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.
These are the 20 odd places I’ve worked for in past year and half or so. I’m probably forgetting a couple.
roughly 50 cents a word usually, $75-150 shorter, $250-$600 for feature
$150-300 for web, $1000 for digital feature
Wall Street Journal
$1 a word print
$50-100 blog post
$50 blog post
$100-150 web, 50 cents a word print
$1 a word print, $100ish web
$50 blog post
$30-50 blog post, $150 web feature
The New Republic
LA Times Opinion
$100 freelance post, $150 a day of blogging (6-8 posts)
$150 web feature
Black Balloon blog
around $1 a word print