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Sunday, March 23, 2014

What Freelance Writers Made in 2013


If you read this blog regularly, you know that I talk about money a fair amount. As a freelancer, I think it's important to know not only what you're making, but what other freelancers are making. It's also also helpful to know what markets are paying--you can negotiate for more money for a publication that you know pays more than its offered rate, for example, and set rates for projects that are in line with what other writers are charging. 

So I'm happy to share the results of a freelance income survey conducted earlier this year by FreelanceSuccess.com, a resource for established, professional nonfiction writers. (I've been an off-and-on member of FreelanceSuccess--known as "FLX" to subscribers--for years, and often recommend it to new freelancers. It's an excellent of market info and a place to connect with smart, successful writers.)

FLX surveyed 100 of its members in early January, asking what they'd made in 2013. Of the full-time freelancers:    

  • 1.5 percent made less than $10,000
  • 9.1 percent made between $10,000 and $24,000
  • 10.6 percent made between $25,000 and $39,000
  • 36.4 percent made between $40,000 and $74,000
  • 28.8 percent made between $75,000 and more, including 
  • the 13.6 percent who made $125,000 or more.  
That's more than a quarter of writers making $75,000+, good news for those of us who aspire to make serious money as writers. 

Self-described "part-time" freelancers reported the following income: 

  • 22.9 percent made less than $10,000
  • 22.9 percent made between $10,000 and $24,000
  • 22.9 percent made between $25,000 and $39,000
  • 25.7 percent made between $40,000 and $74,000
  • 5.7 percent made more than $75,000. 
Not surprisingly, the part-time writers make significantly less than their full-time peers. But with more than 30 percent grossing more than $40,000, I still think you can work part-time hours and produce decent money. (I do!) 

Just as important, forty-eight percent--nearly half--of freelancers said they made more in 2013 than in 2012, while another 30 percent made about the same amount of money. 

And just what types of work were these freelancers doing to make money? The top eight answers included: 

  • 39.1 percent were doing corporate writing
  • 33.3 percent were doing marketing writing
  • 32.2 percent were writing for websites 
  • 26.4 percent were writing blogs 
  • 23.3 were ghostwriting
  • 19.5 percent were writing for consumer magazines
  • 18.4 percent were writing social media posts
  • 12.6 percent were writing for trade magazines
Thanks to Jennie Phipps of FLX for permission to share these figures. Regardless of what type of writing you do, however, there are simple ways that you can boost your productivity and make more money. Next post, we'll share some of them. 

** Don't forget, the luck of the Irish offer ends at midnight, Monday, March 24! Use the discount code SHAMROCK (all caps) for 25 percent off of the cover price of Six-Figure Freelancing: The Writer's Guide to Making More Money, Second Edition, and Dollars and Deadlines: Make Money Writing Articles for Print and Online Markets