How much is reasonable for a freelance writer to be paid per word?

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  1. graceomalley profile image83
    graceomalleyposted 12 years ago

    How much is reasonable for a freelance writer to be paid per word?

    I'm applying to a Craigslist ad, and it asks how much I want per word. Anyone know the going rate?

  2. brsmom68 profile image82
    brsmom68posted 12 years ago

    I would suggest a minimum of one cent per word.  I recently earned as much as five cents per word  I think it all depends on how much research needs to be done; the more research, the more the amount per word should be.  I have also earned much less than one cent per all depends on who wants your work and how good it is.  Many places pay on a per article basis; you decide how much you would like to earn and go from there. 
    As a freelance writer, I remain flexible and base my earnings on a per case basis.  Occasionally the work falls into my lap, other times I have to work hard to get it.  My advice...don't be greedy, but don't sell yourself short either.  Good luck!

    1. katwoman55 profile image60
      katwoman55posted 10 years agoin reply to this

      In all due respect for myself and my abilities, I think the wage needs to be fair, above any minimum wage, charging for any specialty one may have, how hard it is, the size, time and efforts included and so on. If one has a degree for writing that sh

    2. profile image0
      johnmariowposted 6 years agoin reply to this

      I'm not sure what is reasonable. Back in the 1960's one popular magazine was willing to pay $2000 dollars for a high quality short story. It published short stories from successful writers like science fiction writers Isaac Asimov and Arthur C Clarke

  3. wychic profile image86
    wychicposted 12 years ago

    The market rate runs about .10-.15 per word -- which is just about unheard of for the vast majority of freelance writers. You'll likely have to start out around .01 per word until you get a portfolio and client base established (assuming you're just starting out) and work up from there. I started out bottom-of-the-barrel several years ago and now I don't take anything under .05 per word, but it's a long hard road to get there for most of us.

  4. mskills profile image82
    mskillsposted 12 years ago

    I would use the content mills (like TextBroker and The Content Authority) as your base.  Considering you can get paid 1-5 cents per word writing for them, I wouldn't ask any less than that. 

    Is the ad asking for an opinion-type article?  Or will you be doing a factual write-up?  Because I agree with the other answers about factoring research into your rate.

    Good luck.

  5. FranYo profile image60
    FranYoposted 12 years ago

    On, a site for all kinds of freelance work (coding, translation, ghostwriting, etc.), I've seen jobs offered at between 3 cents and up to 20 cents per word. 

    Realistically, though, if you're just starting out I'd agree with the other answers here and try to bid the job based on total work required to build up your credibility.  Then get beyond Craig's List and work for one of the many freelancing sites.

    Good luck!

    1. luvtoowrite profile image42
      luvtoowriteposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      I agree, you need to build up credibility, especially on Elance. They allow you to upload a writing sample on your profile for potential clients. You more or less have to sell yourself as a writer. It's worth a try!

  6. profile image0
    writeronlineposted 12 years ago

    Grace, it saddens me to even see your question, because writing on a pay per word basis is like saying "I'm no better than any run of the mill writer, good or bad."

    Aren't you?

    Plenty of people think they can write. Sadly, many of those people can't. Not to a standard that would enable them to get out of the low-paying 'content' environment, and make a higher return from their work.

    But if you're a good enough writer, and you choose not to accept that all writers are equal, and by implication should all be equally low-paid, there are steps you can take to separate yourself  from the pack, and make not just a higher return, but a living, if that's what you want.

    I wrote a hub a couple of weeks back about this very topic, which I won't crassly promote here. If you're interested I'm sure you'll have no trouble finding it. And if not, well that's your business too. I'd just like you, and any other 'real' writers on HP, to lift your head up, and look around at the alternatives that are there for the taking. Not easily, but how many worthwhile achievements do come easily in life?

    The partial quote from the article that I would like to include here, is,  "'re selling a uniquely valuable skill, not a price-point commodity."

    If that sounds fair and reasonable to you, I'd recommend you read the hub.

    All the best. Cheers.

