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Negotiating Your Freelance Writing Job Most Effectively

Online jobs are easy to find. Even in the DP forums, you can see several people prepared to haggle with you for your skills. I recently found one such person, who goes with an Indian woman's name at DP forums. I don't know the real identity of this person, but she was prepared to pay me for my writing. Let's start this post with that story.

I decided to go ahead and see if the job is appropriate for me. She (I will call this person she) told me a price: 3 dollars per article, for several articles. She said she had need for quite a few articles—about 10 or 20 of them, if I remember right. And she said that these articles were to be posted in two or three important websites she owns. She also gave the URLs of these websites, which already had some of her own articles.

As I am an established freelancer with Constant Content, earning about 50 dollars per article (of about 400 words), I told her the pay was really low even for an article package. I told her I needed at least ten dollars per article, and otherwise, they will be low quality, quickly written, and less researched. Her answer came right away: "I have about 30 highly experienced writers from the US, prepared to write as many articles as I want for that kind of money or less. And they are all perfect in grammar and spelling and can write high quality well-researched articles. So, no question about rise in pay."

This statement so pissed me off that I paid a visit to her blogs. What I found there was pretty fishy to be exact. None of the three-or-so websites she gave me had more than 5 unique articles. All of those sites were rather new, sort of started in the last week or so, slapped together with a few low-quality articles (maybe not stolen, but purchased from authors who will accept 2 dollars for 500 words).

I suddenly realized the crook of a person I was working with. And I sent her a heated email stating these facts. This lady (if it really was one) was out to find new inexperienced writers to see if they will take her bait. For one thing, I can assure you, none of the good quality writers from the US works for anyone for less than 10 dollars per article (not even the new ones). She can't get me; let her engage her high quality US writers, right my readers?

In another story, a company executive contacted me with a demand for articles. I had earlier joined a freelancing site and had advertised my faculties. She found me out through it. And her pay? 60 Indian rupees for a 600 word article. That would be a little more than a dollar. I told her that for such a payment, the article will be low quality and less researched. She was adamant and told me that the articles simply have to be perfect and well researched. I declined the offer; it was not remotely an offer to me. For both these jobs, I had shown them my constant content profile, with all the statistics of my article sales there.

What do we learn from these stories?

We writers are treated pretty mean by many business people. They don't realize the value of us, only the value of the content we create. Why? Because the content written by us can rank their websites high in search results. So, they can sell some products, get some advertisement clicks, and make 1000 % ROI (Return of Investment). Yes, you won't believe how much profit your articles can make for a webmaster.

So, here are the tips and guidelines for freelance writers. Make sure you don't undersell yourself to any employer.

1. Always require feedback

Amateur writers should follow this guideline very strictly. If you are only starting, you may have to write quite a few articles for several companies and earn some reputation and money. For a starter, it may not be easy to flourish in this competitive industry. What will help you the most is positive testimonials. If you got a writing gig, make sure you get testimonial from the client as to the quality of your work. Strive hard to grow this quality.

2. Know and use your rights

If you are a beginner in this field, don't ever sell full rights of an article at a very low price. You may need a feedback, but what if the feedback is about an article you don't own at all? So, make absolutely sure that you don't sell full rights of an article. Sell only the display rights, and make sure your name and/or link is specified in the article.

3. Have your client feedbacks secure

If your clients give you feedbacks, make sure you have them secured in your resume or in an online profile. They will help you get better deals in the coming days.

4. Track your freelance jobs accurately

As a starter, you may be working with various clients and various online freelancing companies. But you should always keep the profiles in all these freelancing companies secure. Read the terms and conditions of the companies you are working with and make sure you don't slip up anywhere. See if your profile has access to all the articles you wrote and all the feedbacks you got for them. This will be a good way to show your clients your experience. For newbies, it is always good to work with only one company.

5. Make sure you don't undersell yourself

It is never good to undersell yourself to get more deals. You yourself should have an idea of your writing skills. You can set prices for your articles according to that.

Though, at the beginning, you may sell articles at very low prices, it is not good once you are popular freelancer. Once you are experienced enough, make sure you set a fixed rate (such as how much per word).

6. Your academic credentials will help get better jobs

You should mention your qualifications. If you have a degree in computer science, you can pull off a better writing deal in a computer-related article than an amateur can. So, mention your credentials in whatever field you are writing.

7. Keep your deadlines

Always make sure you meet your deadlines. When writing online, it is this one thing that matters the most. Your positive feedback, satisfaction of clients, etc., are dependent on the timeframe you can complete your work in. If you are slow and can't meet your deadlines, then, other than bidding on specific client projects, you should write articles on various popular things and try to find the customers who will purchase them.

In Constant Content, when a customer request comes in, I message the customer of any appropriate unsold article that I have in my inventory.

8. Know that there are different types of writing jobs

Article writing is not like blog content writing. Reviews and press releases are entirely different things. Each of these jobs require different skill set. So, when choosing your writing job, make sure you concentrate on the one you can do well. Build your profile on that and migrate to others gradually.

9. Plan and talk

Before you negotiate your salary with the client, it always pays to have a little research done. You should know whom you are dealing with and the kind of sum he can pay for your writing. If you are dealing with a big company earning in millions, then it pays well to raise your remuneration. On the other side, if it is a personal website with low earnings, then you can even work for free to get a testimonial with link from that site (if the site has the potential to be successful, your link will become worthy). The latter is applicable to blog guest posts.

10. Never take it as a job, especially if you keep the copyright

Writing shouldn't be taken up as a job. It should be regarded as something you love to do a lot. Only then you will embrace success in this field. Writing a full-fledged, well-researched, well-written 500-word article is 100 times better than 200 crappy articles.

This is especially important for projects where only the display rights are sold. Understand that only the content written with good research and a mind to help the reader ranks well on search engines. These articles will be direct testimonials of your writing skills.


For starting a freelancing career, the best place to go is of course, Constant Content. You can read my review of this service. However, starting a career shouldn't be taken up as a joke or game. You cannot get even one article approved on Constant Content if there are spelling and grammar errors. And if you have really well written content, you can make a living from this site.

Related Entries:

Why Stay Away From Associated Content?

Copyright © Lenin Nair 2008


  1. Excellent advice, Lenin. Having been a freelance translator for years,I can say that pretty much of the advice you give for writers goes also for translators and proofreaders. We often face the same problems.

  2. This is a great article! Thank you for sharing your tips.


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