunities of all types of writers. Compensation runs the gamut from writing for page views to four figures. Nevertheless, before you start salivating over the thought of earning $1,000 dollars for your words of wisdom, keep in mind that, like everyone else, you will need to pay your dues before you get to that level.
Rate of Pay for Entry Level Writers
You are thrilled and knowledgeable about your subject matter, but aside from your college papers, you've never written a thing. The Internet might be a good place to start. If you search Craig's List under "writing jobs," you may occasionally find some opportunities. These are usually jobs offered by individuals for special, often poorly funded projects. They may pay anywhere between $5 to $50 an article. This may be a good way to get started in freelance writing and build a writing portfolio.
Content site writing is another option. Sites such as Associated Content, Helium and others will pay a nominal amount for your article, which is usually under ten dollars. This rate is supplemented by page views and Google Adsense earning. This means that your articles continue earning money as long as they are still on the website.
If you appear to be knowledgeable a particular subject, you may be eligible for website content writing. In most cases, the owner of a particular website will require a large number of articles on the subject of your expertise. Each article runs between 200-450 words, and you will usually be paid $9-$15 per article. Not a lot of money, but you might be writing 50-100 articles per order.
Once you've established yourself and built a portfolio through these low-paying opportunities, it's time to move on to greener pastures.
Freelance Writer Rate of Pay for Small Local Newspapers
Most cities and towns have some sort of free newspaper. In general, these publications have their own staff of writers. However, they do occasionally hire freelancers, especially those who are extremely knowledgeable about their subject matter. The freelance writer rate of pay will depend on the economic status of the town or city and the size of the publication. You will either be paid by word count, which will run as low as ten cents a word to as high as 20 cents a word, or by the article. In general, for free publications can earn between $50 and $100.
Pay Rate for Writing for Magazines
If you are looking for higher pay rates for your writing endeavors, magazine writing is the way to go. Most publications will start new freelancers in their "filler" sections. These 300 to 800 word articles are used to fill the extra "white space" on a given page. Depending on the publication, these articles will pay anywhere from $100 to $200. Of course, the big money is in the feature articles, which may pay rates of $200 to $1,000 per piece.
How to Get the Best Pay Rate
Once you've been writing for awhile, you will want to remove the lower-paying articles from your resume. After all, if they know that you'll write for low rates, why should they pay you top dollar? Otherwise, keep an active, online resume and present yourself as professional and knowledgeable. Develop a reputation for respecting deadlines and handing in "clean copy," and you'll be on your way to higher pay.