    1. Sonya Gray profile image58
      Sonya Grayposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      You  gave the best answer so far. Thank you!

    2. merej99 profile image74
      merej99posted 10 years agoin reply to this

      Honestly, I prefer to be paid by the article.  I know my limitations and how much time it takes me to do the research or write and edit myself. I will be looking for your hub but just a quick question - what are your thoughts on Smashwords?

  7. deblipp profile image60
    deblippposted 12 years ago

    I love writersonline's response, but I don't think there's shame in taking a job at a rate contextual to the job. It's like saying, 'how much is reasonable to pay a cook?' A lot depends on if you're flipping burgers or working at the Four Seasons, or perhaps doing food prep for Emeril.

    If you're making a few extra bucks between better jobs, or if you're just starting out and are building a portfolio, 1-5 cents a word is very reasonable. If, on the other hand, you're an excellent and confident writer and want to create a specialized niche for yourself, you would charge per piece at a higher rate.

  8. profile image49
    amarnath yatraposted 12 years ago

    When I started out as a free lance writer, I was paid about $1.5 for every 350 word article. But most of these articles are quite normal stuff and require no specific expertise or much research. But this amount can go way up if you consistently produce good quality articles. Like I earn anywhere between $3-5 for every article I write now. But then this takes a lot of effort and reputation. I have done a bit of research on GAF and most projects there are for less than $200. So effectively you can expect to be paid $1-$1.5 per article initially.

  9. LeeWalls profile image60
    LeeWallsposted 12 years ago

    I think you should check out You will be able to get a better feel of the rate.

    It's wonderful to romanticize about the art of writing and selling yourself short blah blah blah but as all of us know, romanticizing never paid bills so my friend you do what you have to do for you NOT for anyone else or their opinions.

  10. vineet43 profile image59
    vineet43posted 12 years ago

    if you are a good writer don,t bother about ppw concentrate on the whole content you can earn upto $ 300 per page ........if it is of that standard

  11. Stone Gifts profile image60
    Stone Giftsposted 12 years ago

    In average, I pay $3-4 for 400-words articles. So, you can easily calculate the price of a word. I can't say that the quality is super, but it's enough to submit them to such directories as,, etc.

  12. Kimberly Turner profile image69
    Kimberly Turnerposted 12 years ago

    I would agree with most others in saying it depends on how much work will go into the article. Writer's Market has been a very helpful tool for me, you should check it out!

  13. daskittlez69 profile image75
    daskittlez69posted 12 years ago

    I would say an average write would make between 3 and 7 cents per word.

  14. profile image0
    msivakumarposted 12 years ago

    I have seen a reasonable offer at $1 per 100 words - so for a 500 word article it will be $5 and for a 1000 word article it will be $ 10.

    But the going rate I guess is cut-throat and there are sites (content farm sites as they are called) offer only 50% of the above and it is still being taken.

    Personally these pay-per-word looks demeaning to me (as few others also mentioned). Writing is a creative thing which should not be calculated per word. Ultimately the readers should judge and the rewards should be accordingly paid ......For few people even the rewards doesn't matter - just an acknowledgment or a thank you note will suffice .......

  15. funmontrealgirl profile image65
    funmontrealgirlposted 12 years ago

    Depends who you write for. I have seen it vary everywhere. I see people on fiverr who charge 2 500 word articles for only $5 and then some 1 for $5 and some 1 300 word for $5.

    Then again, I see people charging $20 per article on direct websites. Just depends who u write for.

    If native English, you are paid more than foreign writer who writes English.

  16. Nelma profile image61
    Nelmaposted 12 years ago

    I´ve seen at content sites that the standard rate is $0,01 per word. For basic issue. For a more elaborated theme it can reach the $0,04 range.

  17. BreakingUp profile image59
    BreakingUpposted 12 years ago

    Just like with any other commodity, it's a supply and demand thing. I hire different writers for different writing jobs.

