This is my second year of freelancing, and while I did it full-time my first year, this year I ended up taking a teaching position at UF, and taught full-time last semester, so I'm going to show salary with that included and without it. It took up a bunch of my pitching and writing time, but also gave me a steady paycheck that I could (mostly) earn from home. And I get to teach students about journalism and how to do it! For me, this step was worth it.
This year, I made $47,979 total.
I made $19,412 of that from teaching at UF.
Therefore, I made $28,567 writing this year.
Last year, I only wrote, and I made $23,833.
My lowest income month was April: $1,832
(Interestingly, last year's lowest income month was also April at $735)
My highest income month was February: $7,743.
(Last year it was July at $4,566)
On average I made $3,998 a month, which is nearly $1,000 a week.
If I take out the teaching salary, I made $2,381 a month, or $595 a week.
Last year I made $1,986 a month or $496.52 a week.
Remember, though, I still have to do my taxes on $30,000 of this.
I'm happy with my professional decisions this year, and I recommend writers taking on a class or two if they have the time.
THE NUMBERS BEHIND THE MONEY:
We'll focus now on just the writing. To get that $30K, I published 65 pieces this year, down from 80 last year.
My highest number published in a month was July with 11 pieces published.
My lowest number in a months was May with 2 pieces published.
On average, I published 5.4 pieces a month, down from 6.7 pieces a month. (remember, even without the teaching money, I made more money writing this year than last, so inch up your pay rates when you can.)
In terms of publications, I published in 24 different places, down from 30 last year, including websites, newspapers and magazines.
The most pieces I published for one place? 23.
The lowest I wrote for was free. I wrote one piece for free this year. Not counting that, $50. I published two pieces for $50.
The highest check for one piece I received this year was for $4,000.
On average, I made $440 a piece, up from $300 last year. (This number skews high because I counted a few reprints and some blogging revenue in my yearly total.) So, let's probably say I made about $350 a piece this year.
THE EFFORT BEHIND THE NUMBERS:
Let's talk pitches, rejections and acceptances. To publish my 65 pieces this year, I sent out 267 pitches this year, down from 329 pitches last year.
I was rejected outright 96 times.
I was accepted 80 times (some are still in edits, and some were killed, which brings the published list to 65).
I was ignored 91 times (which is a silent rejection, obviously).
So, my percentages work out like this:
Accepted: 30% of the time
Rejected: 36% of the time
Ignored: 34% of the time
Total Rejected: 70% of the time.
I was accepted 30 percent of the time. I was rejected 70 percent of the time.
Keep trying! Keep going! We can do this, freelancers. It is possible.
Last year's complete numbers are here.