Pay Rates: Is It Worth My While?
Then I spotted a Facebook thread. A fellow writer commented on a more practical way for Writer’s Market to rate markets, substituting for their current system replace-the-aging-kitchen-appliance or pay-someone-to-do-the-painting. Another writer commented that she interprets royalty checks in terms of college credits.
Kitchen cabinets. Swim team fees. A new windshield. Whatever is next in your bills, the reality is that if you are a freelancer some jobs are worth your while. Others simply eat up time and keep you from paying the bills.
Here are four things that I look for when assessing a market:
Pay Rate. First and foremost, I look at the pay rate. It sounds mercenary and, to an extent it is, but it’s also real. I can’t pay the light bill with “experience” or a “by-line.” To keep the lights burning, I need actual money. But the dollar amount alone doesn’t tell the whole story. . .
Time commitment. A craft activity may pay only $25. But I can rough an activity in 15 minutes. It doesn’t take all that long to earn that payment and by turning in multiple activities the check quickly bulks up. Keep track of how long it takes you to finish a $1000 article. Then see how long it takes to earn the same thing with smaller checks. Some smaller checks are worth the time. Others aren’t.
Rights. If a market buys all rights, it has to be something I can crank out quickly or it has to pay really well, because I can’t reuse the work elsewhere. If I market buys non-exclusive or one time rights, I can sell reprints. That means that even if the market doesn’t pay that well, I can earn a second and third check.
Exposure. Some jobs don’t pay well and I can’t easily reuse the work, but they give good exposure. If I can get my name and bio in front of a large number of readers, that means students in my WOW! class. It can be great advertising for your book or whatever helps pay your bills.
It isn’t all about the money, but if that is how you pay the bills, don’t be surprised when you start to evaluate various jobs in terms of groceries, new tires and phone bills.
Sue Bradford Edwards blogs about writing at One Writer's Journey.