Mark Terry

Friday, August 01, 2008

Show Me The Money

August 1, 2008
I've recently re-upped my access to the Writer's Market and I was wandering through looking at different things yesterday when I decided to download a piece called "How Much Should I Charge?" by Lynn Wasnak. There's a pretty awesome chart included and I thought I'd list some things of interest here and let you think about them.

Type High Low Average
PR for businesses $180/hr $50/hr $89/hr

Movie novelization $15G/book $3G/book $6,750/book

Original screenplay $106,070 $56,500 $81,285

Book proposal writing $10,000 $500 $4,512

Fiction book writing $40G $525 $14,203

Ghostwriting (as told to) $80G $5,500 $22,800

Ghostwriting (no cred) $100,000 $5000 $36,229

NF book writing (own) $50,000 $4000 $17,909

Annual reports $15,000 $500 $6,147

Brochures, fliers for biz $15,000 $300 $2,777

Newsletter writing (4-pp) $125/hr $30/hr $5000/hr

Computer manual writing $165/hr $60/hr $105/hr

Trade journal feature  $3/word 17 cents/word 95 cents/word

Consumer magaz. feature $3/word 14 cents/word $1.28/word

Well, in my experience, those numbers are about right and I'm glad to see that the numbers I was suggesting to potential clients for a few things that came up this year were right on the, er, money. I think the fiction novel writing numbers are interesting and need to be taken in the context of regular working writers rather than the million-dollar-babies that are outliers. The numbers for trade journal and consumer magazine features seem to be pretty accurate, although low can be a little bit lower and the average strikes me as being lower on both. I'm still looking for the $3/word payment, but I've made as much as $1 per word (which was nice, no doubt about it). I would also suggest that anyone who writes a company's annual report for $500 needs to be taken out behind the bar and shot in the head, because they're too stupid to live.  

So yes, there actually is quite a bit of money to be made in some areas of writing if you can break into them.

Cheers,
Mark Terry

13 Comments:

Blogger Erica Orloff said...

Thanks for sharing! I'm happy to see I am always above average in what I charge and am not low-balling (not that I thought I was, but I'm also not out of the ballpark on the high side either).
E

7:16 AM  
Anonymous Amy Nathan said...

The "breaking into" is key. I've done a bunch of very low-paying gigs in the hopes of having it lead to bigger and better but it hasn't. I'm still plugging away but it's rather discouraging.

Any tips for "breaking in?" And I mean to the tech/corporate stuff. The novel writing I am ok doing all on my own. ;-)

8:39 AM  
Blogger Mark Terry said...

Amy,
Freelance Success has some good resources for that. Those tend to be more ad-based jobs or cold-call-based jobs. If you haven't read Peter Bowerman's "The Well-Fed Writer" I would suggest you do, because he'll take you through it step by step.

Erica,
I note that on some types of work I'm average, some right at the top, and others slightly below average. I think I might need to work harder to get my average and lower than average work up higher, or just focus on the higher-paying work.

8:41 AM  
Blogger Jude Hardin said...

I wouldn't mind trying a movie novelization. Any idea how writers go about getting those gigs?

9:45 AM  
Anonymous Eric Mayer said...

I don't think I've ever got near to the bottom of this pay scale although I haven't done many of these projects. My rate for newsletters is...um....$0 per hours. Wait, I did sell a 100 word article to Omni for $1 a word. It was never printed but the check was good.

10:12 AM  
Blogger Mark Terry said...

Jude,
Well, cynical old me wonders, too. I wasn't wildly happy to find out that Tod Goldberg was hired to write the TV series tie-in novels for "Burn Notice" primarily because his brother, Lee Goldberg, knew the producer. Now, granted, Tod is a novelist, but never of those sorts of books, ie., crime and espionage.

So I guess connections helps. I would also think it would depend a lot on your track record and your agent.

10:18 AM  
Blogger MissWrite said...

'Taken out behind the bar and shot in the head because they're too stupid to live'

Still can't stop laughing. True though.

Oh, by the way, I just left a 'gig' that was something like what you were talking about a few weeks ago. Great pay, but taking over my entire life and causing me way too much undue stress. Hubby finally asked me Thursday what was going on with me? I've never been like this. I love my work, and have never had that much trouble finding it.

I said I took the job because it was 'gauranteed money' and not knowing if I would get enough assignments to make the money I have as a monthly desired amount is aggravating. He said maybe, but you always do, and you don't work half as hard to do it, and you still have your hair when you're done.

LOL

He was right. I'm free, I'm free, I'm free... and hey, surprise... still working like a maniac, but back to doing it without the stress and ulcers.

6:54 PM  
Blogger Mark Terry said...

misswrite,
Congratulations (I think). My wife recently asked me if I had any regrets. I said, "Only about the regular money and the amount of it."

And yeah, since it's been a little slow lately, that's aggravating, but I haven't spent any time thinking, ooh, I should have stayed.

As it turned out, I have a big (and big-paying) project due at the end of October and I'll have it done a little early, but it's sucking up all my time right now. If I still had that gig I don't know what I'd be doing. Working 14 hours days, probably and be even more stressed out.

7:22 AM  
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