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Getting Paid for Articles

Linda Francis

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Here are responses to my question about getting paid for writing articles:

For the most part if you do get paid, it will not pay the rent. The range is $350 a quarter for 4 articles, to a 500-word article for a company newsletter for $100. 300-450 words is $75 and up; 200 words is $50. As a general rule, most trade magazines don't pay for articles, especially if you solicit them and they know you want to promote yourself. If you appraoch them as a "freelance writer" then pay is more likely. A dollar a word is good pay. Many pay $50 or some token. Getting paid will probably cut your publishing 90% or more.

Most people see the value in publication, not for the money, but because:

  • Having my article in a magazine gives me credibility with prospective clients.
  • It forces me to practice my writing skills, so as to enhance my professional image.
  • I require that they print my picture and byline (which I write as an advertisement).
  • I KEEP the copyright ownership of the article, which means I can sell the reprint rights to it.
  • I am compiling them into a "someday to be published" book.
  • I never know when a prospect will read my work and think, "I should talk to him."
  • The reader assumes you have credentials as a writer because they chose to publish your work.
  • I see articles as free advertisement.
  • They position you as an expert in their industry.
  • You often can get an ad (usually the month after the article is better) for your book, consulting services, etc.

I always include a FAX BACK offer at the end (i.e. Fax me for 10 ways to use the phone more creatively). This is a gold mine of leads for speaking and selling products...we receive about 50 faxes each week. Believe me, give it away and it will come back tenfold if you have a proper byline and fax back offer.

Go to Inkspot for info on the writing business (getting paid for articles, etc.)

Depending on the publication, you may be trading the article for publicity with contact information. Usually magazines will not print contact information (or do the bio notes exactly the way you want them) if they're paying you. At any rate, this is something you should settle before you take on an assignment. Ask from the get-go: "What do you pay your writers?" If you're well known (to them) and have a track record as a reliable writer who submits good, clean (does not need editing) copy on time, you may be able to negotiate more, but probably not at first. Be careful to discuss what rights they are leasing to your material. If they want you to sign an all-rights contract, do not give them your material unless you really have no future use for it.

I write a regular newsletter for several associations. I get paid for each article. At times, I will write an article for a client at no charge, for the exposure. However, the majority of my articles are for a fee. I've been paid as little as $25 and as much as $250 for short pieces, usually under 1500 words. I figure anything is better than what I used to get-- $0! I used to allow them to print my stuff for "exposure," then I got tired of nothing coming from that exposure. Now I always ask for $ and an original of the piece it was printed in, so I can make copies for my press kit. Sometimes I'll get 100 copies as well as $. ALWAYS keep your copyright, just grant them one time reprint rights.

SpeakerNet News is produced by Rebecca Morgan and Ken Braly. It is not affiliated with the National Speakers Association. Send comments or suggestions