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Saturday, December 22, 2018

Freelance Numbers - Year 4

This is my third full year of freelancing, but since becoming a freelancer, I've also done adjunct (freelance) teaching at UF, and taught full-time so I'm going to show salary with that included and without it. Just like last year, 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 $77,866 total.
I made ~$54,000 of that from teaching at UF.
Therefore, I made ~$24,000 writing this year.

Last year, I made $65,630 total.

My lowest income month was February at $3,860 
(Last year's lowest income month was March at $2,663)

My highest income month was June at $10,660. 
(Last year it was July at $11,082)

On average I made $6,489 a month, which is $1,622 a week.

Last year I made $5,469 a month, which is nearly $1,367 a week.

Remember, though, I still have to do my taxes on ~$25,000 of this.

I'm happy with my professional decisions this year, and I recommend writers taking on teaching a college course or two if they have the time. It's great steady income. Of course, I swung probably too far the other way, but that's kind of what I do.


We'll focus now on just the writing. To get that $24K, I published 45 pieces this year, which is up five from the year before when I published 40. The year before that I published 65 pieces, and the year I freelanced only, I published 80. For important comparison, that year I made just under $24K, which means I'm being paid on average twice as much per piece now.

My highest number published in a month was October with 8 pieces published.
My lowest number in a month was May with no pieces published.

On average, I published 3.3 pieces a month.

In terms of publications, I published in 12 different places, down from 14 last year, and 24 the year before that, including websites, newspapers and magazines.

The most pieces I published for one place? 7, down from 15 last year.

The lowest I wrote for was $75 for the local paper. 

The highest check for one piece I received this year was for $1,200--for my ghostwritten pieces. For a piece under my own byline, highest this year was $700.

On average, I made $600 a piece this year, same as last year, up from $440 a piece the year before and up from $300 the year before that. (This number skews high because I counted a few reprints and some blogging revenue in my yearly total, and also some private projects.) So, let's probably say I made about $450 a piece this year. (same as last year)


Let's talk pitches, rejections and acceptances. To publish my 40 pieces this year, I sent out 127 pitches this year, down from 165 pitches last year, 267 pitches the year before and 329 the year before that. I'm slowing down on writing to teach more. 

I was rejected outright 34 times. 
I was accepted 42 times (some are still in edits, and some were commissioned, which brings the published list to 40). 
I was ignored 51 times (which is a silent rejection, obviously).

So, my percentages work out like this:

Accepted: 33% of the time (same as last year)
Rejected: 27% of the time
Ignored: 40% of the time
Total Rejected: 70% of the time.

I was accepted 33 percent of the time, and rejected 67 percent of the time. In my four years doing this, my acceptance rate has only raised 3 percent. And my stuff is pretty okay. And usually when it's rejected somewhere, another place accepts it. THUS, IT IS NOT YOU OR ME, IT IS THE EDITOR.

Keep trying! Keep going! We can do this, freelancers. It is possible

Last year's complete numbers are here.

2016 complete numbers are here.

2015 complete numbers are here.


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