Freelance Rates: What do writers get paid in Australia?

If you’re part of the fascinating freelance journalism discussions happening on the Freeline google group – you’ll know that the whole What should I charge? question comes up again and again.

Short answer:  Most decent publications pay experienced senior journos upwards of 80c per word. Content writers and corporates pay $80 – $150 an hour plus. But there’s lots of hobbyists out there who are happy with 25c a word.
The verdict from the pros?.. Leave the cheap jobs to the hobbyists. If you’re good and you’re experienced and you can meet a brief to deadline, you should be able to command a professional rate.

Here’s some good resources that will give you a feel for going rates:

  • Show Me The Money Survey 2014  – Over on Rachel’s List the annual survey of more than 400 freelance writers, editors and various other publishing peeps gives lots of info about freelancing – her infographic shows that
    • In 2014: journos and writers charged between 50c-70c / word  [43%] or 70c-90c / word [23%]
    • About 40% of sub-editors surveyed charged $40-50 / hour
    • 13% of copywriters charged $100-$150 / hour
  • Pay The Writers Australia – Though it hasn’t been updated for a year or so, you might find this Tumblr with various reported rates useful if you’re thinking up a pitch …
  • MEAA 2016 Recommended Freelance Rates  [Oh dear – it’s a members-only link! Hope they fix it]   The MEAA calculated the rates that journalists would need to charge to earn the same as a J5 graded journalist on a Fairfax Media or News Corporation metro daily newspaper:  Per Day – $986.00
    Per half day (2/3 day rate) $657.00       Per hour $246.00
    1000 words or less – $1001.00  – then 93c per word
  • MEAA 2016 Freelance Rate Tracker  [Another members-only link] Self-reported rates for publications in Australia
  • Contently Rates Database  – This international list gives a good feel for rates in US-based and international publications
  • Australian Writers Marketplace – for more than a decade, the Queensland Writer’s Centre has produced this monumental tome which contains outlets and pay rates for writers around Australia. $50 a year — but just one published piece and you’ve earned your money back and then some!
  • Freelance Creatives – Ad News  This page is pretty old now but will give you some idea of the rates that freelance creatives were charging back in 2013, according to a Loop survey
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2 thoughts on “Freelance Rates: What do writers get paid in Australia?

  1. Pingback: Billing when freelancing – overcoming the awkwardness « Welcome

  2. Pingback: How to become a Freelance Writer - The Thrifty Issue

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