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Tuesday, April 18, 2006

How To Pay Yourself Fairly For Writing

New freelance writers often wonder how to charge for their writing. Writers want to make sure that they get paid fairly for the effort they have put in. In the short term, writers may work for very little while they are getting established. But in the long term, writers who don't earn a fair wage will not be able to freelance for long. There are three questions that writers should ask themselves when deciding what hourly rate they should set.

What Do I Want To Earn?

Some writers write in their spare time and have full time jobs elsewhere. These writers may not need to earn as much as those who rely on writing for their income. Whatever their situation, writers should consider how much money they need to earn to eat, pay the bills and maybe have a little fun from time to time. It's nice to think that you can catch a movie or go to a gig once in a while.

Writers also need to think about the taxman. Depending on where writers live, any where from 22% to 35% or more (if you're really successful) will be gobbled up by the government. For example, in the UK, tax and National Insurance takes over 30% of your income (after allowances). So writers need to add this figure to the amount they want to earn.

How Much Writing Will I Do?

Full-time writers will spend the equivalent of a working week on writing. That's more than 2,000 hours a year. However, take out all the time you spend making cups of coffee, filing, blogging as well as sick days and holidays and there will probably be about 1800 hours left.

Writers also need to think about the cost of consumables. Pens, paper and print cartridges all cost money and this should be added to what writers want to earn.

So What's My Hourly Rate?

Once writers have calculated the number of hours they will work and the full amount they need to earn, working out an hourly rate is simple. Just divide the amount you need to earn by the number of hours you plan to work, and you've got a your hourly rate. Once writers have worked out what they need to earn, they have a figure to aim for.

I have to admit that although I have a target hourly rate, I don't let that get in the way of bidding for jobs at a lower rate. I do have to eat, after all. Writers always have to decide whether it is worth some short term swallowing of pride for the long term gain of having a better portfolio. I don't work for nothing and I try not to work for peanuts. Brazil nuts - now that's a different matter. :-)

To see examples of working out an hourly rate, see Freelance Writing: What's The Job Worth?

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