Writers Worth: What You’re Worth

In the freelance writing world, if you’re lucky, you come across a person like Anne Wayman.

Anne was one of the first people I met when I started freelancing full time. I remember happening upon her freelance writing channel on About.com, and I was instantly smitten. Here was a woman who not only provided plenty of information about freelancing, but she was also building a community. Her forum was active and welcoming, and I felt immediately like I’d found a good place to land.

Fast forward nearly twenty years (really? Wow!). Anne is still running an active, welcoming forum — one we’d started as a joint venture, and one she continues after I realized I couldn’t clone myself and be three places at once. Anne’s also still welcoming writers of all levels, particularly beginners who have plenty of questions, and she’s now added coaching to her list of skills.

And she’s just a damned nice human.

So when May approached, I didn’t even have to ask Anne for a post. She volunteered it before I could get around to it. For those of you meeting Anne for the first time, know that she writes this from a position of years of experience coupled with a genuine desire to help.


A Writer’s Worth – The Worth of a Writer

by Anne Wayman

How much is a writer worth? Yes, another how-long-is-a-piece-of-string-question that can only be answered: “it depends.” So what does the worth of a writer depend on?

A knee-jerk response might be “fair market value,” or it might be “just as much as s/he can get.” Both are more or less true, but really don’t tell you much. Nor does searching for average pay for freelance writers give you solid information.

What is known is that some writers are content, at least for a time, to earn $5 bucks an article on Fiver.com while others take home $100 bucks per article or more – on Fiver no less. (I hadn’t realized people could charge more than $5 there…) We also know that some writers get as much as $250, and $500 an hour or more, and some make small and mid-sized fortunes – ghostwriting books can be an example.

What this means is some clients perceive a writer’s worth at $5 while others are willing to go much much higher. The market for well-paid writing is out there no matter what you hear to the contrary, particularly from those who love to whine.

What makes the difference?

Why do some writers make a ton and others don’t? It’s not experience, not really. Experience gets you rehired and can add to your income, but it’s not the root cause of a high income. Nor are a string of impressive credits. Sure there are some who won’t hire you without that, but not nearly as many as you might think.

The truth is your income is a direct reflection of how you see yourself. If you really know you’re worth $100 an hour, you’ll that or darn close at least most of the time. Of course, if you think you’re only worth $5 or $10 an article, that’s exactly what you’ll get paid.

Hard to believe? Maybe, but it’s truly the only explanation for the wide disparity in income among freelance writers. Many of them truly have no idea of their worth, as people or as writers.How do I know? I was, initially, a low-income low self-worth writer. Not only was I down on myself, I didn’t realize how rare it is for someone to write reasonably well. I thought everyone could do it – they just didn’t want to.

How do you improve your self-worth?

If you’ve got poor self-worth, know that you’re not alone – not by a long shot. Ask Google how many people have poor self-worth and you’ll get a slew of articles. More than you will imagine state that 85 percent of the world’s population has low self-esteem! I’m not sure I believe it’s that many, but it is a bunch.

I’ve written about writers, money, and self-worth. Here are my three favorites:

See, self-worth encourages self-promotion!

Of course, you could do worse than read all of the articles posted here on Lori’s site – this year’s, and last year’s, and the year before that… you get the idea.

Write well, and often,


Anne Wayman has been freelance writing since before computers – yes, that long! She’s best known on the web for her blog: www.AboutFreelanceWriting.com She also coaches writers – and has recently added Life Coaching to her offerings – that website is Life Coaching On Purpose.

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  • Sarah Charmley May 9, 2017 at 7:25 am

    Hi Anne,
    Really great article, but something’s gone a little wrong in editing – the paragraphs are mostly repeated twice. I think your thoughts that what we believe we’re worth affects what we earn is a good one. Thank you.

    • LORI May 9, 2017 at 12:20 pm

      Sorry! That’s my fault. I’ll get to it shortly. In the hospital ER with my daughter

      • Cathy Miller May 10, 2017 at 8:06 am

        Lori, I hope all worked out well for you and your daughter.

  • Sharon May 9, 2017 at 4:28 pm

    So true, Anne. When you value yourself high, it’s reflected in your rate.

    (And Lori, I’m another one who fell in love with Anne’s advice way back when. She never disappoints.) 🙂

    • Paula Hendrickson May 9, 2017 at 4:35 pm

      I hope your daughter’s doing better, Lori!

      As for Anne’s guest post: she always comes up with a common sense way to approach issues. Even the pesky ones like self-esteem. Thanks, Anne.

      • lwidmer May 10, 2017 at 2:53 pm

        All is well, thanks. 🙂

  • Cathy Miller May 10, 2017 at 8:05 am

    Anne was one of my earliest discoveries as well and I will always be grateful. Anne and I laugh about the fact that we both lived in San Diego but it took me moving to Idaho to meet in person. Each year when I return to San Diego for the 3-Day, 6-Mile Walk, one of the highlights of my trip is lunch with Anne.

    I so love Anne’s common sense and this post underscores that.