They say that there are fewer jobs for writers out there than there used to be. This may or may not be true. However, it is more the quality of jobs for writers that can be lacking.
One of the main ways to stay on track is to avoid places and situations that take advantage of the talent and craft of writing. Writing is a valuable skill that not many people possess. We live in an age where people confuse “your” with “you’re” and many people don’t know how “its” properly fits into a sentence.
With this said, a savvy writer can find exactly what they want in today’s market. There are companies and people looking for freelancers. But, there are certain spaces and places that writers will want to avoid in order to bolster their career forward, and not plummet into a rut.
First, there is the question of how much a writer should charge. The rule of thumb with this is that talented writers should know their worth and their budget. If a professional is looking to help set the standards in the industry, then $0.10 to a dollar or more per word will be a good guide as to what words go for in the professional online marketplace.
LOW PAYING JOBS
When estimating a price, take into account the time that it takes to research the article. If you had to obtain a press badge, as well as attend an event, then your words are more in the dollar per word range. You have done the first-hand sourcing for this article. Chances are you conducted original interviews there as well that are to be included in the piece.
BIDDING ON JOBS
Another practice to avoid in freelancing is frequenting sites that make you bid on writing jobs. You might get a diamond in the rough client, but many clients visit those sites to get a deal. It is not easy to compete with someone from Asia or India when wage expectations are completely disparate from what it costs to live in North America. If you conduct a bit of research, you will be able to discern which online market places are rife with people who only expect to pay one cent per word or less for your efforts. And, as a rule of thumb, writing one cent per word articles is a practice that beginners should try to steer away from unless they count it as part of an internship.
GHOSTWRITING A BOOK WHILE GIVING UP ALL RIGHTS AND FUTURE INCOME
The dynamics of ghost writing can be complicated these days. Ghost writing means generally that the author waves their right to copyright as well. This in turn translates into another person essentially taking credit for your work and ideas. To counteract latent regret should that particular book or piece become a success, the writer should strive to negotiate dual authorship instead. This means that the author will not be waiving one’s rights to future credit for brilliant concepts, nor future income. In the contract, there should also be an initial fee for writing the book plus a commission on all sales. Many novice authors will settle for just the initial fee and forgo the rest. Unless the initial fee is very high, don’t give up your right to future income from the book as well.
The writing marketplace is full of opportunity. People can get big contracts from companies, or partner with celebrities to write their memoirs. The sky is the limit. However, finding a firm financial starting point is pivotal to future successes. Don’t let anyone make you feel less valuable than you deserve when you are negotiating online or in person. It might be easier to settle, but in the long run, you will be glad that you looked forward for those brighter income opportunities.
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Justine is a lover of academia and of her current job as a writer. She has a BA in Communication Studies from University of Calgary and found the holistic perspective on the field to be intriguing. She also did her first two years in school taking journalism at University of King’s College in Halifax. She’s seen the changes in the industry of communications by witnessing them first-hand. She hopes that trained writers around the world will get the support they need to help navigate the new knowledge economy.
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Good advice (e.g., initial fee + commission on future sales). The latter isn’t always practical, unfortunately. Depending upon the situation you are presented with, you may be able to negotiate a retainer to write future materials. This has worked out in one situation. You can always ask, though.
Thank you for useful article!