    For basic articles that require 300-500 words with no need for deep research and with reasonable grammar errors like those you submit to directories and basically used for link building - I ask for a quote in terms of sets like 10 articles for one topic. Freelancers offer as low as $10 per set. Before you react violently, remember that these are low quality articles and there are lots of freelancers who offer to do this kind of writing. Thus, the low price.

    But for high quality content that needs research or some kind of specialty like legal or medical terms, these articles really go as high as $100-$300 per for 500 words. Of course, not so many freelancers can do this type of work. I have a paralegal who ghost writes for my legal blog and she charges .5 per word. Her writing is really TOPS so it's worth it.

    1. watergeek profile image95
      watergeekposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      I vary my bids on Elance based on how much research is needed. I'm a good writer, with lots of experience, though not on Elance. I've just secured a job for 10c per word with minimal research writing B2B articles.

  18. AgesMGMT profile image58
    AgesMGMTposted 12 years ago

    i would say that you should pay around .07-1.5 cents per word.  Depends on the quality of the article.  Just remember that you get what you pay for.  Quality over quantity.

  19. writeido profile image60
    writeidoposted 12 years ago

    It really depends on that piece that needs to written and your writing level. The pay can be anywhere between less than a cent to 25 cents, but some jobs would not pay so much but some would need high quality and pay higher as well.
    My advise... Just pick the jobs that you like to write about with the money that does not seem too less or too much to you. After a little while you'll know what to charge for any writing job.

  20. Pdxrecycler profile image60
    Pdxrecyclerposted 12 years ago

    I think a base of 1.2 cents per word is reasonable. I have seen a lot of crazy requests on for fifty 500-word articles for $5-$10. This is outrageous, and I hope nobody is actually accepting that pay!

    1. RobinBull profile image61
      RobinBullposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      Yes, I was going to suggest oDesk as well.

    2. Trevor Wallace profile image61
      Trevor Wallaceposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      oDesk is ridiculous. Many of those people expect exceptional work in return for slave wages. I'm really picky with gigs I pick up from there.

  21. PaulPd0 profile image65
    PaulPd0posted 12 years ago

    One cent per word is what the majority of people who know English as a first language will earn initially. Writers out of country will often complete work for much less, but the money they earn is up to par with the price of living in their area so it works out.

    If you have a good amount of work to show for yourself then you should charge maybe .02 or .03, but don't ask for too much unless you have some sort of professional knowledge that will be applied to your writing.

    Remember that composition is something that all high school graduates must comprehend, so being able to compose an article is not necessarily the most valuable skill. Some people gave responses saying that if you are a writer you should never accept a payment per word, but they are very likely more financially fortunate than some of us.

  22. Suzanne Day profile image92
    Suzanne Dayposted 10 years ago

    It depends on how rare you are. Advertise at the going rate if you are a newbie or don't know what customers want. Increase it if you are offering a specialist niche...

  23. stuff4kids profile image61
    stuff4kidsposted 10 years ago

    I only know that the SFWA and the Author's Union acknowledge 5 to 7 cents per word as a minimum professional payment.

    2.5 cents to 4.9 cents they classify as semi-professional.

    1 to 1.5 cents is nominated as 'token payment.'

    If it's for a 'content mill' or a 'social blogging network' you could work long, long hours for the price of a coffee and a cup-cake and still be numbered among the successful elite, of course...

  24. merej99 profile image74
    merej99posted 10 years ago

    I've just started on eLance recently and landed a regular writing gig at one cent/word - but they also have very strict guidelines, rules, checklists...  Kind of rethinking that job because it's a little more time consuming than I anticipated!  I've also got another one that pays about $12/400-500 word article edit which is a little more lucrative but sporadic.
    Essentially, you have to consider your experience, how much time (and research) you need to put into a job and then ask yourself - how much is my talent worth?  Best of luck to you! smile

    1. Froggy213 profile image61
      Froggy213posted 9 years agoin reply to this

      I have noticed you on Elance, and we have both done work for the same client.
      With that said, I have recently posted a blog about this subject somewhat. Some writers are cutting throats of other writers.

