If you are a freelancer that has been used to writing for magazines, you’ve no doubt noticed diminishing returns on your efforts, unless you are in extremely tight with a well-paying consumer publication or are so legendary in the profession that you can command whatever rates you want. This article is not for you, nor would I expect you to be actually reading my blog.
At a seminar last night put on by PWAC Toronto, it was struck home to me that corporate writing was the clear financial winner over writing for magazines for anyone looking to break into the profession. Magazines have slashed budgets for freelancers and won’t pay a cent more than they’ve budgeted for, as a rule. They are also paying the same rates, for the most part, that they paid twenty years ago.
Corporate writing, on the other hand, is on the increase. Businesses need web copy, letters, video scripts, and just all kinds of writing more than ever. Writers that can produce these well are scarce enough that they enjoy virtually unlimited employment, as long as they know how to market themselves.
Magazine writers, on the other hand, must spend a good amount of time on crafting individual queries, landing interviews with busy executives, meeting with publishers, meeting with editors, and all kinds of things that do not justify the paltry wage that they are paying. Even if you are lucky enough to land a $500.00 story, the amount of work you do from query to final edited copy is epic. $500.00 in the corporate writing world, on the other hand, is about ten hours worth of work.
While the seminar wasn’t presented this way, the lessons were clear in the subtext. How do you feel about the changing landscape of the freelance profession?