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Writing about Freelance Writing Charges

Tips to Decide Freelance Writing Rates

Writing comes easily to a good writer, but “freelance writing” is rarely about writing alone. If you are a freelance writer, you have to do more than write: find clients, send queries and samples, chase payments.

In the course of doing these “non-writing” jobs, a newbie writer’s first question usually is :


Here are some tips to help you decide your charges throughout your freelance writing career:

Freelance writing charges for newbies: If you have just started out writing, one of your first objectives should be to build a portfolio of writing. Write aggressively and charge less, so you have a bunch of published samples to show for your efforts. Some new writers start off with as low as 1 cent a word.

Freelance writing charges if you have a little experience: If you already have a few articles behind you, and feel confident about handling a project, hike up your rates a little. This is the stage to start looking for higher-paying markets.

Freelance writing charges online and off-line: Off-line publications usually have stricter requirements and bigger budgets than online publications. You can try and build a portfolio online before bidding for off-line projects.

Freelance writing charges depend on quality and research: If you write good English and are capable of writing articles researched in depth, you can charge more for your work. A lot of website owners are looking for uniquely written and keyword-rich content, and could not care less for quality and research. These clients are good to write for when you break into the market, but if you want to make serious money without suffering burnout, search for quality work as soon as you have some work behind you.

Freelance writing charges depend on location: If you go to a freelance writing site that is based on bidding like and then you have to settle for low pay. Most writers on such sites are from countries like India where the low cost of living allows them to quote below par rates for their work.

Freelance writing charges depends on ownership of rights: If you are willing to give up the ownership to your writing completely, you can charge more. If you are determined to keep the article rights to yourself so as to be able to use it again, you have to drop your prices a little.

Freelance writing charges may vary according to deadline: If your client gives you a short deadline you are within your rights to charge a premium for the prompt service.

Freelance writing charges change according to client relationship: If a client gives you regular work, and pays on time, you should give him/her a break on the price. Makes long-term business sense. If the client gives you a byline in a big magazine when you are a relative beginner, it is a very good thing for your portfolio. Grab that irrespective of the remuneration.

It is very hard to set a bar on rates to be charged. But a beginner freelance writer online can hope to make make 1-3 cents a word, an experienced one can make anything from 5-20 cents. A freelancer for magazines would usually get 50 cents to 2 usd per word. Rates could also be lumpsome for the project, on a per page basis or at an hourly rate.

The rates for freelance writing do not follow any hard and fast rule. It is a world where you have to use horse sense to get yourself the best rates possible, keep abreast of the rates going in the market, and keep searching for better-paying clients.

The winning mantras for freelance writing: know your skills and don’t sell yourself short.

Damyanti Biswas

Damyanti Biswas is the author of You Beneath Your Skin and numerous short stories that have been published in magazines and anthologies in the US, the UK, and Asia. She has been shortlisted for Best Small Fictions and Bath Novel Awards and is co-editor of the Forge Literary Magazine. Her literary crime thriller series, the Blue Mumbai, is represented by Lucienne Diver from The Knight Agency. Both The Blue Bar and The Blue Monsoon were published in 2023.

I appreciate comments, and I always visit back. If you're having trouble commenting, let me know via the contact form, or tweet me up @damyantig !

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  • Damyanti says:

    Thankyou. I hope this post helps writers looking for info.

  • Bianca says:

    This is a fabulous post! Freelance writing is a tough market to get into. Not only is it difficult to break but it can also be very confusing for “newbies” who aren’t always sure how much to charge or where to start looking. This is a really informative article and I am sure it will help many newcomers! Well done.