Writers frequently ask me what to charge for their writing. I tell them that what they charge depends on several key factors. First of all, if you are writing for magazines, you cannot choose what to charge because magazines set their own rates. If a magazine pays 10 cents per word, you will most likely not get 25 cents a word if you ask for that rate. Your fee is limited to what the magazine is willing to pay.
If, however, you write for businesses, you can set your own fees, but you must consider the market. In other words, you must consider your competition.
In my own writing business, I wrestled with whether to charge by the word or by the hour. I finally decided to charge by the hour. This enabled me to calculate how much I needed to operate my business while earning a profit.
Here are some important questions to ask yourself if you have decided to work as a freelance writer:
1) Do I need to earn my living from my writing, or do I have a spouse who will support me?
2) If I need to earn my living from my writing, how much do I need each year to live? How much do I need each month to meet my expenses?
3) Based on my monthly expenses, what do I need to earn to meet them and still have some left over?
Once you figure out what you need to live on, to meet your expenses, and to earn a profit, then you are ready to set your fees.