Culture

This Is How Much a Freelance Writer Makes

Culture

This Is How Much a Freelance Writer Makes

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I’ve been talking about what I make as a freelancer on Twitter today. Here’s the thread if you missed it. For some reason I felt like editors would be mad at me for saying what I make at each place, but that’s kind of weird isn’t it? One reason some people gave for that is that they may not want other writers they work with knowing other people get paid more. I don’t think everyone should be paid the same amount for every story at a specific publication. Some people are better than others. Many people are better than me! Many are not.

I made about $60k in 2013 as a fulltime freelancer. I work every day, with norare non-working weekends and vacations. I have been doing this for about 14 years. I waited tables for many of those years on the side. In 2012 I made about $50k. In 2011 around $40k. Next year I will make $0k when all my editors fire me. (Update: Tax returns aren’t in yet, but I’d estimate around $65-70k for 2014 a year in which I also turned down and a couple of staff jobs for significantly more money).

I’d say I do about 50/50 print/web stuff now. Print still pays much better. Longer, reported features obviously take a lot longer to do than blog posts, and still, for the most part, the difference in pay is worth it. Some stories I might work on for a couple weeks and make only $500 bucks. Sometimes I’ll spend 3 minutes on a blog post and make $50.

I originally posted this on my own blog, but then once it started to take off I figured I better post it here so I can get paid for it.

Last year I wrote about the joys of freelancing here. In the meantime I wrote about surviving the gig economy for the Boston Globe here.

These are the 20 odd places I’ve worked for in past year and half or so. I’m probably forgetting a couple.

Boston Globe
roughly 50 cents a word usually, $75-150 shorter, $250-$600 for feature

Esquire
$150-300 for web, $1000 for digital feature

Wall Street Journal
$1 a word print

Mediaite
$50-100 blog post

MTV.com
$50 blog post

Dazed
$75-150 web

Slate
$200-300

Village Voice
$100-150 web, 50 cents a word print

Boston Magazine
$1 a word print, $100ish web

BDC Wire
$50 blog post

Complex
$75-150 web

Vice
$50-150 web

Metro
$125 print

Bullett
$30-50 blog post, $150 web feature

The New Republic
$200-250 web

LA Times Opinion
$100 web

Gawker
$100 freelance post, $150 a day of blogging (6-8 posts)

Alternative Press
$150 web feature

Interview Magazine
$20 web

Black Balloon blog
$150

Edible Boston
$500 feature

update: 

Washington Post
$250 web

Playboy
around $1 a word print

Food Republic
$200 web

Boston.com
$200

 

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