That's one reason I talk about money and encourage other writers to do the same. It also helps prevent you from falling into the trap of writing for pennies, or for "exposure," because you don't know any better.
Market rates vary, I've gathered some recent rate info to keep in mind:
Major national magazines: $1-3/word (it's rare to get $3/word but it happens!)
Smaller/niche national magazines $0.25-$1/word
Trade magazines: $0.20-.50/word
Regional magazines: $0.10-50/word
Custom magazines: $0.50-$1/word+
Blogs: $50-500 for posts of 500-800 words
Books (including ghostwriting) Book proposals $3,500-8,000+ (this is lower than a couple of years ago)
Full-length books $10,000-35,000+ (+royalties, in some cases)
Editing $25-50/hour, on average, depending on the type of editing and the project
Remember that what you're paid (even if it's a lot!) is only one factor when you decide whether to write for a particular market. Consider how long a piece will take to research and write so you have an idea of what you make not only per-word, but per-hour. Aiming for a high per-hour rate (or gradually increasing yours over time) is what will help you develop and sustain a successful freelance career.
**New to this blog or to freelancing in general? If your'e just getting started, I've got several ebooks that will help you launch your freelance writing career:
- Dollars and Deadlines' Guide to Selling your First Article. If you've ever wanted to see your byline in print or pixels, or want to launch your freelance career, this 10-step process will show you how...no matter how inexperienced you are.
- Dollars and Deadlines' 10 Most Popular, Proven Ways to Make Money as a Freelance Writer. Based on my annual survey of freelancers, this ebook lists the 10 most popular ways to make money from your words--and how to break into each.
- Dollars and Deadlines' 10 Essential Freelance Templates. Early in 2011, I devoted a month to sharing freelance templates; this ebook compiles the 10 you must have in your freelance arsenal.
- Dollars and Deadlines' 10 Truths Every Writer Who Wants to Get Published Should Know. This ebook is a little bit of a departure for me, and is aimed at every writer who wants to get published, not those (like me) who write for money. The fact is, even if you don't care about the money, understanding how the publishing business works will boost your chances of publication.
Or check out my latest full-length book, Writer for Hire: 101 Secrets to Freelance Success, for a comprehensive look at what it takes to build a career as a writer of short nonfiction.