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Friday, June 6, 2014

For New Writers Especially: Don't be Afraid to Talk Money, Part 1

And the 2014 Freelance Success/Word Count Blogathon continues!

Today's topic is one that new freelancers often feel uncomfortable with. It's the idea of talking money--with potential clients, editors, and other writers. Here's an excerpt from an email I received from a relatively new freelancer a couple of weeks ago: 

I recently wrote an article for a small local magazine and the editor said she'll be publishing it soon. I'm embarrassed to say I don't know how I'll be paid. What do I do now? 

I suggested that the writer send an email that said something like, 

Thank you for letting me know about the piece; would you let me know what I'll be paid for the story, and when I can expect payment? 

The better solution, though, is to be talk money from the get-go. As a freelancer, you're not just writing because you love to write; you're doing it for the money. So it's reasonable for you to ask about money upfront. Let's say you're interested in writing for a publication, website, or blog. You check the writers' guidelines and can't find anything about pay. (That's a bad sign, by the way--the market may not pay at all, or may pay very little.) Send an email that says something like:

I'm interested in writing for your site, but didn't see your payment guidelines anywhere. Can you let me know what you pay freelancers? Thanks for your time and help. 

Once you have your answer, you know whether the market it worth considering--and you won't waste time with a market that doesn't pay enough to be worthwhile for you. 

Today's assignment: never say "yes" to an assignment without knowing what it pays. Even new writers deserve to get paid! 

**If you're a new reader of my blog, you may want to check out one of my books on freelancing: Dollars and Deadlines: Make Money Writing Articles for Print and Online Markets is written for brand-new freelancers in search of their first clips. Six-Figure Freelancing: The Writer's Guide to Making More Money, Second Edition is a freelancing classic that helps both new and experienced writers boost their bottom line. And my latest book,Goodbye Byline, Hello Big Bucks: Make Money Ghostwriting Books, Articles, Blogs and More, Second Edition, shows how to break into the ghostwriting/content marketing field.