If you're wondering how to price your services as a freelance writer, you'll find that rates vary quite a bit and involve several variables, such as your depth and length of experience, your chosen clientele, and the types of writing assignments you choose.
Some projects pay by the hour and some pay a flat fee per project. You can compare different writing jobs by calculating the payment on a per-word basis. This doesn't factor in the depth of research and other factors, but it at least provides a basis for comparison
Consider developing a personal rate sheet for yourself (don't share this with clients) that dictates the range of prices you want to charge. You might, for example, add on a premium for fast-turnaround work. Calculate the maximum discount you're willing to give clients and have this also available on your rate sheet to remind you so that clients won't be able to negotiate below what you're willing to accept.
The following examples will give you an idea of how payment can range. At the time of publication, Politico pays $500 flat for articles in the 2,000-word range. This works out to 25 cents per word. Bridal Guide pays $1,000 for a 2,000-word article, for $1 per word. On the other hand, Axe Wellness, which publishes on both digital and print, only pays 8 cents per word.
Pay Rate Ranges
The following summary of freelance writing rates has been collected and distilled over many years of working as a freelance writer and editor.
The ranges below begin with writers and editors starting out with little or no experience, who reside in a low-cost-of-living area. Top-of-the-range prices would be reserved for experienced writers and editors living in high-cost-of-living areas—or those who have clients in high-cost-of-living areas—and who adjust their rates accordingly.
All assignments and situations are different, so proceed with caution when considering any freelance rate scale and take into account all the factors when determining your rates and what you can expect to be paid.
If you want additional guidance beyond this list, refer to the Editorial Freelancers Association, which keeps a similar list on its website. Additionally, writers can check out bid sites, such as Upwork.com. These sites show you what employers have been paying in the recent past for various writing projects. Keep in mind, however, that bid sites often, though not always, pay on the low end of the scale.
Freelance Writing Rates by Project
- Advertising/copywriting mail pieces (no graphics): $300 to $3,000+
- Advertising/copywriting sales letter: $150 to $2,000
- Articles (news, or with significant research, web-based): $15 to $50 per page
- Articles (magazines): $100 to $5,000+
- Articles (content/keyword): $5 to $50
- Articles (newspapers): $75 to $1,000
- Books (ghostwriting): $25 to $80 per page, $5,000 to $20,000+
- Book reviews: $2 to $100
- Book summaries: $250 to $500 per book
- Brochures (no graphics work): $300 to $2,500
- Business plans: $500 to $5,000+
- Editorial management (magazine/per issue): $500 to $5,000
- Grant writing: $200 to $5,000+
- Newsletters: $200 to $1,000
- Press releases: $200 to $500
- Resumes: $200 to $500
- Scripts: $1,000 to $20,000+
Freelance Writing Rates by the Hour
- Advertising copywriting: $45-$100/hr
- Copyediting: $30-$70/hr
- Developmental editing: $50-$80/hr
- Editorial on call: $20-$150/hr
- Fact checking: $15-$50/hr
- Ghostwriting: $40-$100/hr
- Indexing: $30-$70/hr
- Line editing: $40-$70/hr
- Proofreading: $25-$60/hr
- Proposals and grants: $40-$80/hr
- Tech editing: $30-$90/hr
- Technical writing: $40-$100/hr
- Web content :$10-$90/hr
- White papers: $100-$200/hr
Freelance Writing Rates by the Page
- E-books: $10-$35 per page
- Indexing: $3 to $6 per page
- Lesson plans: $10-$20 per page
Freelance Writing Upcharges and Down Payments
- Upcharge for rush: +10 percent to +25 percent
- Upcharge for keyword stuffing: +10 percent
- Down payment: 10 percent for companies and publishers, 25 percent for individuals/authors
A Word About Content Mills
Many people get their start as a new writer by writing articles for various websites, through companies known as content mills. These companies hire hundreds of writers, asking them to create one-page articles for various clients.
These articles pay notoriously low rates and the work quality often reflects the low payment. Content mill payment for articles can range from less than 1 cent per word to 10 cents per word, with articles averaging 500 to 600 words.