Apr 3, 2011

How Much Should You Charge for Writing?

This is a short post to answer a question I get asked very frequently: how much do you charge for writing?

Answer: It depends on what you’re writing and where your work will be published. Articles that are published online are generally cheaper than articles that are published in print.

Keyword articles: For online articles where you are given a keyword and are allowed to write anything, as long as the keyword is incorporated into the title and body of the article, the going rate is about 20 to 30 centavos per word. You must be a very skilled writer to get something at 40 centavos per word, and you have to show off that level of skill in your portfolio.

However, be aware that many people who buy keyword articles may be unwilling to pay a higher price for better quality articles, because they just need your articles to put the keywords in, for search engine ranking purposes. Some of them don’t expect that the articles will actually get read. Therefore, readability and impeccable writing are less important in keyword articles compared to the other article types.

Personally, I would not recommend keyword-article writing to anybody but the newest writers who are just practicing and looking for something to put in their portfolio. If you are a good writer who crafts each piece lovingly and with good research, keyword writing is hardly ever worth your while.

Blog/online magazine/e-book articles: These sometimes ask for keywords too, but not to the same degree as keyword articles. The buyers of these articles do expect the articles to be read, so they want good quality writing. For articles such as these, you can charge between 50 centavos to 1 peso per word.

Since editing is seldom practiced in online articles, you must be able to self-edit, which is never an easy thing to do. What I do is I write the article, forget about it for at least an hour (sometimes a whole day), then go back on it. I keep doing that until I run out of things that I feel needs to be changed.

Print articles: Print media usually have their own set rates for article submissions, so you simply have to follow their set rates. Regular magazine articles often go for at least 2 pesos per published word. That means, if you submit 1000 words but the magazine only finds room in its layout for 500 words, you get paid for 500 words, not 1000.

Press releases: A press release is a special type of article, because it have an advertising nature, and it is often published in print media. Press releases are usually 400 to 800 words long, and you can charge anywhere between 2,000 and 3,000 pesos for writing services only.

This means you’re not responsible for pictures or for submitting the article to newspapers and magazines, but you may be asked to go on site to cover a live event or do a face-to-face interview.

Copy writing: This is another article with a strongly promotional angle and needs more than the average writing skill. You should never take on a copy writing assignment for less than 2,000 pesos regardless of word count, because these assignments often require the use of the least number of words to impart a very powerful message—a difficult feat to achieve.

Technical articles: If the article is so technical that it can only be written by a professional such as a doctor, lawyer, or engineer, it would be best to charge by the hour. Take your hourly rate as a professional, multiply it by two, then charge for the number of hours it takes you to work on the article.

These prices are just suggestions based on my own pricing policy. If you feel you can get away with charging more, hurrah for you! But if you charge any less than these, you would be cheating yourself, and you would find it difficult to increase your prices later on.

For tips on how to write good articles, check out www.Escrive.com.

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