Sample Pay Rates For Freelance Writers

Here’s a nifty piece about freelancing by Noah Davis, sent to me by my friend and colleague Judy Messina. You can check out some of Judy’s work here.

He offers some good insights about the media business, including this nugget of truth from Ann Friedman.

The digital-first publications, even those with massive amounts of venture capital, have decent rationale for their pay rates. The print outfits, however…. “I actually think it would be possible for old-school print outlets to pay better if they wouldn’t over-assign or if they didn’t have super-fancy real estate in Midtown,” Friedman said. “The notion that media is both a struggling industry and a glamour profession is totally ridiculous. If you’re a struggling industry that’s worried about declining advertising revenues, fucking pack up, move to Brooklyn, and stop triple-assigning every issue.”

He also shared some of his freelance pay, which is illuminating both because it is all over the map and because some of it was not bad:

The Verge paid him $750 and $1,500

Penthouse paid $750 and $1500

ESPN’s Grantland paid him $250

SBNation’s Longform unit paid $1,750

and an airline magazine paid a little less than $1 a word.

He also ghostwrote a self-help guide for a magazine for $40 an hour and helped launch a web site for $10,000 and “a little bit of equity.”

Nice. This pretty much jives with my experience as a freelancer, except that as someone focused on the business world (and finance, to some extent), I have always been able to land some regular contracts. I think they’re crucial to making a living.



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