Rule 3 1/2!

You’re not getting paid what you’re worth!

Read about rule 3 here. Rule 31/2 is the rule I see most writers breaking the most often, and can be one of the most difficult to overcome. For all that, it’s a simple enough rule:


From about 2006 to around 2011, something happened in internet publishing. A loophole in Google’s search algorithms created the concept of a “content farm” — a site that published thousands of articles on topics designed to pull in readers and earn advertising revenue. These sites hired freelance writers to churn out 10 or 20 articles a day.

The good part of this was it created an unprecedented market for people who wanted to break in to freelance writing.

The bad part was these sites paid $5 to $15 per article. It established a poor level of expectation for a new breed of freelance writer. Worse, some of these sites hired people from India who would work for $2 or $3 per article.

Never work for these wages. It wastes your time, and proliferates the myth that writing is worth so little.

Last year, I wrote a piece about professional rates for freelance writers. It can give you a good idea of how much you should expect to get paid for your nonfiction work. Getting paid for fiction is much harder and far less lucrative.

Writing as well as you do is rare, and many people who can do it work so slowly it’s still worth hiring a pro to do it for them. Demand what you’re worth — starting with convincing yourself that you’re worth it.

I’ll finish with a story from my own experience. From 2009 to 2011 I wrote for a higher-end content mill that paid $25 for articles I could write in about 15 minutes. They’d by about 10 to 12 a day if I felt like writing that many. Like most content mills, they retooled and dropped that model in 2011.

Last week, the same site reached out to me for high-quality blog content. At $100 a post.

The money’s there. It’s okay to get aggressive about making sure you get your share.


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