1. Welcome to SportsJournalists.com, a friendly forum for discussing all things sports and journalism.

    Your voice is missing! You will need to register for a free account to get access to the following site features:
    • Reply to discussions and create your own threads.
    • Access to private conversations with other members.
    • Fewer ads.

    We hope to see you as a part of our community soon!

What to charge per word/hour

Discussion in 'Sports and News' started by swingline, Mar 28, 2018.

  1. SpeedTchr

    SpeedTchr Well-Known Member

    I went to a large-ish state university when you were probably shitting all over yourself and suckling mama's tit. So there is that.
    BitterYoungMatador2 likes this.
  2. Buck

    Buck Well-Known Member

    That's called 'Monday.'
    SpeedTchr likes this.
  3. typefitter

    typefitter Well-Known Member

  4. Small Town Guy

    Small Town Guy Well-Known Member

    Yeah, universities can be great places. I HIGHLY recommend trying to get in with some alumni magazines if you're a freelancer. I write for three that pay $1 a word. One of them, they only require two sources per story, and they're always only 15-20 minute phone calls. Each issue I do a couple of 1,000-word stories for them so those are great gigs that I really value. It's probably 10 hours of work for $2,000. I did one story for an Ivy school that paid $1,500 for an 800-word story. Would love to get more work with them but that was a story idea I pretty much knew they'd go for; now have to come up with other pitches. On the other end, I did a 400-word story for 150 bucks for an SEC school mag. Would normally never do that. Only reason I did was the piece was taken from a book project, and that section was one I cut out so it never ran. So it was basically just reworking the text a tiny bit. So when I broke it down by hour, it worked out fine. I probably spent like three hours reworking it so the $150 was fine in that case. But normally, yeah, wouldn't be worth it and a freelancer trying to make a living certainly shouldn't accept that.

    My friend who's a full-time freelancer wrote for couple of the same mags and at one point he got $3 per word. But that editor left and the new one hasn't contacted him so he thinks they've cut back some. He also has a friend who writes almost exclusively for alumni mags and makes $100,000.

    So it's a very appealing market if you can come up with some good pitches and $1 per word is definitely something you should be looking for, at least. And the best thing, unlike so many mags or websites, is they usually pay very quickly. Send in your invoice, get a paycheck soon after.
  5. Flip Wilson

    Flip Wilson Well-Known Member

    I've done several 1,000- to 1,200-word pieces for the local university, and always get $1 a word. It's not unreasonable.
  6. swingline

    swingline Well-Known Member

    I said my rate was $1, and the editor said he could only go to 75 cents per word.

    I'm tempted to accept, especially considering an assignment I was supposed to do today-tomorrow fell through this morning. Baby needs new shoes.

    What does the board say?
  7. typefitter

    typefitter Well-Known Member

    You asked and got your answer. You have to decide whether that's worth it to you. If you think it will be a regular source of income and not too much work for the money, then why not?

    I usually translate my work into either actual things (this story is worth a plane ticket or a month's rent or whatever) or into a solid weekly salary. So, if you write 1,000 words for $750... That's 1,000 words in exchange for what to you? Half your mortgage? Summer camp for the kids?

    Or two of those stories a week gives you an annual income of $78,000.

    A buck a word would be better, obviously, but to my mind that's okay, and better than not earning money. You're not choosing between two possibilities, right? You're choosing between this and nothing. That would make me do it, I think.

    Either way, getting paid to write is a dream that many people have and few achieve. Congratulations.
  8. typefitter

    typefitter Well-Known Member

    Also, you kind of know he's telling the truth, because you gave him a number and he didn't meet it. It's almost worse when you give them a number and they meet it right away.

    I was negotiating a contract once and gave a number. My editor said, as soon as I said it, "Sure thing, I'll get the contract done today." I had asked for a lot, so I was stoked. Then I was like, Boy, he said yes pretty quickly. I emailed and asked if I could have asked for more. He said, "Absolutely."

    He didn't offer to renegotiate. We'd made a deal. That was for a year, too. I have no idea how much money I left on the table. Still gives me sweats.

    This shit is hard, and writers don't talk nearly enough about money with each other.
    Donny in his element likes this.
  9. swingline

    swingline Well-Known Member

    Well, this isn't all or nothing. My regular, well-paying hourly job is just slow right now. But if this could became a regular (maybe monthly) source of income, it would help.

    I'm translating my work into buying a house in a couple of years, working toward getting that 20 percent down.
  10. Azrael

    Azrael Well-Known Member

    That being the case, I'd try it for .75 a word.

    See if you like the work. See if you like the publication and the people and the edit you get. See if they offer more work.

    If you're happy with them, and they're happy with you, you can always renegotiate in the future.

    Me, I'd rather make .75 a word doing work I love than $1 a word doing work I hate.
  11. typefitter

    typefitter Well-Known Member

    You do two stories a month on top of your regular job, that's an extra $1,500 a month for not a ton of extra work. $18,000 a year, straight to your downpayment.

    That's how I think about these things.
  12. LongTimeListener

    LongTimeListener Well-Known Member

    Take the rate and do the stories. If they work out, you’ll get to push the rate soon enough. The only thing these editors hate more than finding another writer is writing the story themselves. If he knows you’ll do a good job with no headache to him, you’ll get $1 a word eventually.
Draft saved Draft deleted

Share This Page