  25. cebutouristspot profile image78
    cebutouristspotposted 10 years ago

    Usually, a starting rate of 1 cent or $5 per 500 word article smile

  26. lostohanababy profile image58
    lostohanababyposted 9 years ago

    Have a open mind.  When you find out, I'd like to know!  Promises to success.  It can be achieved with a lot of 'focus' and 'determination'.  Good writing your best ever in 'freelance writing'.

  27. nanderson500 profile image78
    nanderson500posted 9 years ago

    I would say even people who are just starting out should try to aim for at least one cent a word. Anything much less than that is a ripoff. If you have a specialty, it is certainly reasonable to expect more.

  28. profile image0
    promisemposted 9 years ago

    I suggest it should be as much as you are willing to accept and still get the job. In other words, if I have five spare hours a week as a contractor, I'll do something for minimum wage rather than do nothing at all. At least I get some money, plus the experience, contacts, etc.

  29. profile image0
    Ethan Digby-Newposted 9 years ago

    I've looked up many freelance jobs, and while there are some where you can get paid five cents or even more, it usually required someone who has years of job experience, a college degree pertaining to the job, and a reputation.  If you have both of those things I would recommend aiming at about two to three cents a word at first.  If you don't have those things then I would aim no lower then 1.3 cents a word.  If at first you don't find a job that meets your criteria, then just wait for the good opportunity and pounce on it when it comes.  Hope I helped

    1. Goods2Go profile image60
      Goods2Goposted 7 years agoin reply to this

      With a degree & experience in writing, you should expect approx. 200/story. I don't agree w/ an amount per word. Writers should value their talent and ability; otherwise, you have a Spotify situation- and no one can live on that. No Insurance eit

  30. Pam Cash profile image58
    Pam Cashposted 7 years ago

    I think many of the answers here are simply mind blowing. Any company or organization that is paying one cent per word either doesn't care about quality (and therefore will not build your portfolio) or can't afford quality content (and therefore will not provide you with a reasonable amount of work or reliable payment).

    I would rather work for free for companies I love than work for a worthless company at 1 cent per word. The good relationships built will be much more reliable than that $4 earned from a blog that no one sees. Even as a beginner, I'd offer no less than five cents per word. Unlike another poster said, writing is indeed a rare skill. The bar set for graduating high school is quite low. Composition, creating interest, knowledge, SEO optimization, accuracy of tone, and a unique voice are not something everyone has.

    I try not to work for less than ten cents a word, but I am very picky about whom I work for. Reputation is everything when building a career. When taking on a client, I think, "Will this lead to more work and better paying work, or will this waste my time and keep me poor?"

    Offer high and negotiate lower. If someone is impressed by your talent, they won't dismiss you if the offer is too high initially. They'll try to negotiate so you'll work within the budget. If they do dismiss you outright, be confident that this company is not profitable and not a good long term prospect.

    Best of luck.

  31. Goods2Go profile image60
    Goods2Goposted 7 years ago

    With a degree and experience in writing, you should expect approx. 200/story. I don't agree w/ an amount per word. Writers should value their talent and ability; otherwise, you have a Spotify situation-- and no one can live on that.

  32. Shihab Sukhon profile image60
    Shihab Sukhonposted 6 years ago

    In that case, you must have the ability of being unique & creative. That's very important your creativity thinking will reflect on your writing. So the more you will develop your creativeness then your article specially every word will become more worthy/valuable. That's my own opinion after seeing and applying the theory in writing sector. When your writing become unique where people can easily identify your creativeness they will like it because of something different people will found in your writing. As we all know everybody like/love different and eye catchy thing. For that case you need lots of research, you have to provide logical and acceptable theories/content. So in conclusion I can easily say that freelance/professional in every sector of writing if you want to earn then you/your writing must be different then others. So by doing so as a writer your every word/content will become valuable. That's mean that uniqueness is the reason of paying a good figure per word of your writing. Good Luck .....
    Don't forget your creativity/uniqueness depends on your Passion on Writing.

  33. Guckenberger profile image85
    Guckenbergerposted 6 years ago

    What's your educational and employment background? I would need to know things like this before positing a good estimate.


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