“What are your writing rates?”
Since writing is such a solitary pursuit, and the industry “standards” are anything but standard, how do you even begin to answer this question?
Today, I have a resource that can help you get started. But before we get to that, and since writers have a tendency to undervalue their services, I’d like to inject a small dose of real-world thinking into the mix.
Think about your writing in real world terms.
I am assuming that you are reading this post because you want to earn money through your writing. If you were writing simply for the love of words, a rate calculator wouldn’t matter all that much. I’m also assuming that you are counting on this income to cover at least part (if not all) of your living expenses. To that end, let’s do this little mathematical breakdown. (I know it’s math and we are writers for Pete’s sake. Humor me, okay?)
- The cost of your favorite pizza.
- How much you paid for your last tank of gas.
- The price of a computer upgrade.
Now, let’s think about each of those things in terms of barter.
At a rate of $10 for a 500 word blog post, you’ll need to write two posts to trade for a pizza. Depending on what you drive, (and the crazy way gas prices fluctuate) you’ll most likely need to write four or more posts to get a tank of gas. That new computer? Even a middle of the road model without a lot of bells and whistles can easily cost 60 of those $10 babies.
The point of this exercise is to get you thinking about what your words will buy. Is your post worth more than 1/2 a pizza? Is that web copy worth at least a tank of gas? It’s definitely worth considering when you calculate the rates for your writing.
Find a starting place with a rate calculator.
Now, as promised, the tool to help you figure what to charge for your writing.
This hourly rate calculator is available from FreelanceSwitch.com (Update 1/23/14: FreelanceSwitch is no more. You can find a similar rate calculator at AllIndieWriters.com) and is a simple fill-in-the-blanks program that will give you a guide to go by. Before you quote a rate, you will need to calculate your hourly rate, then determine how many hours a given project will take. Hourly rates may not work for every project (another reason to keep that real-world math in mind), but knowing how much you need to make per hour can help you set flat rates for your writing as well.
You can find more information about setting your freelance writing rates in these related articles below:
- So You Think You Can Freelance? Part 3: The Money (mycastleheart.wordpress.com)
- Use a Full-Time Fantasy to Figure Out Your On-the-Side Freelance Rate (lifehacker.com)
- Should You Bill an Hourly Rate for Your Services? (business2community.com)
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